For Yankees and Astros it was a tale of two cities

For Yankees and Astros it was a tale of two cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” describes one of the most quoted literary lines ever written. Such was the case in the 2019 ALCS.

Fans of Major League Baseball had the matchup they anticipated. Both the Yankees and Astros dominated the American League from the first pitch this season. MLB executives dreamed of another exciting seven-game classic as they had witnessed in 2017.

Both teams did not display the offensive talent that saw each of them finish in the top three in runs and OPS during the regular season. Houston hit just .179 for the series, while the Yankees had four regulars bat under .150. After combining to average 11.5 runs a game during the regular season, they scored 7.1 in the ALCS.

However, despite all the offensive futility in the series, both teams treated fans to a ninth-inning they will never forget.

YANKEES POSTSEASON FAILURES, HOUSTON SUCCESSES

In one corner stood the Yankees, who fought off Justin Verlander in keeping their season alive in Game 5. Getting back to the Fall Classic is a rite of passage for the Bronx Bombers. At least it was. New York risked failing to appear at least once in a decade if they could not rally to win the series. The last time the Yankees went a full decade without reaching the World Series was 100 years ago during the decade that saw the United States fight in World War I (1910-1919).

New York Yankees, World Series Appearances By Decade

2010-19 0 2000-09 4 1990-99 3 1980-89 1 1970-79 3 1960-69 5 1950-59 8 1940-49 5 1930-39 5 1920-29 6 1910-19 0

Aside from that incredible streak of excellence being at risk, the intimidating influence the Yankees once had on the postseason seems to have expired. Entering Game 6, the Yankees experienced walking off the field losers nine previous times this millennium. Luis Gonzalez floats a ball over Derek Jeter’s head in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series started a trend that no one saw coming.

Mixed in those memories was the biggest postseason collapse in MLB history. Needing just three outs to get to the 2004 World Series and complete a sweep of the hated Red Sox, the unimaginable occurred. Boston tied the game off Mariano Rivera then extended their season with a walk-off HR by David Ortiz. Three days later, they watched Boston celebrate on their home field, becoming the only team in MLB history to blow a 3-0 series lead.

Most Postseason Walk-off Losses, MLB History

Yankees 18 >> Dodgers 12 Red Sox 12 Braves 11 >> Four have ended series (most in MLB history)

In the other corner stood the Astros. The same Astros who previously delivered walk-off postseason wins twice against them (Game 2 of 2019 and 2017 ALCS).

However, facing a two-run deficit entering the ninth-inning, DJ LeMahieu saved their season with an inspiring AB that resulted in a game-tying HR. Undoubtedly, the swagger was back as they took the field for the bottom of the ninth. Surely, momentum was on their side.

The Astros suffered a previous meltdown in the 2005 NLCS (yes, they were in the National League then). One-out away from reaching their first World Series, Brad Lidge surrendered a 3-run HR to Albert Pujols to push the series back to St. Louis. However, the Astros finished the Cardinals off in Game 6 to pick up their closer.

Jose Altuve experienced scoring a walk-off run in the 2017 ALCS. As he approached the plate, he knew he could pick up his closer. He stared out at Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. In his previous 31 postseason appearances, Chapman only allowed one HR. Despite allowing one of the most significant HR in World Series history, allowing Cleveland to tie Game 7, he had allowed just one run in his 13 postseason appearances since.

Altuve delivered the Astros 10th walk-off win in postseason history. No other MLB team except the Yankees 23 has reached double-digits. On the flip side, it was the Yankees 18th postseason walk-off loss.

For Altuve and the Astros, it was the best of times, while for Chapman and the Yankees, it was the worst of times.

Yankees Look To Continue Domination of Twins

Yankees Look To Continue Domination of Twins

As the MLB Wild Card games take place this week, it gives us a chance to look back at a historic regular season.

For the first time in MLB history, four teams finished the regular season with 100 or more victories. Two of those teams will face each other in the American League Division Series as the Twins travel to Yankee Stadium on Friday.

The Twins and Yankees mark the second time in MLB postseason history that a pair of 100-win teams faced each other in the LDS. Last season, the 1 Yankees (100 wins) lost to the Red Sox (108 wins).

YANKEES OWN MINNESOTA

After losing Game 1 of the 2003 ALDS, the Yankees have won 13 of their last 14 postseason games against the Twins. Overall, their 13-2 record against the Twins is the second-best postseason winning percentage for one team over another. Only the Cardinals, who are 9-1 against the Padres in the postseason, have a higher win percentage against another team.

The Yankees’ dominance against the Twins doesn’t just apply to the postseason. Going back to the 2002 season, the Twins are 37-100 (.270 win percentage) against the Yankees (postseason included) That is the lowest win percentage for one team against any opponent in the same league over that span.

The Yankees defeated the Twins in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010, sweeping the Twins in 2009 and 2010. In each of their first three postseason meetings, the Yankees owned the home-field advantage in defeating the Twins. In 2010, the Twins finished with the best record in the American League before the Yankees swept them out of the postseason.

The Twins record at Yankees Stadium is bad enough (lost 15 of last 17 including 2017 Wild Card), but even going back to Minnesota isn’t much of a consolation (Twins have lost 10 straight postseason games at home and are 0-7 against the Yankees).

TWINS COULD SET POSTSEASON FUTILITY RECORD

Minnesota has not won a postseason game since Game 2 of the 2004 ALDS, a span of 13 games. The Twins losing spell matches the Boston Red Sox for the longest in postseason history. Boston’s streak stretched from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series to Game 1 of the 1998 ALDS.

YANKEES POSTSEASON REGULARS IN WILD CARD ERA

The Yankees’ achievements in the Wild Card era are incredible. They will be making their 21st postseason appearance in the 25 years since MLB introduced the Wild Card. Their five World Championships are the most in this era.

Most Postseason Appearances; Wild Card Era

TeamsApp.World Series
Titles
*Yankees 21 5
*Braves16 1
*Cardinals14 2
*2019 Postseason teams

In their previous 20 postseason appearances, the Yankees combined to win 23 series. That is seven more than the next closest team, the Cardinals, who have won 16. The Red Sox (15) and the Giants (11) are the only other teams to win more than 10.