For years, the New York Yankees have gotten punked over and over and over again by the Houston Astros. Not only have they not been able to conquer them once in three postseason tries, but they also have far too many moments of regular-season heartbreak against an opponent they only see a few times a year.
Just as recently as 2022 and 2021, the Yankees were no-hit by Houston, blew a home game in the eighth inning thanks to a Jose Altuve homer, and killed any and all momentum they possessed before the All-Star break when they watched a five-run lead in the ninth turn into a walk-off loss after Astros scored six runs (Altuve's three-run bomb did the job that time, too).
And whenever the Yankees riled up the Astros? Forget about it. Might as well have mailed in the loss the night prior. Like when Aaron Judge seemingly mocked Altuve's alleged use of a buzzer. Or when Gary Sánchez took a dig at Altuve and the Astros for their cheating scandal. Or when Brian Cashman blamed the Astros for the Yankees being robbed of a World Series in 2017. It all came back to bite them.
Why, though? Ever wonder why the Astros are 12-5 in the ALCS against the Yankees since 2017 and 11-14 against every other team they face for an AL Pennant? Ever wonder why not a single Yankee has stepped up to stick it to the Astros all these years?
Ever wonder why players like Howie Kendrick, Travis d'Arnaud and Adolis García have gotten the best of Houston but no Yankee has? In fact, García's ALCS performance might've exposed the Yankees for how soft they've been against the Astros.
Adolis García has made the Yankees' struggles against the Astros look more pathetic
García, back in Game 5, clobbered a clutch three-run homer in the sixth inning to give Texas a 4-2 lead, which they kept heading into the ninth. But before that, García was seemingly intentionally hit by Astros reliever Bryan Abreu in his next at-bat, which caused a benches-clearing incident.
What transpired is something the Yankees would never be able to recover from. Altuve stole the game with a three-run homer of his own in the top of the ninth and the Astros took a 3-2 series lead with the festivities going back to Houston, who now had the best possible home-field advantage.
After the game, Astros catcher Martin Maldonado called out García, claiming his response to getting hit by the pitch woke the Astros up, somehow insinuating he had no right to be angry about being plunked and that the Astros were, once again, painted as victims.
García proceeded to go 5-for-10 with four runs scored, three home runs and nine RBI over the next two games. The Rangers scored 20 runs, took Games 6 and 7 in Houston, and are now World Series bound. The Cuban slugger was named ALCS MVP thanks to his .357 average and 1.293 OPS in the seven-game series. He hit five homers and drove in 15 runs while striking out just six times.
No Yankee has come close to a fraction of that production in what feels like countless opportunities against the Astros to set the record straight, and it's largely been the same collection of players for the last seven years. García needed just his third full MLB season to help slay the dynastic Astros, epitomizing resilience, confidence and conviction.
The Yankees? They whiffed on 24 straight curveballs. Then immediately got punched in the mouth when they fought back in 2019 during ALCS Game 6 -- the Aroldis Chapman special. Then they were swept in 2022 on their own turf.
Get one guy who can make a tangible difference with the fight in this team. Please.