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No Roof In Play: Yankees Know They Need To Win

Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

Bronx, NY – This commanding Astros 2-0 lead over the Yankees in the American League Championship Series moves to the Bronx Saturday evening at Yankee Stadium. Expect the sold out crowd and rabid fans to serenade Jose Altuve.

Again with replica trash can signs, whistles, and a supposed button fit on a jersey, they will bash him. Altuve was their culprit in 2017, again in 2019 as the Astros have been the dominant team advancing to the World Series three times in the past six years.

Though a sign stealing scandal is the past with exception of short memories of Yankees fans. And these Astros, without an effective Altuve (0-for-23) in the postseason, have not arrived. So they can taunt Altuve, because it won’t matter to a balanced Houston team with a plus- seven run differential, lowest in postseason history for a team that has won five consecutive games.

 MLB Image

Yes, the Houston Astros are deep and balanced, They make contact and put the ball in play. Starting pitching and effective bullpen in a short series will win ball games and at Minute Maid Park the Yankees saw that first hand.

Daniel Budasoff/Latino Sports

Houston relievers have allowed two hits in the series, both from Rafael Montero in Game 1, and two saves from Ryan Pressly, a closer the Yankees can’t seem to touch.

Christain Javier gets the game 3 start for Houston, in place of Lance McCullers Jr. slated for Game 4. McCullers had a mishap and bruised an elbow during the Astros champagne celebration after their ALDS sweep of the Mariners. Javier struck out 13 Yankees in seven innings as part of a combined no-hitter earlier this season in the Bronx.

And it wasn’t Altuve or Aledmys Diaz (0-for7) making contact in their lineup. Sooner or later, perhaps with those taunts in the Bronx, Altuve will get on base and the Astros become that more dangerous and look for a four-game sweep of the series.

Regardless, and after two games in this series, the Yankees need to find some answers to overtake their rivals if they want to avoid a sweep or take this series back to Houston for a Game 6. They need to win one of three games in the Bronx.

And beating the Houston Astros, at their ballpark or in the Bronx has become an arduous task, though one advantage is the Major League best 57-24 record of the Yankees in the Bronx.

As they say, home cooking can be a welcome reprieve but these are the Astros and percentages say teams taking a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven postseason series have won the series 74 of 88 times. Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes, Yankees Game 3 and 4 starters will try to make this a series again in the Bronx.

The Yankees have to get past an Aaron Judge 345-foot ball that fell short of a home run Thursday night and the buzz of what could have been a home run at Yankee Stadium. They have to get past an open roof at Minute Maid Park and how Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” was an impact of a home run or not.

And if the Yankees want to hear a game ending and always Sinatra tune “New York, New York” with purpose, they need to win in the Bronx. They are the team that needs to make contact and not make excuses after 30 strikeouts of swings and misses or looking.

Then again, this is a Yankees team that depends on the home run ball, perhaps too much, a lineup that went down swinging or looking 42 percent of the time during the regular season and compiled four runs and nine hits in the first two games.

I have said here many times, the Yankees bullpen has been their albatross, though it seemed to come together during their ALDS five game series with the Guardians. Perhaps it’s their lineup that can’t compare to the Astros that constantly make contact and get on base.

Saturday evening, Cole will again get the ball and try to save the Yankees season or prevent a possible four-game sweep, a task. But Cole has learned to adapt in these situations having allowed three runs in 13-⅓ innings, striking out 16, two walks in his two postseason starts and wins over the Guardians in the ALDS.

Remember, though, these are the Astros and not the young Guardians who at one point had a 2-1 series lead before the Yankees took them to a fifth and decisive game.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“If it’s 2-0 or if it’s 1-1 or it’s 0-2, it can’t affect the way I go about my business,” said a well rested Cole Friday afternoon. “We all have a job to do. We play each and every game in and of itself, play each and every within each and every game until there’s no more pitches to play, win or lose.”

But this is indeed a must win Game 3 in the Bronx. The Yankees need the win because overcoming a 0-3 deficit in the ALCS is rare. Most recently, a 2004 Red Sox team took it to a Game 7 with a comeback against the Yankees that ended their 86-year old World Series title drought.

Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“We’re giving the ball to Gerrit Cole and hopefully he can go out and I feel like we’ve done a decent job of attacking those guys,” said Boone. “Hopefully he can eliminate, hold them down and get us off to a good start, and then we can do enough offensively. We know we’re up against it.”

Boone said Thursday night the open roof “Kind of killed us.” Yet it was the Yankees with a problem in Houston and not a roof as they look for a resolution in the Bronx.

And as they say, the Yankees have their backs against the wall.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer Twitter@Ring786 Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Julio Pabón

    October 22, 2022 at 9:43 am

    Good article with the details of what the Yankees and Astros have and don’t have that makes this series interesting.

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