Yanks Crush Astros in ALCS Game 1: NY 7 Houston 0

The Yankees outplayed the Astros in every facet in the 1st game of the ALCS, beating them in Houston 7-0. Gleyber Torres was the hitting STAR — leading off the scoring with an RBI-double off Zack Greinke in the 4th, making it 2-0 with a home run in the 6th, and going 3 for 5 with 5 RBI’s. He is only 22 — it was the talk of the night as MLB TV and twitter trending relentlessly pushed forward this fact, and Yankee Twitter chided in.

If Gleyber was the game’s MVP, then Masahiro Tanaka was the game’s Cy Young. Or a new award — the Sandy Koufax (4-3 0.95 lifetime playoff record). Or in Yankee terms, the El Duque (9-3 2.55 lifetime playof record). He was scintillating. Magnificent. Unhittable. It was Playoff Tanaka.

The Face of Baseball

With the Yanks up 1-0 in the 5th and Alex Bregman on 1st after a leadoff walk, DH Yordan Alvarez hit a shot to right center that had double written all over it, but Aaron Judge tracked it down, made a fine catch, then turned and threw from deep right center to 1st base for the double play. Judge was trending on Twitter for the spectacular defensive play.

Giancarlo Stanton — remember him — hit a ball an inch off the dirt and launched it to the bleachers in right center for a 3-0 Yankee lead in the 6th.

Then in the 7th, with 2 out and nobody on against reliever Ryan Pressly, the Yanks launched a 2-out rally — a single by Didi Gregorius, a single by DJ LeMahieu, and a single by Aaron Judge loaded the bases for 22-yr-old Gleyber Torres, who fought off pitches to go 3-2 and then hit a bloop double into short center to make it 5-0. THAT was a 2-out rally.

Meanwhile, helped by that Judge play, Tanaka suffocated the Astros for 6 innings — 1 hit shutout ball — then with only 68 pitches thrown, was lifted with a 5-0 lead for the bullpen and Adam Ottavino for the 7th.

Pivot Point

Many on Yankee twitter — including Yankee analyst Michael Kay — objected. But there was Ottavino, who has been on a VERY SHORT leash — aka in his last outing in game 3 of the ALDS he walked the one batter he faced and was gone. Ottavino got centerfielder George Springer on a fly out but then allowed a scorching base hit to left by leftfielder Michael Brantley. Manager Aaron Boone curiously did not go for the hook; instead Ottavino got Jose Altuve to hit a double-play grounder to second — but Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres each thought the other was going to field it and it went into center for a base hit and 1st & 3rd, 1 out. The game was at its pivot point. Still Boone stayed with Ottavino and he got ANOTHER double play grounder — this one by Alex Bregman to shortstop which Didi spun to Gleyber to DJ LeMahieu for the inning-ending doubleplay.

Zack Britton cruised through the 8th, striking out 2.


Gio Urshela and his machine-gun bat was alive in this game — he just missed a double down the line on a spectacular leaping catch by Bregman his first time up, but followed with 2 hits including a homer in the 9th to make it 6-0. Hits by DJ LeMahieu and Judge followed and then an RBI groundout by guess who 22-yr-old Gleyber Torres. That made it 7-0 and the old ballgame.

Aroldis Chapman was warming for the 9th but when the Yanks moved it to 7-0, Jonathan Loaisiga pitched the 9th instead — it seems the Yanks pitch him a lot as the closer in non-close situations — games where the Yanks are far ahead or far behind. They appear to be lining him up as a closer of the future.


With the win in Houston, the Yanks essentially take the home field advantage — if they win all their home games the rest of this series, they will win the series. And since they have a better record than either National League team, they’d have the home field advantage if they make it to the World Series. Meaning if they win all their home games the rest of this year they will win the World Series. We’ll see.

Edwin Encarnacion went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts but walked his last time up. It is important that he continues to hit well, since the Yanks did not add Luke Voit, Mike Ford, nor Clint Frazier to the ALCS roster.

DJ LeMahieu was spectacular all day in the field with terrific pickup after pickup at 1st base.

The Boxscore


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