Maximillian C. Burgos
This past week the New York Yankees came back from three games down to beat the Cleveland Indians and win the American League division series. But can they go all the way?
The Bronx Bombers showed off in game five against the Indians with two home runs by shortstop Didi Gregorius to win the game. The Yankees lost the first two games, making even the most loyal Yankees fans sweat a little. Through sheer determination and willpower, the Yankees won three straight games.
In the regular season, the Yankees had their fair share of struggles. They had six weeks during the season where they seemed like they couldn’t win to save their lives, to the dismay of fans. But the Yankees pulled themselves together enough to win 91 games and get themselves in position to be competitive in the postseason.
There are plenty of storylines coming into the American League championship series. Will Aaron Judge rebound? Will it come down to a war of the bullpens? Can the Yankees continue to reverse the ALCS trend that since 2013 AL East teams have done bad? Can the Astros hot offense shake off the rust? None of the of the storylines are as important as the status of the Yankees bullpen.
The Yankees dug deep into their bullpen to force a game five in the ALDS. The Astros clinched a spot in the ALCS a game earlier and had more time to rest. The Yankees also don’t have the same experience on the mound as the Astros.
The Yankees best regular season pitcher, Luis Severino, looked like a nervous young kid on the mound in his first two playoff appearances. So far this postseason, he has allowed four home runs and six earned runs. He will need to do better against the Astros in order for the Yankees to have a chance at going to the World Series.
The Yankees bullpen is solid, but it doesn’t have the same depth as the Astros bullpen.
Masahiro Tanaka has already had a solid start for the Yankees in the postseason. He will need to bring the heat in the first game against the Astros for the Yankees to have a shot to win it. Winning the first game will be very important to both teams.
Winning the first game can help the young Yankees settle down and focus their approach to game two. Going 0-2 to start the series will be tough for the Yankees to bounce back from. The Astros are a very different opponent from the Indians.
The Astros have one the deepest and certainly most lethal lineups in MLB. Justin Verlander alone is a scary man to see on the mound. This past season he went 15-8, pitching in 206 innings and striking out 219 batters. Luckily the Yankees won’t face him until game two.
The Astros and Yankees both showed hot potent their offenses were during the season. The Yankees were second in MLB with 858 runs. The Astros led MLB with 896 runs. Both teams can put up runs in a hurry.
A key component to the Yankees success is if Gregorius can keep his clutch hitting streak going . Judge will also need to get hot. The Yankees can be dangerous if their offense gets hot. The Yankees managed to win three games without their slugger in the mix. In 24 at-bats Judge has only managed three hits and 16 strikeouts. Gregorius has hit three home runs and five hits in clutch situations so far this offseason.
The Yankees are a very good team and will definitely have to battle the Astros every game. If by some chance they win the ALCS, the World Series can be any team’s series to win. The Cubs will be looking to repeat and the Dodgers will looking to bring one home, while if the the Yankees make it, they will be looking for their 28th championship.