The Los Angeles Dodgers have been “the dragon up the freeway” the San Diego Padres had to slay so as to advance their World Series quest, the membership’s proprietor Peter Seidler mentioned this summer season.
On the different facet of the nation, the New York Yankees have their very own dragon: the Houston Astros, which can be blockading their trail again to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
“Exactly,” Yankees supervisor Aaron Boone mentioned in an interview Tuesday night time at Yankee Stadium after New York beat Cleveland 5-1, getting rid of the Guardians in a hard-fought five-game American League Division Series. “We talked about that when they beat us there in a doubleheader after the All-Star break. We’d have to come back to Houston. And here we are. We’ll take our shot.”
The best-of-seven American League Championship Series starts at Minute Maid Park Wednesday night time. Talk a few fast turnaround.
The groups are assembly for the 3rd time in the ALCS since 2017, with the Astros profitable the first two collection. For the Yankees, there used to be additionally the subject of a wild-card loss to the Astros in 2015 and 5 losses this season in the seven video games between the two groups, together with that July 21 doubleheader and a three-pitcher no hitter at Yankee Stadium June 25.
Two years in the past, the Astros have been fined and sanctioned for stealing indicators and banging the trash cans loudly, tainting each victories over the Yankees and their 2017 World Series win towards the Dodgers. New York nonetheless feels cheated as the workforce struggles to win its twenty eighth World Series name.
“The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off,” Yanks basic supervisor Brian Cashman instructed The Athletic in March.
Not this season.
Unlike in the National League, the place the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres eradicated 3 100-win groups to ascend to the NLCS, the Astros and Yankees are the supreme groups in Major League Baseball nonetheless status.
Houston led the AL with 106 wins and had the 9th easiest payroll in MLB of $192.9 million. New York received 99 with the No. 3 payroll of $264.9 million.
Boone is aware of the Astros, beneath the tutelage of veteran supervisor Dusty Baker, are a power. They are in the ALCS for a file 6th time in a row, with the previous 3 beneath Baker. And closing season—after the fines, suspensions, firings and scandal—they have been again in the World Series, handiest to lose to the Atlanta Braves.
“They’ve shown themselves to be the best team in the AL this year,” Boone mentioned. “They have homefield advantage. They have the No. 1 seed. They took care of the Seattle Mariners in three games in their ALDS, but a very competitive three games. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Demons can undoubtedly be purged. The Boston Red Sox, for instance, overcame the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, reversing a 0-3 ALCS deficit to defeat the Yanks after which win their first World Series since 1918.
But for now the Yankees were Houston’s child. Baseball’s newest meme used to be born when Cleveland’s Josh Naylor rocked his fingers trotting round the bases after homering off Gerrit Cole in Sunday’s Game 4 New York win. But existence comes at you rapid, and the playoffs are for grownups.
Fans at Yankee Stadium serenaded Naylor and the Guardians Tuesday with chants of “who’s your daddy?” as the Yanks wrapped up their Game 5 victory. The chant reached its crescendo in the 9th inning as Cleveland expired.
It used to be a tricky collection replete with ups and downs and two rainouts at the stadium, taking 8 days to whole. Game 5 opened with Giancarlo Stanton’s three-run homer, giving the Yanks what became out to be an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Game over. Series over.
“October baseball you have to deal with whatever comes your way,” Cashman mentioned in an interview Monday night time after Game 5 used to be postponed by way of rain. “Whatever comes our way we have to find our way through it the best we can. The object is to keep playing.”
The Astros were idle since sweeping the Mariners in their very own ALDS this previous Saturday with an 18-inning, 1-0 win at Seattle. Seven ALCS video games are slated to be performed in the subsequent 8 days—if it doesn’t rain.
The retractable roof in Houston provides some sure bet with regards to the climate the subsequent two days, however then it’s again to the Bronx the place the skies are large open and the temperature on Tuesday used to be downright cold.
The expectancies are all the time top on the Yanks to win the World Series, regardless of the climate or opponent.
“That’s all part of being a major league athlete and playing in New York,” Boone mentioned. “There’s pressures that come with it to varying degrees. You have to be able to handle those things and deal with those thing. Sometimes it can get in your way a little bit.”
He must know. As a participant, Boone’s walk-off eleventh inning Game 7 homer at the outdated stadium beat Boston in the 2003 ALCS.
The very subsequent 12 months the Red Sox slayed the Yankees dragon. The subsequent 8 days will decide if the Houston dragon nonetheless stays.