Yankees Come Up One Short of the World Series; Houston To Face LA starting Tuesday

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this very late Saturdday night, Oct. 21.

When major league teams gathered in Florida and Arizona at the end of February, it didn’t seem possible that the Yankees or Astros would meet in a 7-game series with the winner to face the Dodgers, but that will be the matchup this Tuesday night.

The Dodgers made it to last year’s NLCS but lost in 6 games to the Cubs.   After reaching the postseason in 2015 the Astros had collapsed in 2016 and no handicapper would have given them a chance to be where they are now, considering how close the Indians came to winning the last World Series.   The Yankees seemed so lacking in starting pitching that they appeared to be at least a year away from playing October baseball if not more. In fact it was this lack of starting pitching that proved to be their Achilles’ heel, though it took longer to materialize than might have been imagined.   Leaving the Bronx this past Thursday night the Yankees had a lead of 3 games to 2 which should have been enough to get them into their first World Series since 2009.  But Luis Severino proved not to be ready for prime time in game 6, and CC Sabathia once again failed to last 5 innings as he has entirely too often in what is doubtless his final year in the game. As a result the Yankees lost game 6 by a 7–1 score and game 7 4–0 which sets up the matchup between the Astros and Dodgers.

Dave Roberts’ incredible Dodgers, a team that once had a 91-36 record wiped out the defending champion Cubs 4 games to 1 with game 5 an 11–1 embarrassment at Wrigley Field.  With their series ended on Thursday, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has a prohibitive advantage against the Astros.  Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish,Rich Hill and Alex Wood outclass the Astros’ staff of Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers JR.  Keuchel, other than an amazing 2015 usually looks average against everybody except the Yankees, who in fact got the better of him in game 5 of the ALCS.  Justin Verlander, while dominating the Yankees in games 2 and 6 is past his sell-by date the way CC Sabathia is.  Charlie Morton was lucky to win game 7 because Sabathia ran out of steam, as did the overworked Yankees’ bull pen.  Bottom line, the World Series will probably end in Houston, in either 4 or 5 games.

The Yankees need to locate starting pitching over the winter.  In all likelihood Masahiro Tanaka will opt out of his contract, and his second-half performance probably will entice some team to take a chance on his pitching elbow.  Hopefully a year of maturity will improve both Severino and Jordan Montgomery, who wasn’t included on the postseason roster.  He would have been better than either Sonny Gray or Jaime Garcia, based on what we saw from them after being acquired at the trade deadline.  I wonder if those two will do better in a full season in the Bronx than either of them did during the part of 2017 they spent there.  Hopefully Greg Bird can stay healthy during 2018.  Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez need to watch video to see why they were brutal during the postseason. Even a few hits by them might have given the Yankees an earlier win in the Cleveland series and a berth in the upcoming World Series.  The Yankees lost games 1 and 2 to Houston 2–1 and lost a 13-inning game 9–8 to Cleveland in which they had an 8–3 lead before CC gave up the ghost before completing 5 innings.

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