Mystique and Aura returned to the Bronx, but they won't be a factor in Houston.
Yankees pitching has been the story of the American League Championship Series, but the offense exploded at Yankee Stadium, pushing its way back into the fold.
This wasn't so much of a surprise as they averaged 5.3 runs per game overall in the regular season, but an even more impressive 5.6 R/G at home. There were contributions up and down the lineup during the three games played in the Bronx, where it is safe to say the Yankees offense found its mojo.
The Yankees scored 19 runs (6.3 per game) in the three ALCS games at Yankee Stadium. More importantly, in Game 5 of the ALCS, they finally solved Dallas Keuchel, a pitching nemesis dating back to the 2015 season. The Yankees will have to figure out how to beat Game 6 starter Justin Verlander, the winner of Game 2. The difference; the game will be played at Minute Maid Park.
The Yankees did manage to average 5.0 runs per game on the road during the regular season, but the team's recent offensive history in Houston indicates that this will not be an easy task. In this series, the Yankees scored all of two runs against Astros pitching on the road. Extend the run-scoring shortcomings to playing away from home in the postseason, and we see the Yankees are averaging just 3.0 runs per game versus 5.8 at Yankee Stadium.
Regardless, the Yankees have some good things going for them as they head into Game 6.
The Yankees are receiving contributions up and down the lineup, and the team has begun to show renewed confidence at the plate. Aaron Judge (4-for-9, 2 HR, 6 RBIs last three games), Didi Gregorius (five hits in last three games) and Gary Sanchez (home runs in back to back games) have come around after slow starts to the series.
Likewise, the bottom of the batting order has made a significant impact, with Greg Bird's consistency (.308/.550/.615 in the ALCS), and timely hits from Starlin Castro and Todd Frazier. Finally, Chase Headley notched five hits in the last two games after a 0-for-18 run in the postseason through Game 3.
Call it momentum or simply a better approach, the Yankees could win another series on the road in this postseason.
Judge feels good about the Yankees' chances for the offense to keep clicking because of how the division series unfolded.
"Take that momentum we got at home and take it on the road," Judge said after Game 5. "That's what we did when we played in Cleveland. We won two at home and were able to win Game 5 (of the ALDS), so just keep that momentum and keep playing our game."
The latter part of that statement, "keep playing our game" is the important takeaway. The Yankees demonstrated a clear approach to handling Keuchel in Game 5. New York will have to translate the same commitment to its game plan against Verlander in Game 6, and whoever Astros manager A.J. Hinch elects to pitch in a potential Game 7.
The Yankees have done their best to simplify winning series by taking it one game at a time. The offense can be broken down even further according to Judge.
"Our approach is going to stay the same," Judge said. "Just keep battling at-bats, having quality at-bats, keep winning every pitch and we'll be where we want to be."
The ability to adjust at the plate has been tantamount to the Yankees' turnaround in the series. The notion to "win every pitch" allows the batters to do their best to control the entire at-bat. Further, the Yankees hitters have utilized knowledge from previous plate appearances to attack in the next one. It paid off.
As difficult as it may be, the Yankees can take solace in the fact that they've already finished off a 102-win team on the road with their opponent's best pitcher on the mound. The Yanks will grind through the same ordeal Friday night in Houston, looking to dismantle a 101-win club with a pitcher that dominated them in Game 2 staring them down.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Mystique and Aura don't travel. The offense can only rely on themselves on the road and that's been good enough before.