The New York Yankees were expected to be watching baseball at home during October on their couches. The team was picked to be a World Series contender, but not until 2019, while they were expected to show great improvement in 2018.
It turns out, the Yankees felt different and after spraying champagne throughout their locker room on Wednesday night, will start preparing for the 2017 edition of the American League Championship series against the Houston Astros.
The Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 in the fifth in deciding game of the ALDS. At the end of the game, the Progressive Field sellout crowd sat stunned after being so loud most of the nine innings, as Cleveland players disappeared into the clubhouse and Yankees players rejoiced on the field.
Indians fans had a right to be stunned after their team had beaten the Yankees in Games 1 and 2 in the series. The Yankees returned the favor at home in the Bronx by winning Games 3 and 4.
However, in Game 5, Indians fans could not believe their eyes when Corey Kluber their ace and one of the favorites to win this season’s AL Cy Young Award was battered again by Yankees’ hitters.
Thursday will be an off day for the Yankees and then on Friday they will be in Houston for Game 1 of the ALCS. The Yankees have not played in an ALCS since 2012.
The winner of the best of seven ALCS play in the World Series against the winner of the NLCS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the winner of the NLDS between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals which is tied 2-2.
New York has not appeared since 2009 in the World Series. At that time, their ace was CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter was the star. Sabathia was back on the mound Wednesday and he performed well, but Jeter is retired and another shortstop Didi Gregorius came up big for the Bronx Bombers.
Gregorius hit two homers of Cleveland’s Kluber accounting for three runs, while Sabathia pitched well for four innings prior to running into trouble during the fifth and allowing two runs on four consecutive singles.
Sabathia ended with eight strikeouts after striking out five of the first seven batters in the game and not allowing a hit until the fourth inning.
The Yankees will have a tough test against a strong Astros offense and tough pitching, but then again the Indians were favored to win the World Series and will now be at home watching, just where the Yankees were expected to be.