New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

After Robinson Cano left the Yankees via free agency, the club went through two seasons of vacant offensive production without spectacular glove work from a slew of players at the keystone. The 2016 season brought stability and an offensive uptick with Starlin Castro, but it can be argued the soon to be 27-year-old infielder has yet to attain his ceiling. Can he reach it in 2017?

How Castro fared in 2016:

There were positives, yet some results left something to be desired concerning Castro's performance last season. It is difficult to get upset with 51 extra-base hits from a second baseman, but Castro has room for offensive improvement after hitting .270 with a .300 on-base percentage and a .433 slugging percentage (.734 OPS, 93 OPS+ and 94 wRC+). In his first full season as a second baseman, Castro wasn't awful at the position, but the club hopes he can improve in the department in which advanced metrics cast an ill light (-8 defensive runs saved).

Castro's OPS was significantly higher than the collections of players from 2014 (.693) and 2015 (.683), so in that respect, the Yankees received improved production from the position without spending an exorbitant salary (just under $8 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017). Better, the Yankees ended up receiving Adam Warren, whom they traded for Castro, back in the Aroldis Chapman deal last summer, so the move was more or less like signing a young free agent.

What to expect in 2017

With seven years of major-league experience under his belt, if Castro is going to turn into an elite player, the time should be now. Unfortunately, Castro's inability to be more selective at the plate will likely deter him from turning in the monster season that he could with a different approach at the plate.

Castro has averaged just 3.67 pitches per plate appearance in his career (league average during the time frame was 3.83) and his career contact rate at pitches outside the zone is 66.9 percent (league averages have sat between 62-64 percent during his career). I'm not suggesting that Castro try to work more walks -- that's completely out of his comfort zone (his career-best walk rate is 6.2 percent in 2014; the league average was 7.6 percent). However, he might benefit from swinging at better pitches in an effort to increase the potential balls he contacts result in base hits. Castro could further work to reduce strikeouts, in which he set a career-high rate (19.3 percent) in 2016.

In his early seasons with the Cubs, Castro benefited from an inflated batting average with balls in play (BABIP) which elevated his on-base percentage. As his BABIP dropped in subsequent seasons, so has his on-base percentage. Castro getting on base just 30 percent of the time is a hinderance to the lineup and something he has the capability to remedy.

It is safe to assume that Castro can minimally attain 50-plus extra-base hits again in 2017. The upside with Castro is 60 extra base hits -- think 35 doubles and 25 home runs. The frustrating part with Castro is that he continually leaves people wanting more. The talent certainly exists, but whether Castro has the necessary drive to push himself enough to elevate his game is questionable.

In the field, any improvement would again come from Castro putting in extra effort. Castro has the benefit of having a full season playing second base under his belt, so the growing pains should be diminished. While Castro has the ability to turn in the fantastic play, the mind lapses and being a poor position for routine grounders drag his performance and metrics down.

Bottom line

Castro is a fine player. The Yankees are not breaking the bank to employ him and at the moment he is not blocking any minor leaguers. However, while Castro flashes spurts of brilliance at the plate and in the field, the knock is taking his talent and matching it with full-blown effort through an entire season. Until Castro improves his approach at the plate and his all-around focus, he will be viewed a nice piece, not the elite star he has the potential to reach.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs


Related: More 2017 player expectations of Yankees catchers and first basemen

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, 2017 Expectations, Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli

BNNY: Yankees' 3-2 series lead 00:05:05
The Baseball Night in New York panel discusses the Yankees' unpredicted offensive performance against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Might be time to call the Yankees what they are: The best team in the American League.

Sure, the standings didn't say so during the regular season, and the Yanks only got into the playoff tournament via the wild card. But they're playing like it now in this run of quality baseball that's been nothing short of spectacular, including their stomping of ace Dallas Keuchel and the Astros, 5-0, Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

To recap: The Yanks beat the 102-win Indians in the ALDS after Cleveland had its foot on their pinstriped necks. Down 0-2 after their manager blew the second game, the Yankees roared back to win the series.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Chase Headley, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts after pitching during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros in game five of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts after pitching during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros in game five of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Masahiro Tanaka delivered when it mattered the most on Wednesday, coming through with seven scoreless inning's in a Game 5 win over the Astros. 

The right-hander allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out eight in another scoreless gem. 

"You see him out there, talking to himself and doing all this crazy stuff," third baseman Todd Frazier told reporters. "Next thing you know his ball just disappears on batters. What a performance." 

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Masahiro Tanaka
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Yankees drop the Astros, 5-0 00:01:47
SNY's Eamon McAnaney gets the Yankees' reactions from their 5-0 victory over the Astros to take a 3-2 lead in the ALCS.

 Behind a brilliant start from Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees took Game 5 of the ALCS over the Astros, 5-0, to pull ahead in the best-of-seven series. >> Box score


Tanaka kept the Astros off-balance from the get-go and dominated through seven innings of work. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out eight in the scoreless effort.

After a scoreless first inning, the Yankees got on the board in the second when Greg Bird drove in Starlin Castro with an RBI single. An inning later, the Yankees extended the lead with Aaron Judge's RBI double.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Masahiro Tanaka
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Masahiro Tanaka (Shanna Lockwood)
Masahiro Tanaka (Shanna Lockwood)

The Yankees and Astros play Game 5 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Wednesday afternoon at 5:08 at Yankee Stadium. The series is tied, 2-2, after the Yankees' come-from-behind victory in Game 4.

Astros Yankees
George Springer, CF Brett Gardner, LF
Josh Reddick, RF Aaron Judge, RF
Jose Altuve, 2B Gary Sanchez, C
Carlos Correa, SS Didi Gregorius, SS
Yuli Gurriel, 1B Aaron Hicks, CF
Alex Bregman, 3B Starlin Castro, 2B
Carlos Beltran, DH Greg Bird, 1B
Marwin Gonzalez, LF Todd Frazier, 3B
Brian McCann, C Chase Headley, DH

Who is starting for the Yankees?

RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who allowed two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out three in 6.0 innings in Game 1.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez
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Oct 9, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; during game four of the 2017 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Oct 9, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; during game four of the 2017 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Gary Dunaier, or "Thumbs Down Guy" as he is referred to in the baseball world, will be getting his very own bobblehead. 

Dunaier, a Mets fan, is infamous for the thumbs down he gave Yankees 3B Todd Frazier after he hit a home run against the Rays at Citi Field. The Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum jumped on the opportunity to bring Dunaier's fame to light with his own bobblehead. 

The two sides signed off on the deal, and with the Yankees' using the thumbs down during their playoff run, co-Founder and CEO Phil Sklar thinks it's perfect to make the bobblehead. 

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 (Troy Taormina)
(Troy Taormina)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives: The Yankees ventured back to New York, found their bats, and displayed the resilience demonstrated often throughout the regular season and several times during the playoffs. Kickstarting the offense has been important to the Yankees ability to tie the American League Championship Series at two games apiece, but the key to the team's play in this series has been the pitching staff.

The Yankees have benefitted from extremely solid starting pitching, and the bullpen continues to dominate hitters. Much of this may have been unexpected considering the Yankees are playing against the best offense in the majors this season, and Houston came into the ALCS extremely hot at the plate.

In the four games, Yankees pitching has held the Astros to nine runs (seven earned) on 18 hits (.153 batting average against). That's impressive against a club that averaged 5.5 runs per game, and put together a collective 121 wRC+, by far an MLB-best. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have consistently provided the Astros with solid at-bats (.310 combined average and half of the club's total hits), while the rest of the lineup is hitting just .101...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Carelli
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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (L) talks to fans prior the game between the New York Mets Boston and the Red Sox (Andy Marlin)
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (L) talks to fans prior the game between the New York Mets Boston and the Red Sox (Andy Marlin)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it's "constitutionally impossible" for him to root for the Yankees, who are even with the Astros at two games apiece in the ALCS. De Blasio, who is a die-hard Red Sox fan, explained his reasoning to the the NY Daily News.

"The truth is called for in editorial board meetings," de Blasio said. "I am a crazed, rabid baseball fan and Red Sox fan. It is constitutionally impossible to quote unquote root for the New York Yankees."

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs
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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after an RBI double against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in game four of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after an RBI double against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in game four of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

If it feels like the old ghosts are back to leaving their vapor trails around Yankee Stadium, well, maybe they are. The Yankees players can't stop talking about the raucous home atmosphere and every night seems to bring another reminder of glory days gone by.

For instance, the Yankees' 6-4 victory over Houston Tuesday night in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series was the first time the Yanks had rallied to overcome a four-run deficit in a home postseason game since Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox. Yeah, the Aaron Boone game, which, by the way, had its 14th anniversary on Monday.

It all makes for a nostalgic backdrop, especially with big names such as Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez doing big things. The Yankees have always done star power well.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez
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GEICO SportsNite: Judge's Game 4 00:06:03
BNNY on Aaron Judge sparking the Yankees' offense with a home run for the second consecutive game after New York evens up the ALCS.

Aaron Judge had just five hits in his first nine postseason games heading into Tuesday night, but he delivered in a big way in the Yankees' come-from-behind win over the Astros in Game 4 of the ALCS. 

Judge blasted a solo home run in the seventh and a game-tying double an inning later to give the Yankees a much-needed jolt.

"It's pretty surreal, to be honest," he told reporters after the game, according to ESPN. "I haven't reflected on tonight's game yet. But as a kid I've been in that situation in my head a thousand times, through the minor leagues, all your daily batting practice, your cage work. I'm putting myself in that situation. Get out there and get the job done." 

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs
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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees' win 00:02:17
Eamon McAnaney recaps the Yankees' impressive 6-4 comeback win in Game 4 of the ALCS to even the series at two games apiece.

The Yankees' offense exploded to score six runs over the course of two innings to help overcome sloppy defense and a four-run deficit to beat the Astros, 6-4, in Game four of the ALCS. >> Read more

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Chase Headley, Gary Sanchez, Jacoby Ellsbury
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Yankees and Astros play Game 4 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Tuesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The Astros lead the series 2-1 after the Yankees' victory in Game 3.

Astros Yankees
George Springer, CF Brett Gardner, LF
Josh Reddick, RF Aaron Judge, RF
Jose Altuve, 2B Didi Gregorius, SS
Carlos Correa, SS  Gary Sanchez, DH
Yuli Gurriel, 1B Greg Bird, 1B
Alex Bregman, 3B Starlin Castro, 2B
Carlos Beltran, DH Aaron Hicks, CF
Marwin Gonzalez, LF Todd Frazier, 3B
Brian McCann, C Austin Romine, C

Who is starting for the Yankees?

RHP Sonny Gray, who allowed three runs on three hits while walking four and striking out two in 3 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the ALDS on Oct. 5 against the Indians.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez
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The Red Sox and Yankees revisited the 2004 ALCS as both teams took shots at each other on Twitter. 

On this day 13 years ago, the play known as "The Steal" sparked the Red Sox' miraculous comeback in the 2004 ALCS. The Red Sox took to Twitter to say that this day is "basically a holiday" in Boston...

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE TWEET

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Manager Joe Girardi decided to go with C Austin Romine at catcher while Gary Sanchez will be the DH for Game 4 of the ALCS. 

This move was expected as Romine caught Sonny Gray's simulated game in Houston, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.

Romine has yet to see the field this postseason. His last game came against the Blue Jays where he went 0-for-3.

 

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Yankees Game 4 starter Sonny Gray is ready to redeem himself as he looks to help his team tie the ALCS at two apiece. 

Since his loss in Game 1 of the ALDS, Gray has not seen live action in 12 days. So, as he is handed the chance to help the Yankees even the series, he is excited for the opportunity to make peace with his previous start. 

"Nervous, no I'm excited," Gray told Newsday's Steven Marcus. 

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Oct 16, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) pulls relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) from the game during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros during game three of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 16, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) pulls relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) from the game during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros during game three of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives: Postseason games are typically long, grinding nail-biters where the bullpen's performance can make the difference for a club. After his Game 3 performance, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances has officially become an alarming negative factor, which is causing a detrimental trickle-down effect for the remaining bullpen arms.

"He's out of whack," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said referring to Betances after Game 3. "He's [gone] through it a couple of times this year and we've seemingly been able to get him on track a number of different times and we're still trying to do that because I still think he is really important to us."

"We need him, so we'll continue to try to fix it," Girardi said.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Chris Carelli
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |: If you were one of the many fans howling at Joe Girardi earlier this postseason, livid over his no-challenge gaffe in the AL Division Series, you'd better be lining up to dole out kudos now.

It's only right.

Because whatever happens the rest of this October for the Yankees, Girardi has managed a helluva playoffs, aside from that brain lock against Cleveland. Sure, his explanation afterward was inane, so much claptrap about not wanting to break up Chad Green's rhythm, but Girardi backed off that the next day, admitted he blew it, offered a mea culpa.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Gary Sanchez, Houston Astros, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge celebrates with third baseman Chase Headley after hitting a three-run home run during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the 2017 ALCS at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge celebrates with third baseman Chase Headley after hitting a three-run home run during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the 2017 ALCS at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge hit a three-run home run to break out of a slump and made two acrobatic catches in right field to lead New York to an 8-1 win over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday at Yankee Stadium.

Since Game 1 of the ALDS, Judge had been in a 2-for-28 slide with 20 strikeouts. But in the bottom of the fourth inning, Judge broke out if it by hitting a three-run home run off Will Harris that turned a five-run lead into an 8-0 rout.

"He's extremely talented," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You can look at his numbers and say he's not hitting for an average. We've played how many playoff games, nine? He gets seven RBIs, he gets his walk, got another one tonight. I know how dangerous he is. He can really change a game really quickly."

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Houston Astros
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New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia pitches during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game 3 of the 2017 ALCS at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia pitches during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game 3 of the 2017 ALCS at Yankee Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees LHP CC Sabathia threw six scoreless innings on Monday to lead New York to an 8-1 win over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.

"I'm not surprised what he did tonight," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We talked about it, we wanted him on the mound tonight. We thought we had the right guy on the mound tonight. Again, six innings, just an outstanding effort. Couldn't ask for anything more."

Sabathia, who escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the third inning, became the first pitcher who is at least 37 years old to throw at least six shutout innings in a postseason game since Pedro Martinez in 2009. Sabathia gave up three hits, walked four and struck out five, throwing 64 of his 99 pitches for strikes. 

"CC was really good because he didn't make a lot of mistakes," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, CC Sabathia, Houston Astros
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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees win 00:01:29
Todd Frazier, Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius talk about the Yankees' offensive outburst in their win in Game 3 of the ALCS.

Aaron Judge and Todd Frazier both hit three-run home runs while CC Sabathia threw six solid innings as the Yankees blew out the Houston Astros 8-1 in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday at Yankee Stadium. >> Read more


Despite being held to two runs and 10 hits in Games 1 and 2, the Yankees exploded for three runs in the second inning and five runs in the fourth as they remained undefeated at home in the postseason and cut the series deficit to 2-1.

After Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks both hit two-out singles off Astros starter Charlie Morton in the bottom of the second inning, Frazier lunged to hit a 1-1 fastball over the right-field fence to give New York a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Chase Headley recorded the first hit by a Yankees designated hitter this postseason by driving in Greg Bird with a two-out single. Morton then hit Brett Gardner to load the bases and was replaced by Will Harris, who threw a wild pitch that scored Frazier and then surrendered a 371-foot home run to Judge that blew the game wide open.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Adam Warren, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Chase Headley, Houston Astros, Starlin Castro
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John Harper on ALCS Game 3 00:04:50
John Harper joins the Daily News Live crew to discuss the Yankees' continued offensive struggles in advance of Game 3 of the ALCS.

 

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New York Yankees staring pitcher CC Sabathia (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees staring pitcher CC Sabathia (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees and Astros play Game 3 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Monday night at Yankee Stadium. The Astros lead the series 2-0 after winning the first two games in Houston.

Astros Yankees
George Springer, CF Brett Gardner, LF
Alex Bregman, 3B Aaron Judge, RF
Jose Altuve, 2B Didi Gregorius, SS
Carlos Correa, SS Gary Sanchez, C
Yuli Gurriel, DH Greg Bird, 1B
Evan Gattis, C Starlin Castro, 2B
Marwin Gonzalez, 1B Aaron Hicks, CF
Josh Reddick, RF Todd Frazier, 3B
Cameron Maybin, LF Chase Headley, DH

Who is starting for the Yankees?

LHP CC Sabathia, who allowed two runs on five hits while walking none and striking out nine in 4 1/3 innings against the Indians in Game 5 of the ALDS.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs
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 (Shanna Lockwood)
(Shanna Lockwood)

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter | : Despite the Yankees down 0-2 in the ALCS, manager Joe Girardi isn't in "panic" mode as the series heads to the Bronx for Game 3. 

The Yankees lost two, 2-1 games in Houston after masterful performances from Astros starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. But with the series returning to Yankee Stadium where Girardi's team has had better success all season, he isn't worried that the series is getting away from him. 

"We've been through enough this year that there's no panic. There were times during the season where we were 15 games over, and we fell to four games over," Girardi told the NY Daily News' Christian Red. "Obviously, would you rather be 1-1, 2-0 the other way? Yeah. I don't think there's any panic in the room. And they're gonna just go out and do what they do and see where the chips fall."

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Gary Sanchez
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New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro (14) hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro (14) hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives: The Yankees have a few things going for them as they enter Game 3 of the American League Championship Series down 0-2 to the Astros. Maybe at the top of the list is the fact that Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander will be on the bench.

The Yankees have a miserable history against Keuchel, while Verlander has performed superbly against them as well, with no better success than his Game 2 start. Astros' Game 3 starter Charlie Morton is no slouch, as he pitched to a 14-7 record with a 3.62 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 163 strikeouts in 143 2/3 innings in the regular season.

The Yankees have been striking out at a disturbing clip, so a matchup against another pitcher that generates plenty of swing and misses may not seem like a great matchup...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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BNNY on Yanks' keys for Game 3 00:03:10
Baseball Night New York breaks down how the Yankees can shift momentum as the ALCS moves to New York.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Everyone says the kids are alright, that the struggles of these playoffs haven't turned Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge tight. There's yet to be any real proof -- a few decent press conference quotes hardly qualifies as that -- but the Yankees better be right about their two young stars.

Because whatever hope New York has of remaining relevant in the AL Championship Series against the Astros probably hinges on Judge and Sanchez having an impact on the series, starting in Game 3 in the Bronx on Monday night. Maybe even more so than CC Sabathia, who is starting against the Astros' Charlie Morton.

Both Judge and Sanchez have struggled mightily and are a combined 1-for-14 with eight strikeouts in the series, which the Yankees trail two games to none after consecutive 2-1 losses in Houston.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Houston Astros, Anthony McCarron
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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees Game 3 00:01:17
Joe Girardi discusses what contribution he hopes CC Sabathia can give the Yankees when he takes the ball for Game 3 in the Bronx.

Like the ALDS, the Yankees trail 2-0 heading home for Game 3 on Monday against the Houston Astros in the ALCS, and starting pitcher CC Sabathia is confident he and the team can dig out of that deficit.

"It's a good team we're playing, but I feel like we've been right there in both games," Sabathia said on Sunday. "It can be 2-0 and then 2-1. We're right there. So a couple things go our way, we could easily be up 2-0."

Sabathia said the Yankees are not panicking despite losing the first two games of the ALCS. They were in the same position in the last round against the Cleveland Indians, when they rebounded to win Games 3, 4 and 5 and advance.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, CC Sabathia, Houston Astros
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Oct 13, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) and first base coach Tony Pena (56) walk back to the dugout at the end of the eighth inning during game one of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)
Oct 13, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) and first base coach Tony Pena (56) walk back to the dugout at the end of the eighth inning during game one of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Baseball is a game of inches and the Yankees have been literally giving them away.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Chris Carelli
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 (Troy Taormina)
(Troy Taormina)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : A quick glance at the stats tells you all you need to know about the vaunted Yankee offense in the AL Championship Series, particularly when you scroll down to the names Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.

The young stars -- perhaps the biggest two reasons why the Yanks were second in the majors in runs this season -- have been brutal so far in the playoffs, except for a moment or two. Of course, those moments have faded, just like the good feelings from the Yanks' stirring revival in the previous playoff round against the Indians. That's how badly the duo is struggling against Houston now.

But with today's Hot Take Universe offering all kinds of solutions (we'll have one for the Yankee offense in a moment, too, bear with us) Joe Girardi must resist any urge to take Judge out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup, and should not consider using Sanchez as the designated hitter and replacing him behind the plate with Austin Romine...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Jacoby Ellsbury
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GEICO SportsNite: BNNY on Yanks 00:01:18
Anthony McCarron breaks down the final play of Game 2 in which catcher Gary Sanchez botched a relay throw at home plate in the ninth.

 The Yankees were tied with the Astros 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS. After Luis Severino pitched four innings and Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson combined to give up only one hit in four innings, the Yankees put in Aroldis Chapman to help send the game to extras.

Instead, Chapman gave up a one-out single to American League MVP candidate Jose Altuve and a walk-off double from shortstop Carlos Correa .

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Starlin Castro
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 (Thomas Shea)
(Thomas Shea)

The Yankees have scored just two runs and produced 10 hits in two 2-1 losses to the Astros in the ALCS after finishing second in the MLB in runs scored during the regular season.

While the team's bullpen has been lights out for the majority of the playoffs and Masahiro Tanaka has recorded two quality starts, the Baby Bombers have been quiet in the ALCS. C Gary Sanchez, who had 33 home runs and 90 RBI in 2017, has struck out five times in seven at-bats and doesn't have a single hit. RF Aaron Judge, who hit an AL-leading 52 homers, has just one hit and hasn't driven in a run.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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 (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)
(Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees took out starter Luis Severino after four innings in Game 2 of the ALCS, replacing him with reliever Tommy Kahnle. Manager Joe Girardi said the right-handed pitcher -- who hurt his shoulder -- checked out fine after their 2-1 loss to the Astros. 

Girardi and the Yankees' trainer visited Severino after the right-hander appeared to have some discomfort in his right arm, but he remained in the game to pitch the rest of the fourth.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Luis Severino
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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees' loss 00:01:57
Gary Sanchez took full responsibility for dropping the ball at home plate in the deciding play of Game 2 of the ALCS in Houston.

Aroldis Chapman allowed a walk-off double to Carlos Correa and Justin Verlander stifled the Yankees in New York's 2-1 loss in Game 2 of the ALCS in Houston. The Yankees are trailing in the series 2-0. << Box Score

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws the ball against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning at Safeco Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws the ball against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning at Safeco Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees and Astros play Game 2 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Saturday afternoon in Houston at 4 p.m. The Astros lead the series 1-0 after taking Game 1, 2-1, on Friday night.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs
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 (Ken Blaze)
(Ken Blaze)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees ran into a familiar buzzsaw in the likes of Dallas Keuchel Friday night in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series and now find themselves in a familiar spot in a playoff series. Down.

We know that the Yankees managed to climb out of a 2-0 hole in the division series against a terrific Indians team, so New York's confidence is by no means shattered. As such, there were some relevant circumstances in Game 1 that should have the Yankees optimistic they can put the loss behind them with a strong performance in Game 2...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Chad Green, Chris Carelli
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 (Shanna Lockwood)
(Shanna Lockwood)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : Yankees-Astros Friday night was really all about Dallas Keuchel, as it usually is when the Astros ace lefty pitches against the Yanks. Keuchel was dominant again in the AL Championship Series opener, throwing seven shutout innings.

Now, with a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Astros will send their ace righty, Justin Verlander, to the mound in Saturday's Game 2. With a loss, the Yanks would face a huge deficit - yes, we know they came back from 0-2 in the first round against Cleveland. But two enormous turnarounds against two 100-plus-win teams in the same October?

Sounds unlikely...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury, Luis Severino, Matt Holliday
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 (Troy Taormina)
(Troy Taormina)

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka had another strong outing, but unfortunately suffered the loss in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. 

Tanaka knew he needed to pitch similar to his ALDS performance if he wanted to match Astros' ace Dallas Keuchel. That is exactly what he was doing to start the game as he didn't let up a hit through the first three innings. However, when Jose Altuve notched an infield single in the fourth, it would be just enough for the Astros to take the lead. 

With Carlos Correa at the dish, Altuve stole second setting up a Correa single to put the first run on the board for the Astros. Tanaka was in a groove with no runners on base, but when he was forced to throw from the stretch, he knows he needed better command of his pitches...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Masahiro Tanaka
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Judge and Castro on Game 1 loss 00:01:10
Aaron Judge and Starlin Castro discuss the Yankees' 2-1 loss to the Astros in Game 1 of the ALCS.

Dallas Keuchel pitched seven shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out 10, as the Astros defeated the Yankees 2-1 in the first game of the American League Championship Series Friday in Houston.

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Masahiro Tanaka (Shanna Lockwood)
Masahiro Tanaka (Shanna Lockwood)

The Yankees and Astros play Game 1 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Friday night in Houston at 8:08 p.m.

Follow the game live on SNY Gameday.

Astros Yankees
George Springer, CF Brett Gardner, LF
Josh Reddick, RF Aaron Judge, RF
Jose Altuve, 2B Gary Sanchez, C
Carlos Correa, SS Didi Gregorius, SS
Marwin Gonzalez, LF Starlin Castro, 2B
Yuli Gurriel, 1B Aaron Hicks, CF
Carlos Beltran, DH Greg Bird, 1B
Alex Bregman, 3B Matt Holliday, DH
Brian McCann, C Todd Frazier, 3B

Who is starting for the Yankees?

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Masahiro Tanaka
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New York Yankees' Aaron Judge he heads to the dugout after he struck out against the Detroit Tigers.  (AP)
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge he heads to the dugout after he struck out against the Detroit Tigers. (AP)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday he has no plans to move Aaron Judge down in the order during the ALCS, despite Judge setting an MLB playoff record 16 strikeouts in the five-game ALDS victory over the Indians.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge
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New York Yankees designated hitter Matt Holliday takes batting practice during workouts at Minute Maid Park. (Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees designated hitter Matt Holliday takes batting practice during workouts at Minute Maid Park. (Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has penciled in Matt Holliday as the DH for Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros.

Holliday will bat eighth.

When asked on Thursday if Holliday could make his 2017 postseason debut in Game 1, Girardi said "stay tuned."

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Chase Headley, Houston Astros, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Holliday
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Dave Lennon on ALCS 00:04:56
Newsday baseball columnist Dave Lennon joins Loud Mouths to preview the Yankees ALCS matchup with the Houston Astros.

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

After becoming the 10th team in MLB history to come back from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five playoff series, the Yankees are again the underdog when they face the Houston Astros in the ALCS.

The Astros own home-field advantage and ranked second in the American League with 101 wins, however the Yankees turned some non-believers into believers after their impressive comeback over the Cleveland Indians propelled them to the ALCS in what was originally supposed to be a rebuilding year.

How do the Yankees match up with the Astros?

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Adam Warren, Aroldis Chapman, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Houston Astros, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Carelli
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Oct 3, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (left) talks to general manager Brian Cashman (Brad Penner)
Oct 3, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (left) talks to general manager Brian Cashman (Brad Penner)

The Yankees announced their 25-man ALCS roster on Friday morning, which is identical to what their roster was for the ALDS.

Click below for the roster

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GEICO SportsNite: Yanks in ALCS 00:01:45
Eamon McAnaney gauges the energy in the Yankees' clubhouse as the team prepares to take on the 101-win Houston Astros in the ALCS.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

What in the heck is Joe Girardi doing with that ALCS rotation? Can't believe the Yankees manager set things up that way. Of all the harebrained…

Sorry, just had a flashback to the chaos that was Game 2 of the AL Division Series and its aftermath, when Girardi made several tactical missteps, the season looked finished and everything he did or said felt wrong.

Now that Girardi has redeemed himself with sharp managing during the comeback, helped by strong performances by the players who vowed, "This one is for Joe," we're on board with Girardi's moves, including how he set the rotation.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi celebrates with his after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 of the 2017 ALDS at Progressive Field. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi celebrates with his after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 of the 2017 ALDS at Progressive Field. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Joe Girardi embraced his coaches, then charged out of the New York Yankees' dugout, pumping his fists and hugging his players. With one back slap after another, there was no hiding his elation.

The manager's miscues from Game 2 of the AL Division Series no longer mattered, all thanks to the battling baby Bronx Bombers.

"People make mistakes and we pick each other up, that's what we do here," first baseman Greg Bird said. "We're going to keep doing that. ... It's got us to where we are, and it's going to get us to where we want to be." >> Read more

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Greg Bird
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GEICO SportsNite: BNNY on ALCS 00:03:53
The Baseball Night in New York panel discusses Joe Girardi's decision to start Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1 of the ALCS instead of Sonny Gray.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi determined his ALCS starting rotation based on the recent performance of pitchers, he told reporters on Thursday.

Masahiro Tanaka, who is coming off strong outing during which he allowed no runs in seven innings of work, will start Game 1 for the Yankees, while Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, and Sonny Gray will follow.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Venting Machine: Tanaka starting 00:01:30
Marc Malusis and Jon Hein react to Masahiro Tanaka being named the Yankees' ALCS Game 1 starter and Brett Gardner's style of celebration.

The Yankees announced their starting pitchers for the American League Championship Series ahead of Friday's series opener.

Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched seven shutout innings in Sunday's 1-0 win over the Indians, will start Game 1, while Luis Severino will look to build from his bounce-back start this week when he takes the hill in Game 2. 

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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McAnaney and Botte talk Yankees 00:04:15
Eamon McAnaney and Peter Botte share their thoughts on the Yankees' comeback against Cleveland in the ALDS and the key factors in the ALCS.

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Players have confidence in themselves, but often times, an influx of talent via trade invigorates the remaining roster and demonstrates the organization's faith in the squad.

The Yankees reached the American League Championship Series, and an organizational decision to buy 12 days before the trade deadline has become an important factor that has elevated the team in the postseason...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Chris Carelli
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Murti previews ALCS from Houston 00:05:06
On Loud Mouths, SNY's Yankees insider Sweeny Murti discusses Aaron Judge's spot in the lineup, the Yankees' rotation and Dallas Keuchel.

The Yankees went 2-5 against their ALCS opponent, the Houston Astros, during the regular season, with each game taking place prior to Houston's acquisition of RHP Justin Verlander.

AL West champion Houston, who won 101 games during the regualr season, dispatched the Red Sox in four games in the ALDS.

The best-of-seven ALCS begins on Friday night in Houston, with RHP Dallas Keuchel starting for the Astros. Verlander gets the ball for Game 2...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Beginning of a Yankees dynasty? 00:03:59
The Daily News Live crew breaks down the bright future for this young Yankees team and how they could be set up for another dynasty.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : After two games of the AL Division Series, the Yankees seemed primed for a blink-and-you-missed-it October visit. The winter would be devoted to recriminations over Joe Girardi's tactical meltdown in Game 2 threaded around hopeful talk of young players growing after a fine season.

But after coming back from an 0-2 deficit to beat the Indians, the Yankees have crushed anyone's timetable on the arrival of their looming juggernaut, including, probably, their own. Maybe they weren't supposed to be this complete, this fast, but here they are.

Watch out, Astros, beginning in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series, which starts Friday night in Houston. Watch out, the rest of baseball, now and in the coming years.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Anthony McCarron
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