AL Wildcard Recap

 

Last night the Astros put the final nail in the yankees dynasty coffin already that’s been buried for years.  Hey Brian Cashman, take it from me (As a Phillies fan), you’re in rebuilding mode.  Bite the bullet and have a few losing seasons so you can be back on top in a few years.  As much fun as it was to watch the Yankees go quietly into the october night, the only noise made all night being the chorus of boos starting in the 7th inning, the MLB needs the Yankees as a powerhouse villainous franchise.

Cashman could ship McCann, Ellsbury,Gardener, and more to build a farm system that already is welcome to many big name prospects.  We’ll see if Cashman has the stomach to deal with pissed off yankees fans during a rebuild, or will go the Ruben Amaro route and buy older and older talent further depleting the farm.

As for the winners.  The Astros showed me a lot last night.  It’s one thing to say the team of young players is loose and not intimidated of the bright lights of Yankees Stadium, and it’s a totally different thing to do it.  The Astros were not intimidated in the least bit.  First pitch swinging, home run pimping, (hell even pimping catching a fly ball) this Houston club knew they were better from the first pitch.  Tanaka wasn’t perfect but he still flashed great stuff, and the Astros were up to the challenge, chasing the Yankees “Ace” from the game after just 5 innings of work.

Most of the damage was done on the first pitch as Tanaka missed two key pitch locations that resulted in mammoth homeruns for both Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez.  Tanaka, despite giving up the runs, pitched well enough to give his team a chance to win.  Dallas Kuechel proved on three days rest why he is the AL Cy Young and a 20 game winner.  Kuechel kept the yankees off balance for 5 innings before getting into a jam in the 6th before inducing Alex Rodriguez to pop up to center fielder Carlos Gomez.  The Astros pen took over from there and didn’t allow any hope to creep up in Yankee fans who began booing their own team in the 7th when the lead was only 3 runs.

You do have to sympathise with the Yankees stadium crowd, as most of them come from very far away and no connection whatsoever to New York.  It must suck to make a trip to New York to root for a team that you started liking ten years ago because you didn’t have the fortitude to root for your home town team.  So yankee fans here’s what went wrong.

There were a lot of key moments in the game; Colby Rasmus’ homerun to get the scoring going, Carlos Gomez EMPHATIC homerun, Kuechel getting out of a big 6th inning threat, the Altuve insurance RBI, but this game was won far before that.

Joe Girardi decided not to start Jacoby Ellsbury against a dominant lefty in Dallas Kuechel, in favor of both Bret Gardener and Chris Young due to their “overall body of work against lefties this year”.  The numbers make sense, Ellsbury has had an awful second half, Chris Young is a righty with good numbers off of Kuechel, and Gardener has slightly better numbers off of lefties this year.  Despite the numbers, this was a horrible decision, a scared decision, a decision someone tinkering with their fantasy lineup does when they’re afraid to lose their first playoff game.

Hey Joe, you’re the manager of the freaking Yankees!  You’ve won a world series, stick with your guns!  Show some faith in your players.  Jacoby Ellsbury is a life time .300 hitter in the postseason going 40-133 with 26 runs and 17 RBI’s to go along with 11 steals. He’s won the world series twice, and you sat him for…wait for it…Chris Young.  You lost the game before you even started it.

For those of you who read my preview of this series will know that I predicted a 7-1 victory for the Yanks.  Sports betting 101; Bet on the teams that you hate so that if you win you were right, and if you lose you’re happy that the team you hate lost.  Win-Win.  

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