After upsetting the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees are taking on the series favorite Houston Astros. While the Astros are the series favorites, nothing is more crucial in baseball than finding that ever so coveted hot streak at the right time. The Yankees arguably have found that hot streak after taking down most analyst’s favorite to win the World Series, the Indians. However, the Astros seem to be back to their mid-season form of scoring runs and having a knack for getting on base. The Astros have 5 hitters with at least 15 plate appearances batting over .375, proving this lineup is going to be hard to shut down.
The season series was won by the Houston Astros, 5-2 outscoring the Yanks 43-41 in those 7 games, with four games being played in New York and three in Houston. Regardless these two lineups are known for their power hitting as the Yankees led the MLB with 241 home runs while the Astros came in 2nd place with 238 home runs. The only glaring difference between the two lineups is the Astros ability to put the ball in play. The Astros struck out the least amount of any team in baseball this season while the Yanks struck out the 12th most, led by their streaky star, Aaron Judge (208 SOs). The pitchers of this series will have their work cut out for them painting corners and avoiding the long ball especially with the homer-friendly confines of both stadiums.
A key aspect of this series will be the Yankees pitching staff vs the Astros batters. The Houston Astros. Without getting too analytical and throwing sabermetric stats at you, the Houston Astros have one of the strongest lineups in the history of baseball. They are often compared to the “Bronx Bombers” crews from the 20’s and 30’s. The Astros had the most hits, most runs, highest team batting average, slugging%, on-base%, and Runs batted in for the entire MLB. However, the Yankees pitching staff is nothing to write off for as a team they ranked top 5 in almost every pitching category.
This series is going to come down to whether or not the Yankees can shut down the Astros hitters and whether or not Aaron Judge can prove he is worthy of being in the MVP running. Judge has had a very underwhelming playoff thus far and if the Yankees have any hope of taking this series they will need him to step up and set the example. I predict the Astros to take this series 4-2 and go on to their second World Series berth in team history.