The most difficult part of the playoffs from a fan’s perspective is that the narratives are crafted so quickly that they become fact before anyone has a chance to question them. After two games in Houston most people have decided that these Astros are simply too good for the Yankees, that their dominant pitching staff is untouchable, that the Yankee bullpen is a dumpster fire, that this team from the Bronx simply isn’t very good.
Perhaps it’s time to back away from the ledge and remember that we’re talking about two games, and those two games weren’t all bad. Consider, for example, that the mighty Astros only scored seven runs in those two games, and that the three runs they scored on Thursday night came courtesy of one mistake — a two-out, two-strike fastball that Luís Severino wasn’t able to get up in the zone. There’s also the fact that Aaron Judge nearly grabbed Game Two right back with a laser that might’ve been a home run were it not for the winds that were whipping through Minute Maid Park.
A quick note about those two balls, Alex Bregman’s towering fly ball that landed in the seats for a three-run home run and Judge’s line drive that was caught at the wall by Kyle Tucker. Those two balls determined the game, so the postgame analysis naturally focused on the differences between the two, and the Yankees came out looking a bit petulant as one after another they stood in line to tell us that they thought Judge’s ball was going out. (In their defense, they had to answer the questions.) Severino even went so far as to say the Astros had been lucky because Bregman’s ball had been only 91 MPH off the bat while Judge’s had been 106. (Ever the diplomat, Judge said he never thought it was going out. He had hit it to the wrong part of the yard.)
Alex Eisert at Fangraphs provides some quick analysis on the data behind those two balls:
After the game, Severino expressed surprise that Bregman’s looping 91.8 mph fly left the park and Aaron Judge’s 106.3 mph shot to right didn’t. He mentioned the wind as a factor; the roof was open at Minute Maid, and the swirling air currents may have brought balls back into the park in right field but lifted out those hit to left. Yet, it’s hard to discern the ultimate impact environmental factors had on the game’s outcome; there were plenty of Astros who flied out to deep right as well, notably Peña, who hit a 99.2-mph, 22-degree drive that stayed in the yard. Besides the wind, batted ball spin may have caused Judge’s knock to fall short.
The whole discussion was interesting because it pointed out how exit velocity and launch angle haven’t just changed the way the game is played but the way it’s perceived. When you’re sitting in ballpark, every ball hit in the air looks like it’s going to be a home run, so we’ve all quickly learned to watch the outfielders, not the ball. Knowledgeable fans have been doing that for generations, but the players don’t do that anymore. With stadium scoreboards posting exit velocity and launch angle the instant a ball is struck, all eyes in the dugout immediately look to those magic numbers. It’s no longer the crack of the bat but the flash of the scoreboard that triggers celebration in one dugout and despair in the other. The game has changed.
Today will determine whether or not this series changes. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that the narrative being written right now actually isn’t based on just games one and two. We all know that Houston beat the Yankees five out of seven games this season, without Yankee pitchers throwing a single pitch while holding the lead, and we all bear the scars of 2017 and 2019. These Astros, whether cheating or not, have ripped our hearts out of our collective chests over and over.
Ah, but this is baseball, and sometimes the action doesn’t follow the script — just ask the Dodgers and Mets. Gerrit Cole pitched and won the biggest game of his Yankee career six days ago in Cleveland, and today he takes the mound for a game that’s probably even bigger. (No, it’s not an elimination game, but to my knowledge no team has ever come back to win an ALCS after being down 0-3, right?)
I have faith in Cole because I have to. There is no other choice.
There are a few tweaks to the lineup — Rizzo moving into the leadoff spot, Carpenter back at DH, and Cabrera at short. I’ve gotten used to Boone’s constant shuffling of the batting order, so I have no thoughts on that, but I wonder about playing Matt Carpenter. He looks hopelessly lost, bringing to mind the days of Gary Sánchez. The only hope is that he might run into one and accidentally put a ball into the seats. Here’s hoping. Anyway…
- Rizzo, 1B
- Judge, RF
- Stanton, LF
- Torres, 2B
- Carpenter, DH
- Bader, CF
- Donaldson, 3B
- Cabrera, SS
- Trevino, C
Thanks for the perspective. It was nice to not be a raging, frustrated lunatic last night. A Saturday late late afternoon game. Go Cole. Go offense. GO YANKEES!
Great post Hank
Here we go, Team.
Let’s Go Yankees!!!
Wtf was that?
already in trouble. argh
Good write up Hank. Just tuning in.
Not sure why Carp is in front of Bader here. Makes no sense.
Evening Nostra, evening all.
Howabout you don't start the evening off by killing the mood, Gerrit?
Come on, blue
FUCK YOU BLUE!!!
That was a strike.
Now, he’s over 20 pitches…
There it is!!! Coke gives the idiot ump a death stare and said something as he gets his hand checked
Okay. Three strikeouts in the first? I'll take it.
ok! strikes out the side!
 good. bs call
Carp is in, because Javier is a right handed fly ball pitcher and Carp can pepper the short porch. That’s the thought and hope, at least…
(Thank you for your writeup, Hank, for offering hope to the hopeless!)
Swings at ball 4 and another 30 foot popup.
The judge has left the bench ... all sit.
Two identical popups.
there is no room for Judge to slump in this offense.
Several of the Yankees are scruffy. I like it!
Man, that was the pitch for Stanton…
 I know. That was fat.
Is that Kelly Leak in CF?
Good ears, Stanton. Bader went a country mile on that out.
Extra pitches, extra pitches...
I'm stressed already.
Wow, bad luck there.
There we go. The best defender on the field costs two runs.
Fucking fuck. CF call off their damn LF/RF. How hard is it m
I mean, his name is Chas. Pretty much all you need to know.
 Bader was definitely calling him off.
Houston is definitely trying to scratch out a hit for Altuve. That's all this is.
They sure do hustle. We could learn a lot from this team.
They sure are fundamentally sound.
This Fucking SUCKS
I wish he would've said, "After review the call stands, the batter is now 0 for 28 in the postseason."
Seems like a bad challenge. Hopefully it comes back to bite them.
How much shite luck can one team have in 2 and 1/9 of a game. Fucking Bollocks!
Two line drives at the wall in two games. Judge's is caught right below the wall, Chas's bounces off the top. Fill in the cliché.
Got Houston right where we want them.
stop with the big swings Torres
And so you now have the meme for this series.
Tie the fucking game, Carp
Good walk, Gleyber.
ok good walk!
He hasn't even fouled off a ball.
They are putting way too much faith in Carpenter. He's useles.
I feel bad for Carpenter. He was having a dream season, then came the freak injury, and now he's completely lost.
Why the F is carpenter in the lineup?
Carp is done, for this year at least. Mercy benching, please.
Seems like Marwin would provide better abs than Carpenter.
Peraza would be better than Marwin + Carp combined
Everybody's favorite Yankee. Will he come through?
I know these guys are hitters and they're paid to hit and they've been successful, but with the way Javier is throwing, it almost seems like they should go up there and take until they get a strike.
Remember in 2001 at the Stadium in like game one or two Arizona's catcher missed two of those popups behind the plate?
down the middle so I knew JD wouldn't swing.
Swinging through 94 down the dick. Ugh
JD's swing is just so long.
. I remember them missing it completely then it went foul. I am not sure that was the series though.
This team can not hit anything that bends
Donaldson is good at two things:
2. Gently placing his helmet and bat at the plate after striking out to end an inning.
I mean, I really don't want to be Mr. Doom and Gloom but my God, are we just going to get swept? Is that it?
Stanton came back from injury and stunk for a month. It's absurd to hope to catch lightning in a bottle from Carpenter. Or expect Donaldson to look like anything other than dog shit.
I don't feel very hopeful.
weeping - yes, most likely
 yep exactly.
 I want to say it was the game their #3 guy started, so I guess that would be Game 3. What was that dude's name?
 That's not what you want.
 Battista. That was the guy's name.
I'll take it, but it seems like every check swing is a strike nowadays.
Better. Crowd needs to stay behind Cole and feed off each other.
And if it spreads to our batters, all the better.
Overslept! Was the homer a NYS special? Cole seems to be dealing..
Little bingo. Let's fucking go!
Beautiful short swing.
Get a grip Darling. I watched little leaguers make that catch all summer.
 Good move, sleepy head. The epic dream I was having was way better than this shit. Wish I could go back there.
 It was.
Ah ... sigh ... I go to make and eat dinner and Cole coughs one up.
Fastball I presume?
(98) My dog gave me a ‘not a chance’ look from his blanket when I proposed a walk, so maybe will get the game on the radio and return to semi-slumber for a bit!
At this point I'd really just like to see a base hit of some sort.
Our offense is offensive.
Dammit, post supper terrorist walk didn’t work yet again
I'm loving our 35/3 K/BB ratio at the moment.
I'd certainly not fear our bats if I were Houston.
Carpenter is batting FIFTH..??? Has no one on the Yankees seen his ABs???
I think we've all known for a long time, the Yankees are not going to beat the Cheaters in a series of any length. Not with this team. Not against that team.
I just feel for the fans out there at the Stadium. At least give them something to cheer about. One exciting win, please.
getting a lot of beneficial calls.
Need the Towers to do damage here
Seventy pitches through four innings for Cole. That won't matter if the offense doesn't get a hit, but still something to watch.
Not over yet. Cole is great, and we’re gonna win (am I really a Yankee fan?)
 Match-ups Mr. Jazz ... like how Mr. Burns won the game pinch hitting Homer for Strawberry!
Carpenter is a lefty!
That's two very hittable pitches Judge missed.
Judge looks awful
I had to put my dog out back. I was just sitting on the couch he wouldn't settle. I'm sure he senses I'm on edge. Lol...
He hits rockets.
Stanton rips it in the gap
Beautiful hitting by Stanton there.
Smoked by G
Very very nice hitting.
Please capitalize. Thx.
This offense is making me think of great poetry last lines.
Like: Now is time for every man to enter his own soul's desert and look for God having seen [man] this Yankees' lineup
A hit, A HIT ... from Frankenstanton!
Another easy out.
Cult, haven’t seen that episode in years! Will get the kids and did it online somewhere tonight. ‘Are you Daryl Starwberry?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Are you better than me?’ ‘Well, I don’t know you but, Yea.’
Carpenter. Oh, joy.
 Good stuff.
At least he didn’t whiff…
Sounded good off the bat, but…..
Carp hit the ball! Carp hit the ball!
My expectations have been effectively lowered.
I have a comment in moderation and have zero idea why.
Base hit and no K for Carp, so…progress?
At least it was contact from 'Stache
 The Leaden-Eyed by Vachel Lindsay
"Not that they die, but that they die like sheep."
Anybody notice that the TV coverage for the playoffs has poor production values? Very few shots of the field defense setup.
Cole is dealing!
Weeping, I once got detention in high school for no reason. Teacher said, ‘I don’t know what you did this time, but I’m sure there was something so go to detention’
And there it is. He’s gonna go on a tear now
Jeez now even Altuve is getting a hit
Has Altuve surpassed Dusty PEDroia on Annoying Little Guy rankings?
 He stands alone.
My wife has the indignity of going to the prom at 22 while we were dating. Her familie's friend long time crazy mom needed a date for her son and bullied my soon to be wife into going.
His name: Chas.
Kinda cool that our battery grew up as diehard Yankee fans!!
Good job, Gleyber
They sure do run like they care.
They definitely hustle…
Cole is badass. Now where is the gosh darn ‘O’???
I’m really liking Cole. Now if we can get some support soon…..
Can't blame Cole for this one. He's been brilliant.
These last 2 games would have been historic patching duels if it weren't for 1 meatball and an unforgivable miscue.. smh.
I'm proud of Cole, to be sure.
He's really stepping up.
Leadoff man on with speed!
Lance McCullers looks like he would smoke a lot of pot and listen to classic rock radio
Please take a BB, JD..
I have decided that I will only eat my remaining Sour Patch Kids in number equal to the number of Total Bases on hits by the Yankees for the remainder of the game.
Donaldson should have orders to take every pitch. The chances of him walking are better than anything else.
I wouldn't be mad if they pinch hit a peanut vendor for Donaldson next time up.
 I was thinking the same.
FUCK!!!! : /
Why’d he look at the catcher???
can't do anything right on offense.
Can't blame them for sending Bader.
LOL ... a caught stealing!
Unbelievable. End the series now. I don’t wanna watch this shot anymore.
That K was quite predictable…
Stupid steal attempt
If there's little hope for base hits, Boone has no choice but to force the action.
Why can't the Yankees steal anymore?..well it's been decades.
Bader should have gone on the first pitch.
By the way, it's been nine straight games with six hits or fewer for the Yankee offense, the longest streak in franchise history. This would be game number ten.
 I'm happy with it. Nothing else is working. Force them to make a play. They had to make a perfect throw and they did. They win. I prefer that to standing around waiting for a home run that's never going to come.
 Yes, but wrong pitch. That pitch in the dirt was tailor made.
Good base stealers don't mess around, they just go.
Something tells me they won’t strand their leadoff double…
What’s with all these players and their back pockets flapping around? That’d drive me nuts! Hell, it already does just looking at it!
SETTING UP THE DOUBLE PLAY!!!
Desperately need Cole to roll the 3-ball here!
Get this fucking racist to make multiple outs on the first pitch.
Nice deke by Judge
Fuck you, Fucklander
Well, here goes the series.
That’s the last time we’ll see Cole this season…
I only have 7 Sour Patch Kids left ... why do I feel like I'll some left over at the end of the game?
It’s gonna be 5-zip in a blink
I swear -- if Trey Mancini delivers the dagger....
They’re playing with confidence and we’re playing scared
This is all so sad.
Someone needs to re-engineer this team from the ground up. Come up with a real plan.
Starting with developing our own guys. No one should come out of our system without being fundamentally tight from stem to stern.
Don't bother throwing to 2nd, Stanton.
That sucks. All runners advance…
we don't make basic plays.
Might as well be three thousand nothing Houston.
Bottom of their lineup. Former shit sock. This sucks sooo fucking bad
Really smart bringing in trevno
Yup, of course
They deserve it. They're just a superior team. They prove it again and again and again.
What can you do?
Peraza should have been up weeks before he finally was, but the Yankees always seem hesitant to trust young talent on the offensive side and insist on sticking with mediocrities like Falafel.
All 3 runs charged to Cole, who probably should have stayed in…
Guys not on next year’s roster: Carpenter, Hicks, and a couple of others
 please Donaldson. I don't care how. Lost him.
I can't stand it.
Why do we even bother? At the beginning of the year everyone on the planet knew we'd have to go through Houston again, but Cash did nothing to address that.
The team should be designed to beat Houston.
. Whatever Boone decided probably wasn't going to work. I would have stuck with Cole, but it certainly defensible.
Dusty should let the batboy pitch.
I’m at the ‘acceptance’ stage. Astros are just better in every area of the game. Can only hope that Boone is released into the wild after Game 4, he brings now ident skills to the job at all.
 It didn't used to be that way; Cano was a mid-season call up. And if I recall correctly, so was Melky(?).
Here comes Neris to get the 1-pitch double play
I've been at the acceptance stage since before the series.
 I was counting the Mariners to take they out in the 5 game series. They certainly played the Astros closer than the Yanks did.
 Right. They're even better at cheating. When the Yanks were cheating (sign stealing) they still couldn't beat Houston.
This team just does not have anyone outside their top four or five who could possibly deliver a playoff hit when it’s needed.
No Spencer, Leyritz, Chili, Straw, Justice, Olerud, Hayes, Clark, Matsui, etc.
I cannot believe this is the team that entered the playoffs after the first half they had. Unreal.
. Well they are missing DJ and Bennetendi.
I hope that everyone associated with the team is visited by the Ghost of George Steinbrenner in a dream tonight.
 They had near perfect first half injury luck and really terrible 2nd half luck.
Shrug. Would have loved the first half team against this Astros team, but, that's baseball.
WOULD SOMEONE GET A HIT FOR FUCK'S SAKE?
I want a Sour Patch Kid!
 I know. Which makes this all the more maddening.
Entering the playoffs, they were essentially a 90-win team masquerading as a 99- game winner. That did keep them our of the WC round and give home field for Cleveland, both of which were great, but makes them look all the more exposed now, is all.
Calling it ... Carpenter gets a hit!
Damn, I SO wanted to call Carpenter The Sour Patch Kid
 I would take the other side of that bet.
At least Padres-Phillies should be a good baseball game
Two innings left for the Yankees to break double digit Ks for the 3rd straight game!
Good thing I'm drinking, otherwise this team would drive me to it.
I’m about to start drinking. 4th night in a row! Taking the next 4 off!!!
I gave it up recently. Goal is sorta to stay dry through Jan 1 of 2024. But these games make me want to pour a bourbon or mix up a Negroni.
At this rate, you'd very likely only need the next night in any case.
This is clear proof that the whole ‘playoffs are a crapshoot’ thin is nonsense. Clearly the Astros making the LCS Sox years in a row dispels that
 best of luck
Topper’s opener strategy not working out. 4-0 friars in the first
That dude in the stands looks like The Babe!
Looks like I’m rooting for the Pads from here on out. Not a Tatis fan after his bust, but as a Virginia resident I sure do like watching Soto.
Say the final is 5-3. (As if…) It’s damn Chas homer as the difference.
Then again, here comes a one-pitch double play
Knuckles - good luck with the suds. Or, rather, without the suds!
Cmon now guys. Show some life.
At least not a DP
s i g h
Complete and utter garbage. Total bollocks
Must. Bleach. Brain. After. Watching
Damn. Phillies storming back. Pads scored 4 in the first with 2 outs. Phils have scored 2 without any outs and Harper is up
Bryce with yet another XBH. 4-3, Harper on second, no outs. Clevinger, who I can’t stand, is already out of the gsme
Oh, good. German in and gives up a leadoff walk
He can’t find the zone
Harper on 3rd chatting with Machado, both should have been in pinstripes :(
I can’t believe it’s not 8-0…
To borrow from the Joker in the original Batman ... "this team needs an enema".
Why bother playing tomorrow? Why should I bother watching? (I will, of course)
It’ll only be fitting to go down 1-2-3…
Give Peraza an at-bat, dammit!!!
I turned it off for a couple of innings but I see that didn't change our luck.
And Gleyber makes 10, so 17+13+10 = 40Ks in 3 games
SUCK IT EVERYONE ... Matt Carpenter IS THE SOUR PATCH KID!
A HIT A HIT
Well a second hit. A moral victory. I hate moral victories.
I was just an at bat too soon!
How are they letting Carp run for himself???
A third hit.
Something to build on tomorrow?
Ugliest swing ever. How fitting.
This team needs a real overhaul this winter. Blech.
We’re done, wait until next year
Kay reading Boone the riot act for pulling Cole.
 Oh, I have PLENTY of words, trust me ...
What the Bombers need is a fan revolt. The NFL Giants fans did it in the 70s, and hell if it didn't work.
Burn season tickets in front of the stadium. Boycott games.
Since Hal took over the teams have been designed to be just good enough to make money, but not good enough to go all the way.
Is that on YES?
Holy Phucking Phillies!!
D-Rob mowing down the Fathers
"They're hitting .128 in the ALCS, the second-lowest average through three games in LCS history; Judge alone is batting .156 with 14 strikeouts and three RBIs in the playoffs.
New York has not scored an earned run in 19 innings"