The Astros face a do-or-die situation Friday night, and will need to find as many hits as possible to advance to the World Series.
Let’s face it: The Astros’ offense has been quite lousy since the start of the ALCS.
Credit to the Yankees pitching staff, though, for developing a game plan to stifle one of the best offenses in baseball. However, that does come with the Astros offense helping them a bit.
Righty vs. Righty Dilemma
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs provided a great examination of the Astros struggles against the Yankees pitching staff. They identified the match-ups and quality of pitching attributed to the lack of output from the offense.
However, one player has been an anomaly. Yuli Gurriel has been better against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers. However, he is not immune to what the Yankees pitching staff is dealing. Although the Astros feasted on most pitchers this season, the Yankee bullpen is above average. So, how do we fix this problem?
Take Advantage of Severino
Luis Severino is a hard throwing right-handed pitcher. At 23-years old, Severino is very much young to postseason action. He does have great ability, and is capable of being dangerous to hitters. However, he showed signs of discomfort, working his arm in between innings. Ultimately, he left the game early due to an injury.
The Astros love to hit fastballs. better yet, they love hitting high velocity fastballs. Severino delivers in both of the categories. Severino uses his fastball more than 50% of the time against both left and right-handed hitters. Astros hitters need to use the velocity and, youth and uncertain health of Severino to their advantage.
Make The Adjustments
The recipe has been simple for the Yankees pitching staff, throw things low and away and force the Astros out in front, unable to use their power. It’s incredibly difficult to pull pitches when they are on the opposite side of the plate.
Since the Astros love hitting fastballs, the Yankees have spun the ball more and more. Hitters need to adjust by waiting for pitches to get deeper, or changing the point of attack to get to these pitches before they move across the zone.
With two games on their home field, the Astros have a great opportunity to win this series and advance. However, they’ll need to adjust and produce runs to do that.
**Stats and data courtesy of FanGraphs Baseball, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference**