Aaron Boone NY Yankees
Tommy Gilligan | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees put up a better effort in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros, but fell short again in a tough 3-2 loss.

Luis Severino’s sole mistake, a three-run home run to Alex Bregman, was more than enough for Houston. They now head to the Bronx with a strong two-game advantage.

The Yankees have no choice but to get things right with the next three games at home. Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes are next and the series isn’t out of reach yet.

After Game 2, here’s what we learned:

Home runs are a bug-a-boo. Home runs are the name of the game against the Astros’ strong pitching staff and the Yankees just haven’t hit them when needed. Aaron Judge came within a literal foot of a go-ahead homer in Game 2, but the bats have otherwise been quiet. The lineup mustered just four hits against Framber Valdez.

This is the problem whenever the Yankees play the Astros. Instead of being aggressive and putting the ball in play, the team reverts to a home run-or-bust approach that sunk them in 2020 and ’21. 18 of the 24 runs New York has scored this postseason have come via the longball.

Where’s the team that moved the line at breakneck pace with contact, power, and speed in the first half of the season?

Houston is still beatable. It doesn’t help the Yankees that of the three times they’ve faced Houston in the ALCS, this is easily the worst team. Jose Altuve is still hitless in the postseason and Yordan Alvarez’s lone hit in the series is a meaningless single. Houston’s entire offense was off of one big swing in Game 2 and three solo home runs in Game 1. Martin Maldonado’s RBI double was just a bonus.

New York has the pitching to compete with Houston, but won’t win until the offense starts holding up its end of the bargain.

Let the kids play. It was refreshing to see the Yankees break convention in Game 2 and start rookie Oswald Peraza at shortstop. He and fellow rookie Oswaldo Cabrera bring some much-needed energy to the lineup. Peraza also made a dazzling play in the first inning and was part of a clutch double play later on.

Cabrera has a pair of clutch hits in the playoffs and Peraza’s bat is all potential. Down 2-0, what do the Yankees have to lose in keeping them both in the lineup?

All eyes on the aces. The crazy thing is despite being down 2-0, the Yankees aren’t out of the ALCS by any stretch. They’ve kept games close and have Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes lined up for Games 3 and 4 at home. Most teams can only dream of being down 2-0 in a series and having their best pitchers up next.

Cole and Cortes had big games in the ALDS. New York really needs them to show up against Houston.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.