NYY lead series 3-2
The New York Yankees are just one win away from the World Series. The team that nobody thought would even be close to returning to the Fall Classic this season, let alone the ALCS continues to prove the doubters wrong. It has been a season of comebacks for the Yankees, the Bronx Bombers have made the postseason their own comeback story.
First it was the wild card game against the Twins where they trailed 3-0. Then it was the Indians series in the ALDS where they were down two games to none. Now it is the ALCS. The Yankees were down two games to none against the Astros, and erased that deficit, and, at the same time, exercised their Dallas Keuchel demons in one foul swoop to take a 3-2 series edge.
All New York has to do is beat Justin Verlander on Friday night and their ticket to the World Series will be punched.
Keuchel just didn't have it. Five days after frustrating the Yankees offense with a collection of off-speed pitches in Game One, the Yankees had him figured out in Game Five. With two out in the bottom of the second inning, Starlin Castro lined a 1-0 fastball off the top of the wall in left-center to get the party started. Three pitches later, Greg Bird lined a 2-0 fastball down the right field line to bring Castro home with the games first run.
Those two hits were the breakthrough the Yankees had been looking for. Now it was time to take Keuchel to the woodshed.
In the third inning, Chase Headley singled to lead things off. Brett Gardner then reached on a Fielder's Choice. Finally, Aaron Judge brought the roof down on Keuchel when he lined a double to left to score Gardner to make it 2-0 Bombers.
The Yankees were not done. They successfully knocked Keuchel from the ball game in the fifth inning with Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregarious delivered back-to-back RBI singles to push the lead to 4-0. Keuchel's day was done after 86 pitches. His final line 4.2 innings pitched, allowing four runs on seven hits.
It was almost like the cherry on top when Sanchez came back in the seventh inning and planted one in the left field stands for his first home run of the postseason to cap off the Yankee scoring at 5-0.
As for Mashairo Tanaka, he was absolutely brilliant. Tanaka was incredible for the third straight postseason game. He held the Astros to just three hits over seven innings, while striking out eight and walking one. He totally befuddled an Astros lineup that has gone into a proverbial funk in the LCS. In the LCS alone, the Astros are hitting .153 as a team. In two starts against Tanaka, the Astros have managed only two runs on seven hits over 13 innings. Tank's postseason ERA dipped down to 1.38.
With the series back in their favor, the Yankees head to Houston looking to win one of the next two games in order to punch their ticket to the World Series for the 41st time in their remarkable history. Will their old rivals the Dodgers be there? We'll see. LA holds a 3-1 lead in the NLCS against the Cubs. But before the Yankees start thinking about Hollywood, they need to write a finish to this script in the ALCS.