Cleat Geeks

The Pinstripe Post; ALCS Game Six Preview

The New York Yankees have found their mojo, going up 3-2 in the best of seven ALCS match-up with the Houston Astros. Can the Yankees claim game six tonight in enemy territory and reach the World Series for the first time since 2009?

To do so tonight, they have to beat Justin Verlander who threw a gem against the Yankees in game two. Going a full 9 innings, Verlander threw 124 pitches, notching 13 K’s. The 71 fastballs he hurled reached an average speed of 96.1 mph and had the Yankees hitters swinging at off speed pitches out of the zone as a result.

One key to turning it around is plate patience. Even though Verlander seemed to be unhittable in game two, the Yankees have found success against the Astros staff recently, beating perennial Yankees killer Dallas Keuchel Wednesday night in the Bronx. They need to remain patient at the plate and not be fooled by off speed pitches. Verlander has shown that he can last, but if the Yankees drive up his pitch count and score runs early, it then gives them the advantage of facing the Astros pen who have sacrificed a group 5.79 ERA in the playoffs, and 6.17 just in the ALCS. In a must win game for the Astros, if Verlander is behind, the pen might be seen earlier. Yankees DH Chase Headley commented, “I think when you face a pitcher twice in a week, it makes it a little easier for the hitters. You Image result for luis severino 2017understand what their stuff is doing.”

Another key could be aggressiveness on the bases. Astros catchers are dead last in the league at throwing out attempted base stealers, at a mere 12%. This stat is certainly included in Joe Girardi’s famous binder.

The Yankees send Luis Severino to the mound. Severino threw 7 complete innings last against Cleveland, giving up only 4 hits and 3 earned runs while striking out 9 and walking only 1 batter. His fastball averaged 97-100 mph. That game was a total rebound from the disaster in the one game wildcard against Minnesota where Luis only lasted 1/3 inning and 14 minutes. Hopefully Severino will be able to control his emotions and throw another beaut.

This game is definitely winnable. It won’t be easy against Verlander on the road, but the Yankees can do it if they follow the keys presented and play THEIR game. Display plate patience, not swing at off speed pitches out of the zone, be aggressive on the bases and Severino repeat his performance against Cleveland. Let the champagne flow tonight, Yankees!

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