Connect with us


Yankees Season On The Brink

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Bronx, NY– Every Gerrit Cole outing this postseason has made for ‘season on the line’ starts and Saturday evening stood no different. As the New York Yankees looked to gain ground in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, Cole was turned to as the focal point. 

To begin the night, the Yankees ace seemed to be easing into a normal groove, but was suddenly compromised with two outs in the second inning. Due to a communication mishap on a fly ball between Aaron Judge and Harrison Bader in right-center field, Astros eighth batter Christian Vásquez reached base safely to keep the inning alive. 

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“That’s just what happens when you got two guys on defense that go really hard when a ball is hit in their vicinity,” said Bader. “It was placed perfectly in between us.”

Giving away extra outs in the postseason is a huge no-no for a multitude of instances. One, it creates additional workloads on your pitching; two, it tacks on scoring opportunities for the opponent; and three, it shapes up for drastic momentum shifts. 

What transpired was Cole’s major flaw in surrendering the long ball (33 HR in 33 starts this year). With one on, Chas McCormick got a hold of a 1-1, 98MPH four-seam fastball sending it just over the right field fences to spark the Astros with a 2-0 lead. 

Once the damage was done, Cole settled in by going to his slider, retiring six of the next seven batters with two strikeouts. He departed after five innings, surrendering three earned runs on five hits, and two walks with seven strikeouts. 

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“These are good pitches,” Cole said when asked about the Astros lineup. “These are pitcher’s pitches. And they’re putting good swings on them regardless of whether they’re over the heart of the plate or not.” 

“Top to bottom, that’s what they did all night,” he added. 

Cristian Javier, who threw seven no-hit innings back in June against New York at Yankee Stadium, picked up right where he left off on Saturday, hitless across the first 3.1 innings. In his first career postseason start, the 25-year-old right-hander totaled 5.1 innings allowing just one hit with three walks and five strikeouts. He became the third pitcher in postseason history to hold the Yankees to one or fewer hits over a minimum of five innings. 

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“I feel very proud of what I’ve been able to do here and also for the team to have given me this opportunity,” said Javier. 

Javier, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, holds a 2-0 career record with a 0.44 ERA against the Yankees.

Regardless of one’s pitching line, the offensive production out of New York is no winning recipe. The Yankees are in the midst of an ALCS blunder, 41 combined strikeouts, 1-14 with RISP, with only four runs scored in the best four-of-seven series. Not to mention, a combined 3-32 with 11 strikeouts from Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Gleyber Torres in their last three games. 

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“Yeah, I mean, we have to,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone explained. “We got to just, I mean, it starts with simple as winning pitches. We got to — and then start stacking together quality at-bats to put ourselves in a good situation. Whether it’s a big key hit, some slug, whatever, we just need to get a little bit of a spark and something to bounce our way and try and grab a lead and play with it a little bit.”

A lineup once discussed as one of the most productive offensive tangents this regular season, has vanished, batting .161 as a team this postseason with 94 strikeouts. Furthermore, the Yankees rank last in batting average and on base percentage (.250) among the four teams remaining this postseason (San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros). 

But what pains Yankee faithful most is the ways in which the losses have come this series. Comparing the two down the line, let’s take a look at how Yankees-Astros fare so far in the series.

Game 1: Houston wins 4-2

Yankees: 0-4 with RISP, 7 LOB, 2 HR, 17 K

Astros: 0-4 with RISP, 7 LOB, 3 HR, 2 K 

Game 2: Houston wins 3-2

Yankees: 1-4 with RISP, 5 LOB, 0 HR, 13 K

Astros: 1-5 with RISP, 5 LOB, 1 HR, 6 K 

Game 3: Houston wins 5-0

Yankees: 0-6 with RISP, 7 LOB, 0 HR, 11 K

Astros: 2-8 with RISP, 7 LOB, 1 HR, 11 K

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

An additional New York annoyance among the 47,569 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening is how massive of an obstacle the Houston Astros present themselves to be. The Astros remain the only undefeated team this postseason with a perfect 6-0 record. 

Although Houston’s playoff run may not have been pretty the full way through, manager Dusty Baker and company are appearing as that ‘team no one can beat’. A franchise riding on six consecutive ALCS appearances, along with three World Series appearances in that span, and perhaps, a fourth in the matter of 48 hours.

Nestor Cortes will have a lot to say about that as the left-hander takes the mound in Game 4 with the Yankees season on the line. The 27-year-old, of Surgidero de Batabanó, Cuba (1-0, 1.70 ERA this postseason) is prepared for the daunting task ahead. 

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“I’m up for the challenge,” Cortes said. “I feel like this is a win-win for me. I’m pitching in the ALCS and if we win, we have more life. So just happy to be here and take advantage of the opportunity.”

“Follow us on instagram@latinosportsoficial for updates and exclusive content”

Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports

Follow on Twitter: @RobertRiz994


Watch Sports with Rich live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with host Rich Mancuso and cohost Robert Rizzo.

Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Latest Article

More in Baseball