I am writing this post while watching the pregame show for game 7 of the ALCS and excited as anyone. Game 7s are great in every sport. It is the ultimate one game take all, and for baseball it means throwing all of the weapons possible to win. On the mound for the Astros is Charlie Morton, while 37 year old CC Sabathia pitches for the Yankees. While both of these teams are playing for the same stakes, it feels as though more pressure is on the Astros. The rebuild is complete in this 100+ win season. They traded for Verlander who delivered on the reason he was brought to Houston, and Altuve is a favorite to win AL MVP. The Yankees did a rapid rebuild and in the middle of the season, they still felt like a team that is a year away. Sports Illustrated predicted in 2014 that the Astros would win the World Series this season and they just may. They first need to win this game 7 which means they need to execute what they were doing back in mid summer when they were arguably the best team in baseball.
How are the Astros going to attack CC tonight? He is throwing his slider 10% more in the playoffs than he was in the regular season. Batters are hitting just .103 against his slider while the Astros are 0-9. He will go to his slider if he gets ahead in the counts which he has been doing well this postseason. If the Astros can get to CC’s fastball, the bullpen should have to come in early.
Yankees will likely bring in Kahnle later in the game. Astros are hitting just 2-15 against him. He has been very consistent in attacking left handed hitters in the inside part of the zone. He will continue to use his two pitch mix of his fastball and changeup. Look for him to use his changeup when he gets ahead in the count.
Robertson will also be brought out at some point. Astros have had success against Robertson this postseason hitting .614 against him. They have taken advantage of some mistakes where he left some knuckle curves up in the zone. They will have to do the same today if they want to win.
If it comes down to having to face Chapman, they need to be patient. He is not throwing in the zone very much. In a situation tonight the Astros need to have tough at bats and force Chapman to have to throw a strike.
This is a critical game for both teams obviously. The season will be over for one of them. The Astros need to stay composed and understand the pitchers they are facing. They will need to get to CC early, and continue to attack the bullpen. The Astros will need at least 5 runs to win this game. They need to be the offense they were in the middle of summer.