Sports don’t always go according to plan, and after the Yankees beat the Indians, that couldn’t be truer. The Yankees completed the comeback and upset of the Indians on Wednesday night. They were not expected to win that series, especially when they got in a 2-game hole. Despite winning 22 straight games in the regular season, the Indians failed to win a series in the postseason. I think the idea was to duplicate what the Royals were able to do by losing in the World Series, and then coming back to win it all. Not the case for the Indians, as the Yankees threw up a roadblock in Cleveland.
CC Sabathia turned back the clocks and out performed Corey Kluber on Wednesday. The Yankees got to Kluber fast, tagging him for 3 runs in just 3.2 innings. There is a popular opinion going around that Kluber has been playing injured. Maybe it’s just he had a rough stretch at the worst possible time? Kluber didn’t look right in Game 2, nor did he in the do-or-die situation in Game 5. With Kluber on the hump, those are supposed to be automatic wins. Despite that, the Indians scored only 2 runs in Game 5, so there is plenty of blame to go-around in Cleveland.
All that matters is that the Indians are sitting at home, while the Yankees move on to the ALCS. One more series and they’re back in the World Series. It feels like Joe Girardi getting booed and criticized was a year ago. Now that the Yankees are in the ALCS, all is forgiven. The Yankees have nothing to lose in this series, just like the last. No one expected them to beat the Indians, and not too many are going to have them over the Astros. Masahiro Tanaka and Dallas Keuchel will get the ALCS started on Friday night. Head below for our free pick for Game 1.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Houston Astros Pick
Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA)
The Yankees and Astros have played in some entertaining games this year. The Astros were on the winning end five times in in the seven times they’ve met this season. If you’re going to go by that, this should be an easy series for the Astros. They averaged 6 runs per game during that seven-game stretch. For Tanaka, he must go to the tape and examine what went wrong in his last outing against the Astros. The ‘Stros knocked him out in just 1.2 innings. He allowed a whopping 7 hits and 8 runs in that span. That included 4 long balls.
In 59 at-bats, the Astros are hitting Tanaka for a .322 batting average. It includes a staggering 7 home runs. Is there a simple explanation for this? The Astros love fast ball pitchers. The Yankees have a lot of pitchers who love to turn up the heat and look to blow it by the plate. Houston doesn’t mind, because they usually take advantage of pitchers who do that. Also, Keuchel has have the Yankees locked down. In 94 at-bats, there isn’t one Yankee that has hit a deep ball off Keuchel. The Yankees are hitting just .181 against him overall. I’d be surprised if the Astros don’t bring the Yankees back down to earth in Game 1 of the ALCS. They’re still high from their win over the Indians.
PICK: ASTROS (-165)