Houston - It's finally over! It took five games but the Astros have won the ALDS.
Next Stop: the ALCS and a date with the New York Yankees that begins on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
The Series, Marquis Matchup and Must-See TV have been all of the descriptions for this Astros/Yankees Showdown and now it will finally play out.
WHAT DID WE LEARN ABOUT THE ASTROS IN THIS GAME 5 WIN?
GERRIT COLE IS A BEAST
Simply put Gerrit Cole is lights out and has been since late May when he last suffered a loss. That's right it's been over five months and the Astros are now 19-0 since then including these two ALDS wins over the Rays that Cole earned. Cole , fresh off of his 118 pitch outing in Game 2, came back and went 8 innings while striking out 10 bringing his total to 25 K's which is an MLB High mark in a divisional series. Cole gave up the 2nd inning Homer to Sogard but that was about it. He'll be ready now for Game 3 of the ALCS.
THE OFFENSE IS BACK
So much for those "struggles" ! Yes the Astros bats cooled off at Tropicana Field in Games 3 and 4 producing only 4 runs and 13 hits. That all changed though Thursday when they came out of the gates quickly with a four run first inning off of Tyler Glasnow. Altuve, Bregman and Gurriel all with key hits that brought in runs and later Altuve and Brantley provided some power to put it away.
While there are some struggles to be concerned about with Alvarez, Correa and Reddick they can bounce back quickly. Top to bottom this Astros lineup is the best in baseball just ahead of the Yankees.
ASTROS ARE NOT AFRAID OF ANY TEAM
These Astros embrace the pressure and high stakes of the MLB Playoffs. They won it all in 2017 and made another deep run last year before falling to the Red Sox. The Astros dare you to challenge them. They are confident and a little cocky and that's always good to see. Now they have disposed of the Rays and will get locked in on the Yankees and their squad full of superstars in the lineup and pitching staff.
The ALCS gets rolling at Minute Maid Park on Saturday for Game 1 and Sunday for Game 2. Zack Greinke will start the opener and Justin Verlander in Game 2. Cole, after his outing , will be the man in Game 3. Game 4 who knows? Urquidy, Peacock? James?
Astros skipper A.J. Hinch won't celebrate very long because he has decisions to make and an ALCS roster to solidify.
That's a good problem to have in Mid-October!
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