The New York Yankees won 103 games this year due to their great ability to pile up runs on the competition with ease.
While that strategy works great in the regular season, it can sometimes prove inadequate in the postseason when the pitching gets better and games get tighter.
So far though, the Yankees are looking like an offense capable of bashing their way to to a championship, as they have piled up 18 runs in their first two games against the Minnesota Twins.
Minnesota actually outhomered the Yankees 3-2 in Game 1, but New York collected all of the clutch hits and cruised to a 10-4 victory.
In Game 2 on Saturday, the Yankees had a monster third inning in which they scored seven runs to put the Twins away early. The rally was capped by a grand slam off the bat of shortstop Didi Gregorius.
By taking the first two games of this best-of-five series, the Yankees have pushed the Twins to the verge of elimination as they return home to Minnesota for Game 3.
Losing in October has become routine for the Twins, as they have not had much success in the playoffs in recent years. In fact, the Twins have not won a game in the postseason in over a decade.
Their last victory came in 2004 and after dropping the first two games of this ALDS, they now have an MLB-record 15-game losing streak in the playoffs.
What makes matters worse for the Twins, is that they are often losing at the hands of the Evil Empire, as the Yankees have contributed 12 of those 15 losses.
- 2004 ALDS, Yankees, lost 1-3
- 2006 ALDS, Athletics, lost 0-3
- 2009 ALDS, Yankees, lost 0-3
- 2010 ALDS, Yankees, lost 0-3
- 2017 AL Wild Card, Yankees, lost 0-1
- 2019 ALDS, Yankees, down 0-2
Things won’t get easier in Game 3 for Minnesota, as Yankees ace Luis Severino will be taking the mound to try to end their season.
Severino did miss almost all of 2019 due to injury, but returned just in time, making three starts before the end of the season. In those starts, Severino pitched to a 1.50 ERA, yielding just two runs in 12 innings pitched.
He may not be able to pitch deep into the game, but Severino can absolutely blank the Twins for four or five innings to hand off a lead to the Yankees stellar bullpen.
The Twins have a great lineup that won 101 regular season games for a reason. Still, they have to come alive soon or their season is sure to be over.
Carlos Correa Hits Walk-Off Homer in the 11th Inning to Tie ALCS at a Game Apiece
Back in 2017, the Houston Astros played the New York Yankees in the ALCS and dropped the first game of the series at home.
Justin Verlander started Game 2 and threw a complete game, carrying a tie to the bottom of the ninth inning for the Astros. Jose Altuve singled to lead off that frame and then Carlos Correa hit a walk-off double to tie the series.
Now two years later, in a game that Verlander happened to start as well, Correa once again came up to the plate with a chance to win a game for his team.
This time, the shortstop delivered the second postseason walk-off hit of his career in grand fashion, drilling an opposite field home run in the 11th inning.
That home run was just the finishing touch to an amazing game by Correa.
In the second inning, Correa drove in the first run of the game with an RBI double that brought Alex Bregman home.
Verlander was excellent for the Astros, pitching against a very tough Yankees lineup. He threw 6 2/3 innings, yielding just five hits and two runs, with seven strikeouts.
The runs he allowed came on a two-run homer off the bat of Aaron Judge in the fourth inning.
While the Yankees took a 2-1 lead on Judge’s home run, George Springer hit a home run of his own in the fifth inning to tie the game.
Another turning point came in the sixth inning, when the Yankees were rallying against Verlander.
With two runners on, Brett Gardner ripped a base hit that ricocheted off of Jose Altuve, falling in no-man’s land up the middle.
The Yankees sent D.J. LeMahieu around to try to score on the play, but Correa once again came through in the clutch, making a heads-up play and gunning down the runner at the plate.
The game would remain tied until the 11th inning, with the Astros bullpen using five pitchers to get 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Then came Correa’s walk-off in the bottom of the 11th and the series is now all tied up as it heads to New York City for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Hopefully we are in for a long series, as this really might be a matchup of the two best teams in baseball.
Nationals Take Commanding 2-0 Lead Back to Washington in the NLCS
The Washington Nationals are in prime position to go to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Washington now returns home to play three games with the chance to clinch the series by winning two games in front of their fans.
For the Nationals it has been their pitching that has carried them thus far against the Cardinals, as St. Louis has been helpless against their starters.
In Game 1, the Nationals were forced to send out their No. 4 starter as their trio of aces were worn down from the series against the Dodgers. Luckily that starter was Anibal Sanchez, a long-time MLB veteran that has pitched in big games plenty of times in his career.
Sanchez was not fazed by the moment by any stretch and actually no-hit the Cardinals through seven innings.
It actually felt inevitable that the no-hitter would happen too, as no-hitters usually come with an incredible defensive play and Ryan Zimmerman delivered one in the eighth inning.
Unfortunately for Sanchez, he yielded a base-hit to Jose Martinez two batters later, ending his no-hit bid.
Still the most important thing for the Nationals was that Sanchez got them the 2-0 victory. But the craziness was just beginning for the Nationals, because the next day, it almost happened again.
Max Scherzer pitched Game 2 and he carried a no-hitter through six innings. Scherzer would not finish the no-hitter though, as Paul Goldschmidt laced a single to lead off the seventh inning.
In the end, Scherzer struck out 11 batters and did not yield a run across seven brilliant innings.
The thing that makes Sanchez and Scherzer’s back-to-back no-hit bids more incomprehensible is the fact that they actually had already done this before.
Back in 2013, when both pitchers were on the Detroit Tigers, Scherzer and Sanchez actually accomplished a similar feat.
This year’s version was more impressive however, as they are not only both 35 years old, but they also took their respective no-hit bids deeper into the game.
While the Nationals have to love the performances that those two veterans have given them thus far, they should hope that history stops repeating itself there.
That is because the Boston Red Sox came back in that series against Sanchez and Scherzer’s Tigers and won the ALCS in six games. Boston went on to win the World Series.
We will see if the Cardinals can turn their fate in a similar fashion when the series resumes on Monday night in Washington for Game 3.
Gerrit Cole Leads the Astros to the ALCS For Third-Straight Year
The Houston Astros are once again heading to the ALCS, as they continue their dynasty over the American League.
In the past two seasons, the Astros have won their division round mathcup rather easily, never facing an elimination game. However this year that changed, as the Tampa Bay Rays pushed them on the brink of elimination.
Tampa won Game 3 and Game 4 at home, forcing the series to return to Houston to play a Game 5 on Thursday night. But the Astros still had Gerrit Cole ready to pitch in that game and he was his usual dominant self.
Cole was spotted a four-run lead in the first inning, giving him ample run support. Then Cole did what any good ace does. He closed the door.
The hard-throwing righty allowed just two hits and one run across eight brilliant innings pitched.
In his first playoff start, Cole struck out 15 batters in a dominant performance. After reaching double digits again in Game 5, Cole put himself in elite company for accomplishing a rare postseason feat.
With Gerrit Cole in the rotation, the Astros stand a great chance to make it to the World Series and win their second title in three years. Cole was not with the Astros in 2017, giving him extra motivation to get his first World Series ring.
The first team standing in the way of that happening is the New York Yankees. The Yankees just came off sweeping the Minnesota Twins and will have been resting for five full days by the time Game 1 starts on Sunday.
That could give them a slight advantage over the Astros, but with a starting rotation that includes Cole and Justin Verlander, Houston will be ready to face whatever the Yankees throw at them.
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