Next Stop for the Yankees: The ALCS and the Houston Astros


By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor

That eruption you heard late Wednesday night from the East side to the West side was in reaction to this NY Yankees team overachieving as it advance to the ALCS and heads to Houston for the best-of-seven series. The way this is going, the Yankees appear destined to head to their first World Series since 2009.

They were not supposed to be here. The Yankees were down 0-2 to the Cleveland Indians who were the best team in baseball since July, and they did the improbable as the ninth team in divisional series play to overcome that two game deficit and move on.

So they are destined to continue this deep and interesting October run. And how can they continue this journey that has the baseball and sports world talking? Take into account the starting pitching of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, three key components of their rotation that stepped up when they had to.

Good pitching will overtake good hitting and the Yankees stopped a team with the best offense in the American League and possibly the best in baseball.  The Yankees caused the Indians to commit errors and of course won the battle of the bullpens.

So forget about manager Joe Girardi and talk that he is liked fried toast. The manager is all forgiven after the baffles of Game 2. Short memories come with winning and Joe Girardi can sit and smile before his team takes on the Astros in the first two games of the ALCS that begin Friday night in Houston.

The Indians, a team that had not lost three straight since mid July are the team shaking their heads and saying, how can this be possible?

“Everybody, everyone played a part in this,”  Girardi said. “I don’t think there’s anyone that didn’t play a part in this and that’s the good thing about it. And the fight in these guys, so proud of them.”

Indians manager Terry Francona said about the Yankees win, “They outplayed us.” Indeed the Yankees played better as they overcame a team with 102 wins that had the best defense and starting pitching in the American League.

And the Yankees won their fourth straight elimination game that started  last Tuesday night in the Bronx with their one-game win over the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card elimination.

This wasn’t an Aaron Judge contribution, as he had three sour strikeout games. The other “Baby Bombers” of Gary Sanchez, with a home run in five games and Greg Bird were not factors at the plate. It was the pitching and the Yankees bullpen, including another six- out save from Aroldis Chapman in the clincher.

The contribution out of the bullpen from David Robertson was also a factor, a key component to this team and credit goes to GM Brian Cashman when he reacquired the righthander at the trade deadline and shored up a struggling bullpen.

Facing elimination is one thing and getting to the Indians’ Cy Young Award candidate, Corey Kluber three times, is another. The Yankees made that mission easier again Wednesday night when Kluber was disposed after 3.2 innings.

“Just go out and win one game,” Girardi said to his team. The Yankees won four key games and now it’s on to Houston and with momentum for a team that has done the unexpected with another mission to seek a 28th world championship.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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