When the New York Yankees finished their epic comeback to take out the Cleveland Indians and advance to the ALCS, everybody in the clubhouse thought the world was rosy. However, it took only an inning of Dallas Keuchel’s dominant left arm for New York to remember that they still have a long way to go ahead of them. New York fell to the Houston Astros thanks to a dominant outing from Dallas Keuchel and a few baserunning miscues. Nestled within all of the drama from Houston’s first game against New York was the fact that Aaron Judge, the maligned star of New York’s young roster, came through in the clutch.
On a night where Dallas Keuchel was virtually untouchable Aaron Judge took the plate and ripped what should have been a run-scoring single to left field in the fifth inning. Greg Bird was rounding the corner to third and screaming toward home plate when a rifle shot from left field came to Houston’s catcher, Brian McCann. McCann took the ball and made an excellent tag — thus killing the run. Still, Manage Joe Girardi knew that he had been on the hotseat for a lack of replay calls and he made sure to put one into the booth here. Bird was out. Left fielder Marwin Gonzalez made one heck of a throw and Aaron Judge’s biggest postseason hit in his young career was quickly wiped off of the board. Still, Judge was positive about the at-bat and, really, of his entire night. Judge said, “I just want to make sure I’m hitting the mistakes. I don’t want to go after his pitch.”
Lost in the hubbub as well was the fact that Masahiro Tanaka, New York’s maligned veteran ace, has continued his excellent postseason performance. Tanaka went 6 innings strong as he kept Houston’s high scoring offense to just a pair of runs on four total hits. Tanaka has looked every bit the $150 million ace that New York signed him to be, so far this postseason. It’s unfortunate that New York couldn’t engineer enough runs to reward his performance. If New York manages to take this series to Game 7 then Tanaka will likely have another shot at earning that paycheck.
New York and Houston will square off in Game 2 of the ALCS this Saturday afternoon. Luis Severino will pitch for New York while Houston trots out veteran Justin Verlander.