Yankees-Astros first-round playoff matchup is exactly what 2020 needs
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees and Astros really might meet in the first damn round of the 2020 MLB Postseason.
Yankees fans are used to meeting up with the Houston Astros in the postseason by now.
Two of the past three years, the teams have collided in the ALCS, and promising Yanks campaigns have come to an end as the ridiculous train horn blared in left-center. 24 straight curveballs. Altuve’s buzzer. We know it all, and we’ll keep yearning to avenge it until our wish is fulfilled.
But this year’s Astros are a little bit different.
George Springer and Jose Altuve aren’t hitting at all, with the diminutive second baseman asking to be demoted in the lineup until he can get his mind right (oopsie!). Justin Verlander is on the shelf with a may-or-may-not-be season-ending injury. Roberto Osuna is badly hurt, and the bullpen is made up of children whose parents couldn’t watch them until Texas schools reopened. Gerrit Cole is a Yankee. As of now, this is a .500-ish baseball team.
The best thing, of course, would be the moribund Astros missing the playoffs entirely.
But, if they have to make it by virtue of the entire American League making the playoff field, then bring them to us, and bring them to us as quickly as possible.
The Yankees, once firmly in the running for the league’s top seed and battling with Oakland and Tampa Bay for the honors in the early part of the season, are now sinking closer to the middle of the pack. The Astros? They’re firmly in Wild Card territory, holding off the Texas Rangers for second place in their division (thanks for nothing, Angels, who should be much better than they are).
The Astros’ slight ascension, mixed with New York’s unfortunate dip, makes a 4-5 matchup a genuine possibility, the very second the postseason starts.
It’s far too early to pick playoff opponents, but it’s never too early to be praying for the Astros to be at the very bottom of the proverbial barrel.
Yes, it’s probably too much to ask for to doom Houston out of the field entirely, but this would be a pretty sweet bow on a bizarre 2020. The Yanks would only have to win two to send Houston fishing. Gerrit Cole ideally on the bump. Oh, it’d be partial revenge at best, but it’d be DAMN good.
Anyone but the Tigers, though. No matter how bad Detroit’s record is, they paste the Yankees in the playoffs. I’d rather drink liquid soap.