ALCS 7: NYY vs. HOU — Once again, home field advantage prevails, shut out from the World Series

To come so close and yet be denied entry to the promised land… the Yankees are the Moses of this postseason this year. Though by all accounts, to get so far in what was supposed to be a “rebuilding year”, is rather impressive. Imagine if they were an “established team”.

CC Sabathia got the final start of the season, throwing 65 pitches into the 4th inning, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and a run, yet not striking out a single batter. Though to be fair, neither team was completely in love with the strike zone tonight. Sabathia’s lone allowed run was in his final inning, the 4th — a lead-off solo home run. After giving up a walk, a ground out, and a single, the Yankees weren’t taking any chances and opted for going to the bullpen for Tommy Kahnle. A single pitch later, Kahnle hit into a rather routine double play.

Kahnle, of course, came out for the 5th but got into trouble himself, giving up a 1-out solo home run followed by 2 singles that promptly scored on a 2-out double. That was it for Kahnle and onto Adam Warren, who breezed his way through the next 4 outs in just 17 pitches. David Robertson held the Astros from adding to their lead for the next 2 innings, adding 3 strikeouts to the minimal total for the pitching staff tonight.

Meanwhile, the Yankees only got 3 total hits and 2 walks off the Astros’ starter and his lone reliever who split the game pretty much in half between the two of them. The Yankees had few opportunities all night, but were stymied at every turn, including when Bird tried to come home in the 5th and was instead tagged out. That would be the closest the Yankees came to doing much of anything tonight, despite some really great defense, like Judge’s masterful catch right against the right field wall to bring a home run ball back over the wall.

Final score: 4-0 Astros, Astros win series 4-3

Yes, that means the Astros will now face the Dodgers in the World Series starting on Tuesday. The series will be 2 games in LA, then a travel day, then potentially 3 games in Houston, a travel day, and then potentially 2 final games back in LA. The first team to 4 wins will be the World Champions this year.

Time for the postseason prediction update. My predictions this time around were a mixed bag (bold is the actual result):

  • ALCS — Yankees over Astros in 6 games (Astros over Yankees in 7 games)
  • NLDS — Dodgers over Cubs in 4 games (Dodgers over Cubs in 5 games)

Honestly, that home field advantage certainly came into play this postseason. One statistic I read was that tonight’s game made the final record 23-8 for home team wins this postseason. In a conversation with a friend, we commented that maybe home field advantage should go to the underdog or lesser team to even things out. I mean, if you look at the Dodgers as an example, they were able to be spectacular in Wrigley regardless of the rabid Cubs’ fan base there (see their NLCS Game 5). So, if you’re really a good team, you should be able to win anywhere. It would be the great equalizer to rid the best team of the advantage. If anything, it would certainly make things more interesting.

Okay, looking toward the final series this 2017 season, here’s my World Series predictions:

  • Dodgers over Astros in 5 games

Repeated Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean this is who I’m “rooting for”, just which team I think will win. (Though I think I am rooting for the Dodgers in this case, if only for the extreme Dodger loyalty of a good friend.)

And to be perfectly honest, I’ve said for most of the season (at least since the All-Star Break) that the Astros were the AL team to beat and the Dodgers were going to be unstoppable. In a way, I’ve been preparing for this match-up of the Series, but I can’t deny I’m rather disappointed that the Yankees aren’t the ones to face the Dodgers in the Series. On the other hand, I’m glad I don’t have to make that prediction (Yankees vs. Dodgers) because I cannot honestly say that I think the Yankees would win the series over the Dodgers. So my disclaimer would feature many more caveats to justify my prediction.

Maybe it’s a good thing that the Yankees aren’t in the World Series this year. Maybe waiting for a year where they’re not “rebuilding” is a great idea, so that home field advantage is in their advantage and they’re the “unstoppable” ones.

There’s always next year.

Go Yankees!

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