Home NYC Teams New York Yankees

New York Yankees vs Houston Astros: Full Breakdown Of The ALCS

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 09: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Cleveland Indians during the second inning in Game Four of the American League Divisional Series at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2017, in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Keys For New York

  • Aaron Judge Rebound

The Yankees got away with a series win despite Judge slashing just .050/.208/.100, but they won’t do it again.

It didn’t seem like an approach issue for the MVP candidate, but Indians’ pitching picked apart Judge’s inability to barrel up pitches that break low and away.

Keuchel and Verlander will undoubtedly attempt to expose Judge throughout this series. The Yankees should just hope he continues to make an impact with or without this slump as he looks to avoid setting a new postseason series strikeout record.

  • Strike Early 

Many across the sport have fallen in love with the resiliency of the young Baby Bombers. Although a 2-0 deficit is clearly nothing to them, they cannot afford to enter the Bronx down two games to a rotation that features Keuchel and Verlander.

WhoWins.com provides a full table of postseason odds depending on how the series stands. When Major League teams take Game 1, they have a 64.1 percent chance to win the series. Up by two games? Those odds jump to 83.8 percent.

The Yankees need to make the job eaiser on themselves.

Facing an impeccable Houston lineup, the Yankees are going to need all the help they can get. David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman have been superb, but they need Dellin Betances to show up.

In Games 2 and 4 of the ALDS, the All-Star reliever surrendered one run in two innings of work including two walks against the only two batters faced in his latest outing. Girardi will need to get Betances’ mojo back somehow, someway in order to gain an additional edge in the bullpen department.

It’s hard to see what his role will be in what will be a high-leverage situation at all times, however.

  • Figure Out The DH Situation

The Yankees didn’t have a single hit from the designated hitter’s spot in the ALDS. Just like Judge, this is a spot in the lineup the Yankees cannot afford to get zero production from.

Chase Headley went 0-for-10 with five strikeouts. Jacoby Ellsbury is 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Matt Holliday, who was an integral part of the lineup before being hit with an ugly viral infection, has yet to get an at-bat.

Considering the fact that he’s battle-tested for postseason play and came up with some big hits for the Yankees down the stretch (like his three-run shot off Drew Pomeranz in early September), there’s no reason Girardi shouldn’t roll the dice and give Holliday some plate appearances.

  • Shut Down The Superstars

Why did the Yankees win the division series? Epic bullpen? Clutch starts from Tanaka, Severino, and Sabathia? Sure. But shutting down Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion had a lot to do with it.

That trio of studs went a combined 4-for-45 (.089) with 16 strikeouts and just one home run. It won’t be a hot take to say that if the Yankees can do the same with Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Josh Reddick and Marwin Gonzalez, they’ll be headed to the 2017 World Series.