Astros advance to ALDS
It was the young vs. the old in the 2015 American League wild card game. The young Houston Astros played their game of hit the long ball or strikeout with their Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel on the mound. They may have won on the back of their long balls, however, they only were able to get two off of Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka. Thatm plus a run knocked in by Jose Altuve in the seventh allowed the Astros to move on to face the Kansas City Royals in the American League Division Series.
The Yankees an overall much older team, appeared tired. Tanaka took the mound and lasted five innings. However he’s had health issues most of the last two seasons. He spent most of last season attempting to rehab a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, missed time in May because of that injury and missed most of September with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. A hamstring strain that had more than likely not yet fully healed.
Tanaka allowed home runs to both Colby Rasmus on a first pitch fastball and another to Carlos Gomez on the first pitch of the fourth inning on a 94 mph slider. The Astros made the score 3-0 in the seventh inning off of Yankees reliever Dellin Betances and that was all the offense that they needed.
Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros bullpen held the New York Yankees to just three singles in the AL wild card game. Keuchel allowed a single to Greg Bird in the second and singles to both Didi Gregorious and Carlos Beltran in the sixth inning. Unfortunately for the Yankees not even the two singles in the sixth could push any runs across the plate.
The Yankees have not been hitting much in the past couple of weeks, in fact in their last 13 games they’ve averaged just 2.8 runs per game.
The Yankees’ fans were not happy with the strikeouts and ground outs that just kept coming against Keuchel and relievers Tony Sipp, Will Harris and closer Luke Gregerson. Soon the crowd began to boo their own team knowing that the team’s season was going to be over and it did end Tuesday night.
Will the Astros’ pitching, home run hitting and speed help them beat the AL’s best team when they face the Royals in the ALDS? Most would say no, but it appears they may have a chance. When the Royals traded for former-Reds’ starter Johnny Cueto, the expected an ace but he has struggled so far as a member of the Royals.
But the Royals have many other strengths like speed, timely hitting, an MVP candidate in Lorenzo Cain and another ace in Yordano Ventura. Ventura is scheduled to start game one of the ALDS against young Collin McHugh, who won 19 games this season.
The Royals may have had the best record in the AL and secured home field advantage through out the playoffs but they’d better watch out because the Astros are young, hungry and good. The Astros will definitely make this year’s ALDS a series weather they win or not.