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Houston won 5 of 7 games vs. New York Yankees in 2017
13 October 2017, 12:31 | Henrietta Morgan
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The Yankees will be appearing their 16th LCS, the most of any major-league franchise, while the Astros haven't reached that round since 2005 when they were in the National League and defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.
As good as the Astros were this year, cementing themselves as a playoff team maybe as early as July, the Cleveland Indians were the best team in the American League. Judge has been part of a close MVP race with Jose Altuve. "Going all the way, Houston will not have liftoff".
New York's youth movement didn't truly begin until a year ago, but it's far ahead of schedule in terms of making the Yankees a victor. Aaron Judge set a rookie record for home runs, and Gary Sanchez has become the MLB's best hitting catcher. No other starting pitchers have been announced.
What's turned these teams into real championship contenders are the moves they made before and right after the trade deadline. The Yankees strengthened their pitching staff by acquiring Sonny Gray, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. It was epic and will be remembered as one of his best moments on a ballfield.
Judge's postseason struggles have mostly tracked with his second-half slump, which is to say that he's still having trouble dealing with offspeed stuff.
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NY rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to stun Cleveland in five games in the ALDS, taking Game 5 by a count of 5-2 on the road Wednesday.
The betting odds lean toward Houston, who has home-field advantage.
Before we get carried away with the Yankees, there is a grim reality they must overcome vs. the Astros.
Didi Gregorius hit three home runs during the ALDS for NY, while Greg Bird added a pair of home runs.
The Bombers could also go with Masahiro Tanaka, who has struck out 22 combined in his last two starts, though both of those came at home, where the righty has better splits. If the playoffs factored into the voting, it would be no contest.
There is, however, some small proof that Judge can be an effective postseason hitter. Correa hit two homers against Boston, while Yuli Gurriel totaled 12 bases in 17 at-bats.
As you should know by now, the Astros will play in the ALCS starting this Friday.
In terms of starting pitching, the Astros also seem to have the edge. "This feels awesome, but it's just the beginning for this team".
The Astros are the nation's sentimental favorites after what Hurricane Harvey did to Houston, and they have never won a World Series. NY blew a five-run lead in Game 2, with manager Joe Girardi making mistake after mistake. The Astros beat the Boston Red Sox in four games in the other ALDS.
But there is something about the Yankees, a wild-card team that has shown tremendous resilience.
Luckily for Houston, it has an offense explosive enough to spot its bullpen with plenty of runs. They can re-set their rotation without throwing either Keuchel or Verlander on short rest.
Houston's pitcher for Game 1 is left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who has bludgeoned the Yanks a bunch of times, including the 2015 AL wild-card game.
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Houston has been the better team all season. If Judge comes out of his slump, the Yankees will be even more risky. Yet, the Yankees can not feel as great about their chances if Judge replicates this clunker of a series.
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