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Astros on the cusp of World Series after extending ALCS lead against Yankees

October 18 2019 7:04 AM

The Houston Astros are on the verge of the MLB World Series after taking a 3-1 lead over the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Houston moved on the brink of a showdown with the Washington Nationals thanks to Thursday's 8-3 victory against the Yankees in Game 4.

Justin Verlander will attempt to close out the ALCS in Game 5 on Friday, while the Yankees will counter with James Paxton as New York look to stay alive.

 

Three takeaways from the Astros' ALCS Game 4 win over the Yankees

Yankees oddly lucky

While this was the most runs the Yankees have allowed in a game this postseason, New York were lucky they did not give up more. And yes, it sounds odd, but when you find out the Astros had 13 balls hit 95.0 mph or higher through seven innings and only six of them were hits, that is pretty darn lucky.

In fact, every single one of Houston's batters had a ball hit at 95.0 mph or better. The Astros may not have scored that many runs in the game, but it does look like they are starting to get their timing down after struggling to do so for much of the playoffs.

Learn Harris' name

Leading up to the postseason, seemingly every pundit who talks about baseball wanted to point out the Astros' vulnerability in the bullpen. They mentioned Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly and Josh James, saying that was all Houston had.

No one ever seemed to mention Will Harris. And odds are, if you talk to an everyday fan, they will not know who he is either. Well, if those everyday fans were Yankees apologists, they know who he is now.

Harris tossed yet another scoreless inning in Game 4 and now has thrown 4.3 innings in the postseason while striking out seven and giving up zero runs. This comes after a year in which Harris posted a 1.50 ERA in 68 games. And these were short appearances either. He threw 60 innings. Learn this man's name. He is an impact reliever even if no one will talk about him.

Yankee defense comes back to bite them

The Yankees are not necessarily known for being a fantastic defensive team but they have good players on that side. DJ LeMahieu has won a Gold Glove, Aaron Judge might win one this season and Didi Gregorius is a solid defensive player as well, just like Aaron Hicks.

But New York have some guys playing out of position to get men in the line-up as Gleyber Torres is playing second when he is probably more of a shortstop or third baseman. LeMahieu is playing first when he is a Gold Glover at second and Brett Gardner is playing left while a healthy Giancarlo Stanton probably takes that spot.

And it did not work out in Game 4. The Yankees made four errors, one of which was a big part of Carlos Correa's three-run homer in the sixth inning. Alex Bregman reached base on an error and eventually came around to score a few batters later.

Also, just a bit of an oddity here too, the Yankees have only ever made three errors at home in a postseason game three times, all three have come on Oct. 17 (2009, 2017).

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