ALCS: Astros Get Their Swing Back in Game Six
The Houston Astros offense finally woke up in a 7-1 game six win over the New York Yankees on Friday night. With their backs against the wall, the Astros fought off elimination and forced a game seven thanks in large part to their highest offensive output since game two of their ALDS matchup with the Boston Red Sox. After scoring just nine runs in the first five games of the series, the offense could not have come at a better time.
We had a pitcher’s duel brewing until the bottom of the fifth when the Astros would finally get to Yankees starter, Luis Severino, to break the 0-0 tie. Severino put himself in a tough spot as he issued a lead off walk to Alex Bregman and then walked Evan Gattis later in the frame with one out. Brian McCann then struck a ground rule double that bounced over the right field fence for the first run of the game.
Severino would then walk the bases loaded when he issued a free pass to George Springer on four straight pitches. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild came out to settle his ace down and Severino would sit down the next hitter to setup a matchup every baseball fan wanted to see. With two outs and the bases loaded in a tight game, Jose Altuve stepped to the plate. The epic battle did not last long as Altuve lined the first pitch of the at bat just over Todd Frazier’s glove for a two RBI single.
The offense did come alive when it was needed, but another masterful performance on the mound from Justin Verlander was also key to the victory. Verlander had nasty stuff all night and the breaking ball was working exceptionally well. JV would toss 7 shutout innings while striking out eight Yankees. Verlander, who the Astros aquired at the waiver deadline for this exact reason, is now 4-0 in the 2017 playoffs and has allowed just four runs and struck out 24 over his 24.2 innings.
With the 3-0 lead still intact as we went to the eighth, Astros manager, A.J. Hinch, decided he had seen enough from his postseason workhorse and replaced Verlander with Brad Peacock. The 29 year old righty would give up a solo homer to Aaron Judge that would end up being the lone Yankee run on the night.
The Astros ended any ninth inning hopes of a Yankees comeback when they erupted for four runs in the bottom of the eighth, highlighted by four straight hits to start the inning, including a lead off homer from Altuve. Ken Giles would come in and close things out in the ninth to secure the Astros game six victory.
These playoffs have been wildly entertaining so I am never upset when we get an extra game, especially if it is a game seven. Tonight’s decisive game will get under way at 8pm eastern time as both teams look to punch their ticket to Los Angeles. CC Sabathia takes the mound for the Yankees while the Astros go with Charlie Morton.