Peña power: Houston Astros take Game 1 of ALCS over Yankees, 4-2
After all the trash talk from both fan bases, media, and onlookers. After the Yankees had a rain delayed game five. After they had the game pushed back. After the Guardians had their hotel rooms taken away and had to split up. After the Yankees pulled out a win or go home victory. After less than 24 hours from them playing a game and having to travel to Houston. The Yankees played the Astros in game one of the ALCS. Game one was a doozy!
The Astros, behind a masterful pitching performance from Justin Verlander, topped the Yankees 4-2. In a game where every run except one was scored off home runs. In a game in which Verlander threw 103 pitches in six innings when his counterpart (Jameson Taillon) threw 67 pitches in four and a third innings. In a game in which Verlander had 11 of the 17 Yankee strikeouts, while the Astros only struck out twice. Pitching was at a premium. Verlander threw 53 pitches in the first couple innings. Once he settled down, the Yankees didn't stand a chance.
The scoring started with Yankees' center fielder Harrison Bader hitting a 411-foot solo home run in the top of the second inning off Verlander. Astros' catcher Martin Maldonado doubled to right to score Chas McCormick in the bottom of the second to answer and tie the game at 1. In the bottom of the sixth, Yuli Gurriel and McCormick both hit solo homers to make it 3-1 Astros. The very next inning, Astros' rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña hit a solo shot to make it 4-1 Astros. In the top of the eighth inning, Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot to make it 4-2 Astros and that's where the scoring stopped.
Having homefield advantage in the ALCS courtesy of the best record in the AL this year, the Astros made the most of it by winning game one. They were allowed to rest after taking care of business by sweeping the Mariners. This allowed them to set up their pitching staff. The Yankees weren't as fortunate. They couldn't set up their staff because they couldn't beat Cleveland in timely fashion. Couple that with them spending up pitching in a five-game series and choosing to reschedule game five, they're at a disadvantage.
The Astros are in clear control over the Yankees this series. They have the better pitching staff, starters and bullpen. Their lineup is more evenly distributed when it comes to the offenses. If it isn't Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees aren't getting it done. This looks like it'll be a five-game series. Six if the Yankees get lucky. One down, three to go. "Job's not finished."-Kobe Bean Bryant.
Up next: The Astros play Game 2 against the Yankees on Thursday with Framber Valdez on the mound.