Let’s hope that after Saturday’s heroics, the Astros need to focus and take care of business.
After Saturday’s amazing game-winner, Astros fans were excited about going up 2-0 versus the Yankees in the ALCS. On Talking Stros Saturday, we discussed how the Astros could take care of business in New York. We did caution that they could lose Game 3, the first game at Yankee Stadium. At this point, this team can beat any pitcher they face, but one may give them trouble.
The Astros offense has not broken out yet this series, but they are still up two games. These two teams were the top-two scoring offenses in the American League. In what has become a well-pitched series, runs are at a premium. Both teams have thrown the best two pitchers they got, but now we will have a battle of the best of the rest.
Looking at Sabathia
The Yankees will throw their 37-year-old lefty veteran starter C.C. Sabathia. Although he is a former Cy Young Award winner, he is not the same pitcher he was in 2007. After being in limbo for three seasons with a high ERA, Sabathia turned things around in 2016. He learned how to pitch with what he had, which has led to his 14-win season.
Sabathia used to throw 95 mph but now throws about 90 mph cutting fastball. Like Dallas Keuchel, Sabathia has learned how to hit the corners with his pitches. He knows how to pitch, and since he is healthy, he could pose a threat to the Astros. It may come as a surprise, but Sabathia has only faced the Astros three times in his 17-year career.
Sabathia is 2-1 in his career versus the Astros with a 4.15 ERA. He has 20 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. His last start was July 26th, 2016 where he won after allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings. It should also be noted that the Astros scored six runs on April 1, 2014.
A look at Morton
Chalie Morton will start against Sabathia. Morton has had a limited of experience versus the Yankees. In two starts, Morton is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. With the momentum in the Astros favor, this could be a trap game. The Astros tend to struggle with pitchers like Sabathia. He was cruising in Game 5 of the ALDS but lost control in the fifth inning.
The Yankees will be hungry to bounce back after a devastating loss and will be cheering them on. With the screaming Astros fans at Minute Maid Park, Keuchel and Justin Verlander pitched great games. The Yankees fans could do the same for Sabathia and Sonny Gray. With Keuchel or Verlander ready for Game 5, the Yankees will be desperate for a win.
Should Morton struggle, the Astros will most likely pitch Brad Peacock or Lance McCullers. Verlander allowed the bullpen to rest up by throwing a complete game, so everyone should be available. Collin McHugh has yet to make an appearance this postseason, but he could pitch multiple innings as well.
Hopefully, the Astros take care of business tonight versus the Yankees. They would love to save their top two pitchers for Games 1 and 2 of a potential World Series. One step at a time, they need to win tonight’s game first. The beautiful thing about this team is that no situation is too big for them, they just win.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***