Pressure on the Astros, so take a good look at underdog Yankees

Pressure on the Astros, so take a good look at underdog Yankees

The Indians entered the postseason as the hottest team in Major League Baseball, having rattled off a 22-game win streak, winning 33 of their last 37 games. They also beat the Yankees in five of seven games during the regular season, but as the last round proved, that doesn't always mean much.

If series are won with pitching, total, the Yankees have a huge advantage in their bullpen. No, MVP candidate Aaron Judge did not have a good series (1-for-20, 16 strikeouts). Houston also gets production from Yulieski Gurriel, George Springer and Carlos Correa, who has pummeled the Yankees.

Yet thanks to some hot-hitting from players lower in the lineup, the Yankees managed to squeeze by the Indians. You'll need the online sign-in info for your cable or satellite provider to access FOX Sports Go. It was Frazier, still fairly new to the club, who said before all of them, "We have your back". He gave up five earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and four walks over five innings during a loss to the Astros earlier this year. His pure batting ability is less dependent on being "hot" than Judge's power, and while Judge can change a game with one swing, we saw Altuve do just that in Houston's first game against the Red Sox.


The Astros are the favorites, and they have home-field advantage now. The Yankees got solid defensive play in the infield against the Indians, and most importantly, Sanchez was good behind the plate, silencing the critics, at least for now. When starting, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander have been more than adequate at suppressing big innings, and while throwing Brad Peacock third and Charlie Morton fourth, as they did against Boston, is a concern, there's the possibility that they could pull one of their younger pitchers out of the bullpen - or, to use an inaccurate term that's nevertheless gained steam this postseason - they could "bullpen" it. The Yankees' bench was practically nonexistent in the ALDS, with Matt Holliday not stepping on the field, but if he's on the roster he should get some at-bats against Houston's left-handers. Houston finished just a shade behind NY with a 4.03 ERA from their rotation, though Verlander was only with the team for a month. Keuchel typically torments the Yankees. Counting the AL Wild Card game, the Yankees have survived elimination in four games.

Arizona has had their troubles despite being Wild Card winners as well. What the Yankees do with the inconsistent Sonny Gray remains to be seen.

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