Yankees are much improved over 2017 version that lost ALCS


The 2019 Yankees are in a much better spot to beat the Astros in this year’s ALCS, compared to the club that lost in seven games back in 2017.

Though Aaron Boone’s bunch can still hit homers at will, these Yankees don’t live or die by the long ball, as five homers (four solo shots and one grand slam) accounted for only eight of the 23 total runs scored by the Bombers versus the Twins in the ALDS.

Yes, the Bombers outhomered the Astros in the regular-season 306-288, but the Yanks’ slash line of .293/.403/.525 during the division series is indicative of their new patient approach at the plate — and that was with a rusty Giancarlo Stanton and Gio Urshela in the lineup.

However, back in 2017, Joe Girardi’s club, was at the time, considered young and upstart — perhaps arriving sooner than expected. After all, they slugged it out with the Indians in five gut-wrenching ALDS contests.

Of the starting lineup that Girardi put on the field for that forgettable night in Houston, only Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez remain. Aaron Hicks batted eight back then, but we still don’t know what his involvement will be in this ALCS following his recovery from a serious elbow injury.

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That ’17 ALCS Game 7 lineup, featuring a red-hot Greg Bird, produced a 105 OPS+. As for now, if Boone goes with the same lineup from the last round, five of his players will have a higher OPS+ than the second-best Yankee slugger from ’17. Now that’s saying a lot.

The bullpen’s from each respective season are very similar in regards to stats, reputation and reliability. Therefore, it’s unfair to judge this collection after only three playoff games.

While 2017 saw the home team winning each game of the championship series, despite beginning the best-4-out-7 in Houston, the Yanks hand the ball to a confident Masahiro Tanaka, while the ‘Stros will go with a beleaguered Zack Greinke.

In the recent ALDS, Tanaka padded his impressive postseason stat line — as Masa allowed just one run on three hits while striking out seven in five innings. If you remember, the Yanks scored 10 quick runs in Game 2, which allowed Tanaka and his diving splitter to cruise to the win.

Across six playoff starts since 2015 (35 innings), Tanaka is 4-2 with a 1.54 ERA, 0.800 WHIP, 32:8 K:BB ratio, and has only allowed three long balls.

Greinke, on the other hand, is coming off the worst start of his 12 career postseason appearances.

In just 3.2 innings, Grekike was roughed up for six runs on five hits, including three homers by the Rays. In nine career postseason series (70.2 innings), Greinke is 3-5 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.146 WHIP, 64:16 K:BB ratio and has surrendered 12 dingers.

Next. Yanks hold advantage headed into ALCS. dark

While it’s true that Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are lined up behind Grenike for Games 2 and 3, the Yankees will take one at a time. Because if New York wins Game 1 of the ALCS, home-field advantage changes sides, and a significant factor of 2017 Astros’ success no longer exists.