Houston Astros Advance to World Series: 2017 ALCS Recap

The Houston Astros have advanced to the World Series after defeating the New York Yankees in a classic seven-game series. The 2017 version of the ALCS certainly did not disappoint and turned into an instant classic with numerous moments that will not be shortly forgotten. From stellar pitching matchups to timely hitting and further emergence of stars, this series had every element that a baseball fan would dream of.

Houston Astros Advance to World Series: 2017 ALCS Recap

Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka vs Dallas Keuchel

The Astros took game one of the series with a 2-1 victory, thanks to a dominant pitching performance from Keuchel. He had four strikeouts through the first two innings and did not give up a hit until a single by Brett Gardner with two outs in the third. He finished with seven innings of four hit baseball, with one walk and ten K’s. Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez both executed stellar plays in the field, with a game changing outfield assists from Gonzalez, throwing out Greg Bird to end the fifth. Tanaka pitched a respectable six innings for New York, but the fourth inning was the deciding inning. Altuve recorded the Astros first hit, and quickly stole second. RBI singles from Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel was all Houston needed to secure a game one victory.

Game 2: Luis Severino vs Justin Verlander

Verlander followed Keuchel’s ten K performance with a nine inning, thirteen strikeout, gem of his own. He showed he was locked in straight from the first inning, throwing twelve of fourteen pitches for strikes. Over the game he threw a total of 124 pitches, 93 for strikes. The key moments for this game came to end the top of the third, with Brett Gardner being thrown out at third for the final out. The other, a solo home run by Correa in the fourth. Severino left after the fourth, and the bullpen duo of Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson pitched well for the Yankees, going four strong innings with one hit, and three combined strikeouts. Then came the bottom of the ninth, where Correa played hero with a walk off double, giving Houston a 2-0 series lead.

Game 3: Charlie Morton vs CC Sabathia

Game three brought a change of the tides, where Sabathia turned back the clock, and Aaron Judge returned to being a productive force. Sabathia threw six innings of three hit ball, with four walks and striking out five. The Bronx Bombers arrived for game three, with Judge and Todd Frazier both connecting for three run home runs. Morton struggled for Houston giving up seven earned runs over 3.2 innings, and the offence flustered with only four singles.

Game 4: Lance McCullers Jr. vs Sonny Gray

Game four was the first time a bullpen had its weakness exposed, with the Yankees scoring five runs on six hits over two innings against the Astros bullpen. Gray gave up only one hit, a double to Carlos Beltran, and his offence took over with a solo home run from Judge in the seventh, which ultimately chased McCullers from the game, and saw the wheels fall off for Houston. A three run double from Gurriel gave the Astros a 3-0 lead in the sixth, but New York rallied with four runs in the eighth en route to a 6-4, series tying, win.

Game 5: Keuchel vs Tanaka

Tanaka pitched well in game one, but game five saw him take it to a new level, leading the Yankees to a 3-2 series lead. He three seven scoreless innings of three hit baseball with eight strikeouts. New York combined for ten hits in the game and chased Keuchel before he could get through the fourth inning. Houston went 0-for-8 with RISP and failed to score a run for the first time since August 17th.

Game 6: Severino vs Verlander

Severino got off to a decent start in Game 6, but his command was not as sharp as in the past. He surrendered four walks and was chased in the fifth inning. The Astros put up three runs that inning off of a Brian McCann double and two-run single by Altuve. It would turn out to be all the runs that Houston would  need in the game. Verlander shutout the Yankees over seven strong innings with eight strikeouts. The Astros would add four more runs in the eighth inning, but the only run New York would muster was a solo home run by Judge

Game 7: Sabathia vs Morton

Morton bounced back from his earlier ALCS struggles with an incredible performance for Houston. He put up five shutout frames with five strikeouts to stifle the Yankees. Meanwhile, Sabathia struggled with command similar to the issues experienced by Severino. He was able to hold the Astros to a single earned run but issued three walks and could not make it through four innings. Offensively, the Astros were led by solo home runs from Evan Gattis and Altuve and another big double from McCann. The  Astros rode a 4-0 record at home to capture the ALCS and will not move on to their first World Series appearance since 2005.

ALCS MVP

Starting pitcher Justin Verland was named ALCS MVP for his work against the Yankees. In two starts, Verlander went 2-0 with 16 innings pitched, 21 strikeouts, two walks, and a lone run given up. His masterful start in Game 6 helped Houston avoid elimination.

Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers is set for Tuesday night at 8 pm EST on FOX.

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