Down 2-0 to start their ALDS matchup against the Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees won 3 straight to book a ticket to an American League Conference Series against the Astros.
Honestly, I didn’t think the New York Yankees had it in them. After their game 2 loss to the Cleveland Indians, it all seemed like all hope was lost. It didn’t matter that they won 91 games in the regular season. The Indians won 102 and hadn’t lost 3 straight since August. By all indications, Cleveland was the hotter team. Despite this, the Yankees managed to exceed my expectations of them. From 2 down, they won all of 3 of their remaining games in their ALDS matchup against the Indians.
#StartSpreadingTheNews, WE’RE ALCS BOUND!
Final: Yankees 5, Cleveland 2. pic.twitter.com/SZNegwxdPz
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 12, 2017
Joe Girardi sets the tone
There were a lot of heroes for the New York Yankees in their comeback from a 2-0 series deficit. CC Sabathia was still a force in the mound that the Indians couldn’t figure out. When Sabathia sat down, the Indians batters still had to face guys like Aroldis Chapman and David Robertson. Shortstop Didi Gregorious also was impressive the whole series. Without his two crucial dingers in Game 5, we’d be seeing the Indians in the ALCS again this year. Other than these guys though, it was Joe Girardi who really set the tone for the Yankees comeback.
Something tells me we've heard the last of the talk about Joe Girardi not returning to the Yankees next season.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 12, 2017
After their loss in Game 2, Girardi found himself at the center of another playoffs meltdown. His decision to not challenge a hit by pitch on Lonnie Chisenhall at the bottom of the sixth. With 2 outs in the inning, that should have been the end for the Indians in that game. Instead, Cleveland scored off of a Francisco Lindor grand slam after Chisenhall’s walk-off. This cut the Yankees lead to one and they eventually lost in 13 innings. Instead of assigning blame to anyone else though, Girardi took on the blame. He talked to his team prior to Game 3 and interestingly enough, they managed to win the next two games.
An emotional Joe Girardi says his players picked up him following the tough loss in Game 2. pic.twitter.com/kPwMjNspjE
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 10, 2017
A nail-biting ALDS Game 5 victory
— MLB (@MLB) October 12, 2017
Everyone knew that the New York Yankees could still make the series interesting after their 2-0 deficit. After all, they still had two games at home. The problem was that Game 5 was going to be at Progressive Field. The fact that they lost two games on the road early in the series didn’t bode well for New York. Thankfully, the Yankees managed to get off to a fast start in Game 5. With Corey Kluber pitching, Yankees’ shortstop Didi Gregorius managed to hit two dingers to set the pace for the visitors. When he was finally replaced by Andrew Miller, Kluber had allowed the Yankees to build a 3-0 lead.
Cleveland falls short
— MLB (@MLB) October 12, 2017
The New York Yankees still weren’t out of the danger zone though. Cleveland still had a lot of fight and pride left in them. The 5th inning saw the Indians narrow down the Yankees’ lead to 1, 3-2. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize on the momentum they were making. Girardi sat CC Sabathia in favor of David Robertson for 2 2/3 innings. Robertson was untouchable with the Indians recording no hits when he was on the mound. After his stint, Robertson sat down in favor of $86 million dollar closer Aroldis Chapman. The Cuban pitcher finished off the Indians in the last two innings to give the Yankees the 5-2 win.
With the win, the New York Yankees will face the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series. Now this could be an interesting match-up considering how different both these teams are. While the Yankees boast of an insanely talented bullpen, the Astros have some of best hitters in the league. In addition to their hitters, Houston also has a respectable bullpen. When he’s at his best, Chris Devenski could wreak havoc against New York’s hitters. Newly-acquired Justin Verlander can also make life hard for the Yankees either as a starter or relief pitcher.