The Houston Astros have not been hitting the ball the past three games of the American League Championship Series like they did in Games 1 and 2. Of course, one can say that is due to Astros hitters being in a slump, but baseball pundits call it a collaborative effort.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch calls good pitching by Yankees hurlers what it was all about. Hinch said it is very difficult in Major League Baseball when your hitters face strong pitching, especially when advanced scouting becomes even more precise during the preseason.
Hinch added that teams do not reach this point by accident. He then paused and sounded cautiously optimistic, by adding that his lineup is explosive that at any moment can produce 12, 13, 14 or more hits in one game.
As Houston sits with its collective backs against the wall facing an elimination game following its Wednesday loss of 5-0, the hopeful breakout of hitting has not occurred yet.
That however, can be attributed to a pitching staff on the Yankees that has not given up hits, runs or rallies the last three games of this series and in its final three games against the Indians in the ALDS.
New York was down 2-0 against Cleveland and won three straight to take the series behind dominant pitching. That has continued in the last three games of its ALCS series against a better, more versatile and deeper Astros lineup.
Houston, who led baseball in hits, runs, doubles, on base percentage, slugging percentage and batting average during the just completed regular season, is batting a paltry .127 with just 22 hits and nine runs through five games of the ALCS.
It is not any surprise that the pitchers for the Yankees have been competitive. Many baseball experts predicted the Astros might find trouble if the games remained closed during the late innings due to the advantage New York enjoys with its bullpen of Aroldis Chapman and friends.
What has surprised is to what extent the Indians at first and the Astros now have been shut down by the Yankees starting pitchers of CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Luis Severino.
The New York starters are the unsung heroes of the postseason for the Yankees thus far. In Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS they were overlooked, but that was due to losses, but since, they have pitched to expectation, said the Yankees manager Joe Girardi.