Despite the 22-game winning streak and 102 wins, the Cleveland Indians have lost the ALDS. Despite winning the first two games at home, they lost three straight to the Yankees. That's right - Aaron Judge and the Yankees are coming to Houston. That's right, Fox Sports. You have another series to hype up golden boy Aaron Judge while the Houston guy outperforms him this postseason.
The two primary candidates for AL MVP, Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge, will face off to see who advances to the World Series. While Altuve had an ALDS to remember with a slash line of .533/ .632/ 1.133/ 1.765, Judge has had a lackluster postseason with a ton of strikeouts. When your leading hitter is chasing playoff strikeout records, you shouldn't be winning.
How did the Yankees win? Behind their pitching, and unexpected offensive production from Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird. They had solid pitching with three straight starts from Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, and C.C. Sabathia (was pitching well until the fifth inning). Historically, teams that got off to a 2-0 start in a five-game playoff series, around 86% of them advanced to the next round.
The Astros were able to validate that percentage, but the Indians fell flat on their face. You can go back and listen to Talking Stros - I have said that the Yankees were the one team that could take out the Indians. The question is now, "Can the Astros beat the Yankees?"
Before the game tonight, Astros fans felt confident enough to take on either team. Now that the Yankees are coming, it's great that the Astros were 5-2 against them this year. The Astros have a 5.52 ERA versus the Yankees this year, but most of the damage was in two blowouts where they scored 12 and 13 runs.
The Astros have also taken care of all the top pitchers this season, except for Sabathia, who they have not faced this year. With an elite backend of the bullpen, the Yankees can shorten the game. If their starters go deep, that could lead to trouble for the Astros. However, this offense can handle anything coming their way.
Game 1 will be Friday at 7:08 PM CT at Minute Maid Park. Dallas Keuchel will be on the mound versus Sonny Gray or Tanaka (pitched on Sunday). You can listen on SportsTalk 790. Then tune into Talking Stros after the 10th Inning Show.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***