Yankees now one win away from trip to World Series

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Gary Sanchez
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Gary Sanchez /

The Yankees have gone from preseason bottom dwellers to lovable underdogs, followed by rampant overachievers who are now favorites to advance to the World Series.

No one wake up the New York Yankees just yet.

After a convincing 5-0 victory over the Astros and their staff ace, Dallas Kuechel in Game 5 of the ALCS, the Yanks find themselves one win away from doing the impossible… making the World Series in a season that was meant to be a rebuilding year.

Heading back to Houston to square off with Justin Verlander, who stifled them in Game 2, the Bombers will need to take the same approach they did while sweeping the AL West champs in the Bronx during the past three contests — a patient mindset and a relentless spirit.

Verlander, who is now 8-0 since coming over in a late-season trade with the Tigers, will look to keep up his incredible form — though, I find it hard to imagine him throwing another 124-pitch complete game shutout.

In a sign that the time is right to finally get to the former Cy Young winner, Aaron Judge has officially returned to his MVP-like form during the ALCS, hitting .313 with two long balls, six RBI and a 1.263 OPS.

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Gary Sanchez has also gotten off the snide, hitting a single, double, home run and driving in five runs in his last five at-bats.

Even Chase Headley has joined the party, going 5-for-8, highlighted by a huge double during Game 4’s comeback win. The black hole known as Yankees’ DH is no more.

Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankee starters have tossed 46. 1 stellar innings.

With a combined 1.75 ERA, 45:12 K:BB ratio and five of eight starters going at least six innings, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Friday night’s shooter, Luis Severino, have not only lessened the workload on the team’s fantastic bullpen but have inspired fear in the Astros’ lineup.

The ‘Stros, who by all metrics, had the most potent offense in baseball this season, have scored a combined nine runs this series.

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With the reality of every start Severino makes from here on out being the biggest of his career, the 23-year-old will likely be on a short leash. That’s the advantage of a completely rested bullpen and a manager unafraid to make a quick move. It’s safe to say everyone is available for Games 6 and 7 — if necessary.