Saturday saw two pivotal ALDS games played. The Indians took on the Astros in Houston while the Yankees and Red Sox battled in out in Boston. Both games would have a definite impact on the outcome of the series. Let’s take stock of each series after a decisive Saturday
Astros pitching carries the day
The Astros move to 2-0 in the ALDS against the Indians after a dominant outing by Gerrit Cole. After finishing the regular season 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA, Cole is 1-0 this postseason with the win on Saturday. Cole left the Indians baffled all game, striking out 12 over seven innings. His only run allowed came off a solo home run for Francisco Lindor in the third inning.
The Indians had few opportunities to score after Lindor’s solo home run. Ryan Pressly earned two outs in the eighth inning, giving way to Roberto Osuna. The embattled Astros closer answered the bell for the second day in a row, giving the Astros one and a third innings of shutout ball. The Indians managed only three hits and one run in the game.
This was just the type of performance the Astros needed to stay in the game. Their offense struggled from the start, and would finish 2-9 with runners in scoring position. But with a dominant outing from the Astros pitching staff, the offense did not need to do much to secure the win.
Marwin Gonzalez was a model of efficiency, with four hits in four at-bats. He also drove in two runs with a double off of Andrew Miller and shifted the momentum of the game in the Astros favor. Alex Bregman would add another run with a solo shot off Trevor Bauer in the seventh inning. But there were still some concerns for the Astros.
Carlos Correa has struggled in the series, with no hits in seven at-bats in the series. After hitting a home run in the final series of the regular season, many thought Correa would return to his all-star level in the playoffs. Even if Correa continues to struggle, the Astros should win the series. But the same may not be the case as they move deeper into the playoffs.
Yankees offense comes up big
The Yankees managed ten hits against the Red Sox on Friday, but their four runs weren’t enough. They only managed eight hits Saturday, but were able to plate six runs to earn a 6-2 victory at Fenway Park. David Price earned the start for the Red Sox, but saw his playoff struggles continue.
Price gave up three runs in one and two-thirds innings pitched. Aaron Judge kicked off the scoring with a solo shot off Price in the first, his second of the series. A Gary Sanchez solo home run in the second and an Andrew McCutchen RBI double would chase Price from the game.
The Red Sox bullpen would put up a valiant effort, but was no match for the Yankees offense. Kelly and Brasier pitched a combined three and a third innings of shutout ball, giving up one hit while striking out four. The same could not be said for Eduardo Rodriguez.
The starter was moved to the bullpen for the postseason, and looked shaky coming out of the pen. He gave up a three-run shot to Gary Sanchez in the seventh, pushing the Yankee lead to 6-1. Bogaerts would drive in Moreland in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-2 Yankees, but that would conclude the scoring.
The Red Sox bullpen was a weakness throughout the season, and it was no different Saturday night against the Yankees. Gary Sanchez took advantage of some pitches in the heart of the plate and drove in four runs, proving Aaron Boone’s confidence in him justified.
The Yankees now have home field advantage, with two of the remaining three games played at Yankee Stadium. If the Gary Sanchez of old is truly back, the Yankees could continue to win handily. Their bullpen is superior to Boston’s, and their offense could exceed the Red Sox if Sanchez is back to his all-star level. The Yankees are now in the driver’s seat in the series.
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