Takeaways from Yankees-Astros 2022 duels ahead of ALCS
The Yankees and Astros played a disjointed seven games this season, with Houston going 5-2. The teams originally were slated to play three games in Houston in the first week of the season, but those games were rescheduled due to the lockout. They were played as a single game on June 30 (a 2-1 Astros win) and a doubleheader on July 21 (which the Astros swept). As scheduled, the Astros came to The Bronx for four games in June; the teams split the series, but one of Houston’s wins was a combined no-hitter. Here are some of the takeaways from the season series:
– Among teams the Yankees faced in multiple series this regular season, they lost the season series only to the Astros and Mariners.
– The Yankees were historically terrible against Astros pitching, which no-hit the Yankees in one game — and kept on going. The Yankees suffered through an 0-for-52 stretch in The Bronx in which they went 16 straight innings without a hit.
– In all, the Yankees batted .151 against the Astros this season. The only Yankees to hit better than .200 against Houston pitching were now-injured DJ LeMahieu (.300), now-benched Isiah Kiner-Falefa (.222) and Giancarlo Stanton (.208).
– The Astros’ aces against the Yankees:
Cristian Javier: 12 innings, one run with 16 strikeouts and two hits allowed; Justin Verlander: seven innings, one run, four hits; Framber Valdez: six innings, three runs, seven strikeouts.
– The Yankees’ two wins were comebacks powered by Aaron Judge. On June 23, Aaron Hicks drilled a game-tying, three-run homer in the ninth inning before Judge’s walk-off single secured the win. Three days later, Judge crushed a 10th-inning, walk-off dinger. Those last-inning leads were the only two the Yankees held. In 64 innings this season versus the Astros, the Yankees finished two with a lead.
– Houston’s stars showed up. Alex Bregman posted a 1.191 OPS with two home runs and a .375 average in seven games against the Yankees. Yordan Alvarez hit .313 and drilled two homers with six RBIs in six games. Jose Altuve hit just .231, but two of his six hits were homers.
Yankees vs. Astros ALCS history
Brian Cashman can tell you the bad blood still exists between the Yankees and Astros, but the teams that faced off in the 2017 ALCS — since tainted by Houston’s sign-stealing scheme — were different from the clubs that faced off in the 2019 ALCS, which are different from the clubs that now will face off.
– Only Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Luis Severino remain in the Yankees’ dugout from the 2017 series, while Marwin Gonzalez has changed sides. In the 2017 ALCS, Greg Bird was a key middle-of-the-order bat and posted a .964 OPS. In the 2019 ALCS, DJ LeMahieu was the Yankees’ best hitter, and Gio Urshela (two homers in six games) had a big series. In both series, Masahiro Tanaka led the Yankees in innings pitched.
– The lone Astros who played in the ‘17 ALCS and have stuck with the team are Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. Evan Gattis, who retired after the 2018 season, had the biggest hit of the series with a Game 7 home run off CC Sabathia. In the 2019 Championship Series, Gerrit Cole shut out the Yankees over seven innings, and the Astros got two starts out of Zack Greinke.
– The ’17 Yankees were managed by Joe Girardi, who was fired after the season. Aaron Boone led the 2019 Yankees, which lost in six games to the Astros in the ALCS. Cashman has been in charge throughout.
– AJ Hinch managed Houston past the Yankees in both seasons then was fired when the league released its sign-stealing investigation. Dusty Baker is now manager. Jeff Luhnow was general manager for both teams then was fired with Hinch. James Click is now GM.