Saturday, Oct. 21, game seven of the Ameri- can League Championship Series (ALCS) was held between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. Game seven would decide which of the two American League Teams would be moving on to the World Series to play the Los Angeles Dodgers, who secured the NLCS. The Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs in four out of five games, showcasing an offensive storm from the powerful Dodger lineup. Regardless of the outcome of the ALCS rubber match, both the Yankees and the Astros would assuredly display a captivating show of offensive theatrics and world-class pitching.
The pitching matchup in game seven of the ALCS was between Yankee Veteran CC Sabathia and Charlie Morton of the Astros. Leading up to this point, Sabathia was 1-0 in post-season play, with his one win against the Astros earlier in the series. Morton had a 0-1 record going into game seven. Morton went on to pitch five shutout innings, allowing only two hits.
Sabathia left the game after just three-and-a-third innings, giving up one earned run. Evan Gattis, catcher for the Astros, was responsible for the run with a solo home run in the fourth. Tommy Khanle came into replace Sabathia and allowed another run in the fifth inning when Jose Altuve hit a solo home run making the game 2-0. Lance McCullers Jr. replaced Mor- ton, coming in in the sixth and continued the shutout, picking up a save. The Astros’ offense scored two more runs with two RBIs from Bryan McCann. The Houston Astros went on to win the game 4-0 and secured their place in the 2017 World Series.
Yankees fans familiar with the players and the personnel changes that happened over the course of the year should be proud of how well the young team has performed this season. The Yankees have even exceeded head coach Joe Girardi’s expectations. The addition of Aaron Judge, a rookie, into a consistent lineup spot has shown huge production. The rookie has hit 56 home runs this season, including in the off-season.
Also, the Yankees pick-up of veteran Todd Frazier from the White Sox organization has greatly improved the team. Frazier has proved to be a dangerous hitter, a sound fielder and a leader this off-season. Also, the addition of Aroldis Chapman, the flame-throwing, left-handed closer, came as a missing piece and greatly improved the Yankees’ staff. Aroldis Chapman was traded from the Chicago Cubs organization.
The young players the Yankees have spent time developing, Gregorius, Sanchez, Severino and Judge, have all had stellar seasons and were dangerous in the off-season. If the Yankees can avoid significant injuries in the coming years, they will continue to be in playoff contention for the coming years. Also, Bryce Harper’s contract with the Washington Nationals is ending this year; however, Harper has a one-year option. Harper’s contract will end soon regardless, and the young stud outfielder has already expressed interest in becoming a Yankee.
In addition to Yankees fanatics, the loss came as a disappointment to many hoping to see a Dodgers vs. Yankees World Series. The Dodgers of Los Angeles and the Yankees of New York represent the two most densely populated cities across the United States. A Yankees and Dodgers World Series would have attracted the attention of millions, and the interest would have certainly been great for Major League Baseball. Also, the population centers in New York and Los Angeles are especially diverse, and in the odd chance that baseball reaches houses that don’t usually watch baseball, new fanatics would be sure to arise.
Regardless, the Astros and Dodgers will showcase the tip of the spear of baseball. Teams by this point in the year are locked into the zone, and the playoffs this year have shown it. The Astros have been building their team up for years now for this moment in time. The Astros have best offensive lineup in team history. Maybe even better than the killer bees, which included the likes of Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell.
Further contributing to their success, the Astros staff may be the best in its history as well. Dallas Keuchel has been a force this entire season and off-season. The late pickup of Justin Verlander from the Tigers Organization has solidified the starting rotation. Verlander, a former Cy Young and MVP winner, has been lights-out ever since Aug. 31, when he was traded to the Astros. His record is 9-0 for the Astros.
It’s a great time to give baseball a chance. Despite the fact that the Dodgers vs. Yankees World Series has been ruled out, there is a lot to be excited about. Post-season play has been a pleasure to watch so far, and the Dodgers and Astros are sure to put on a show.