(Michael Dwyer/AP)
(Michael Dwyer/AP)

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

The Yankees' 2016 season did not end with a postseason appearance, but there were still plenty of big moments. Rather than relive each one, let's see how some of those circumstances might shape the 2017 season...

Chapman redux

Aroldis Chapman was traded to the Yankees just prior to the new year, but his 30-game suspension for violating the league's domestic violence policy was announced right before the season began. The Yankees tried to say all the "right" things concerning the trade and then continued to back Chapman as a person they believed deserved a chance to redeem himself.

The Yankees obviously feel that Chapman showed enough as an individual in his few months with the club to sign him to the largest free agent deal for a reliever in MLB history. There is no denying Chapman's abilities on the mound, but the off-the-field concerns could follow him forever. Some fans were willing to put Chapman's history to the side so long as he dominated hitters. However, if Chapman's performance on the hill falters, will he be unable to hide from his off-field issues?

Avoid a slow start

Teams seek improvement from one season to the next and the Yankees can look to their performance in 2016's first month as a good starting point. They absolutely cannot have the same kind of April they did last season. Winning just eight games in the season's first month would surely put the club up against the wall while playing in one of the game's best divisions.

If the Yankees have as many young players leading the way as expected when the club breaks camp, manufacturing a winning record in April might be difficult. The Yankees will need to get the most out of the veterans on the roster in an effort to balance the growing pains of the inexperienced players the club expects to provide a boost.

Another summer sell-off?

The Yankees did something last summer for the first time since 1989, when they conducted a full-fledged sell-off at the trade deadline. The moves were bold and helped propel an already improving farm system into one of the best in the game. If the Yankees find themselves in a similar situation as July winds down, it will not be at all surprising to see them do it all over again.

The Yankees have a handful of players who might entice playoff contenders to trade away prospects, including Masahiro Tanaka (he can opt out of his deal at season's end), Michael Pineda (free agent after 2017), Brett Gardner (continuously in trade rumors), and perhaps Chase Headley (also surfacing in rumors this offseason). 



The organization has demonstrated they will not maintain players reaching free agency or older veterans if they can add depth to the farm system while simultaneously opening up a spot for a younger player.

What remains to be seen is which of the prospects will wear pinstripes for the major league club and which will be used as a trade piece for a young controllable star.

Surprise retirement?

After the Yankees sold off their top trade assets, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez both decided to hang up their cleats. There was a bit of a surprise here as each player had big comeback seasons in 2015. The Yankees' 2016 offense was built to rely on Teixeira and Rodriguez in the middle of the lineup and the set up completely failed when each player regressed to the point that they realized walking away from the game was their best option.

The Yankees could be in for a similar situation with CC Sabathia, who like Teixeira in 2016, is in the final season of his contract. Last season, the veteran left-hander pitched to an ERA below 4.00 for the first time since 2012 and was the second-most reliable starter behind Tanaka. At 36 years old and battling severe knee issues, there is a distinct chance Sabathia falters in 2017, and sadly perhaps to the point that he might have to consider how long he can be an effective pitcher in the league.

Youth movement's next star?

Once Teixeira and Rodriguez decided to retire, the Yankees also transitioned from Brian McCann to Gary Sanchez behind the plate. Sanchez had proven himself at Triple-A, but what happened when he took over as the starting catcher was beyond anyone's expectations. Sanchez's 20 home runs, 42 RBI and 1.032 OPS in 229 plate appearances thrust him into the conversation for Rookie of the Year honors despite just two months of MLB playing time. Sanchez's production begs the question of which Yankees prospect can make an impact at the big league level in 2017.

It would be incredibly unfair to expect the level of production Sanchez provided from any rookie, but I do believe that Aaron Judge has the potential to provide a force to the Yankees lineup as the starting right fielder. Judge was ushered into the league following the sell-off and after he homered in his first at-bat, the rest of his time with New York was a struggle. He struck out in 44.2 percent of his 95 plate appearances before going down with an injury that kept him out of the lineup for the remainder of the season.

Judge has demonstrated the ability to pick himself up after his initial promotion from level to level. I expect he will be able to do the same thing in 2017. The numbers might not be otherworldly, but I believe they will be respectable enough to put him in the Rookie of the Year conversation this coming season.

The Yankees' 2017 season might not develop into a complete replication of 2016, but there are sure to be storylines in the upcoming campaign that can be traced to the recent past.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Alex Rodriguez, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, CC Sabathia, Chase Headley, Gary Sanchez, Mark Teixeira, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli

Bright future for Yankees? 00:04:20
After coming one win away from their 41st pennant, the DNL panel discusses if the Yankees missed an opportunity or have a bright future.

 

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 (William Perlman)
(William Perlman)

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has a busy offseason ahead of him, but he is still hurting from the Game 7 loss in Houston. 

Steinbrenner, who is at the team's facility in Tampa, said he is "a little raw right now" after the crushing defeat. But looking back on the season as a whole, he couldn't be happier with how his team defied odds, and ultimately, played their hearts out for a championship. 

"We have had a successful year," Steinbrenner told The Post's Joel Sherman. "Some would argue it is not a success unless you win a championship. That is the goal every year, but it just doesnt' happen every year. So I am proud we got as far as we have gotten."

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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez after hitting a solo home run against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning during Game 6 of the 2017 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez after hitting a solo home run against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning during Game 6 of the 2017 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite losing in Game 7 of the ALCS to the Houston Astros on Saturday, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is already looking ahead to the 2018 season.

"We are all excited for next year," Judge said, according to the New York Post's George A. King III.

The Yankees entered the 2017 season with low expectations, as most analysts predicted them to miss the playoffs as they were heading into a rebuilding process. Instead, the team fell one win shy of reaching the World Series.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chad Green, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird, Houston Astros, Luis Severino
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Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees players look on from the dugout in the ninth inning during game seven of the 2017 ALCS. (Thomas Shea)
Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees players look on from the dugout in the ninth inning during game seven of the 2017 ALCS. (Thomas Shea)

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

Maybe this is where playoff experience before 2017 - even just a handful of games - would have paid off?

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) delivers a pitch against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning in game two of the 2017 ALDS at Progressive Field. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) delivers a pitch against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning in game two of the 2017 ALDS at Progressive Field. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees starter LHP CC Sabathia wants to return to the team he calls "home" for the 2018 season. 

It was a tough night for the Yankees after losing Game 7 of the ALCS in Houston, but not many had to think about their future with the team. Sabathia was one of them as his seven-year, $161 million contract is up, and the Yankees must decided if they want him back. 

Sabathia already has his mind made up. 

Tags: CC Sabathia
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 (Rick Osentoski)
(Rick Osentoski)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

There's no silver lining, not when another team is spraying champagne down the hall. It'll take some winter to get to the bright side for these Yankees after losing the AL Championship Series and that's OK.

They should let the sting settle in and fester a little. They failed to take advantage of two chances to eliminate the Astros. No matter how loaded with talent the Yankees are, and no matter how many of their lauded minor-leaguers are vying for high spots on the prospect lists, each trip to the postseason is precious because who the heck knows when the next one is coming.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Todd Frazier, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Justus Sheffield, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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 (Thomas Shea)
(Thomas Shea)

The Yankees' 2017 season if officially over after a crushing defeat in Game 7 of the ALCS, which means manager Joe Girardi's contract has expired. 

Girardi, along with GM Brian Cashman, have contract renewals or departures to discuss with Yankees ownership. The 10-year manager said during this postseason run that he would consult with his family first about whether or not they want him to continue managing. 

"I love what I do. I've always said, the first thing that I do is I always talk to my family first. They come first. Because I think when you have a job, I mean, your family has to buy in, too," Girardi told The Post's George A. King III. "It's not just what you want out of life. It's everyon buying in. So I'll sit down, talk to my wife and my kids and see where they're at and what they're thinking. And then we'll see what the Yankees are thinking."

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GEICO SportsNite: Joe Girardi 00:02:14
Yankees manager Joe Girardi reflects on his team's season after losing the ALCS and his future with the Yankees.

Aaron Judge robbed Yuli Gurriel of a homer in the second inning, but the Astros' offense made up for it with a pair of homers capped off by a two-run double by former Yankee Brian McCann in a 4-0 win over the Yankees on Saturday in Game 7 of the ALCS. >> Box score

Tags: Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia
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New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (Julie Jacobson/AP)
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Neither Masahiro Tanaka nor Luis Severino will be available to pitch in Game 7 of the ALCS, Joe Girardi announced on Saturday.

The Yankees manager said he will utilize his bullpen before turning to starters, but added that Chad Green, who threw 38 pitches in Game 6, will likely be off-limits, too.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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The Yankees and Astros play the win-or-go-home Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Houston. The winner will advance to the World Series and take on the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Houston Astros, Luis Severino
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Sabathia will start Game 7 00:02:01
CC Sabathia talks about his approach as he's been tasked to pitch for the Yankees in a pivotal Game 7 in Houston against the Astros.

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

Pitching wins championships. In Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, the champion may rise in spite of the overall pitching performance.

The Yankees and Astros have battled to a 3-3 tie in the ALCS amid some incredible pitching displays. However, as middle of the rotation starters take the mound, combined with either depleted and/or underperforming bullpens, Game 7 could turn into a battle of attrition.

The Yankees - with good reason - are happy with CC Sabathia starting Game 7. Sabathia has been tremendous when pitching after a Yankees' loss this season, including the playoffs, going 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in such starts. Sabathia also started the Yankees last winner-take-all affair against the Indians in the ALDS, hurling 4 1/3 innings of two-run ball, while striking out nine. The Yankees finished off that game using David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman for eight outs and six outs respectively.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Houston Astros, Chris Carelli
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Judge is excited for Game 7 00:01:45
Aaron Judge discusses Justin Verlander's outing but thinks the fight the Yankees has shown all year will help them prevail in Game 7.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So the Yankees didn't take advantage of their first chance to finish off the Astros and now it seems like Houston is the club swimming in momentum for Game 7 of the AL Championship Series, right?

Maybe it's true. And with their bats finally awake, the Astros will be a tough out in the decisive game Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. But perhaps the Yankees can put themselves in a strong position to advance to the World Series if they mull over a few things before the epic clash with Houston.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia
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 (Troy Taormina)
(Troy Taormina)

Yankees starter RHP Luis Severino couldn't deliver the Game 6 his team had hoped for as he exited after just 4 2/3 innings. 

Severino seemed to be on a roll through the first four innings as he let up his first hit to Carlos Correa with two outs in the fourth. He would have Yuli Gurriel line out to end the inning. 

But the fifth inning saw a less controlled Severino on the mound. He walked Alex Bregman in five pitches, and after a groundout, he would walk Evan Gattis to put runners on first and second with one out. Brian McCann came to the plate in a position to strike first...

Tags: Luis Severino
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Girardi talks Yankee loss 00:03:08
Joe Girardi discusses Justin Verlander's solid start and the Yankees loss in Game 6 of the ALCS to force a winner-take-all Game 7.

The Astros bats came alive in their return to Houston as they plate seven to force a Game 7 in the ALCS >> Box score


Starters Luis Severino and Justin Verlander were dueling to start the game. That is until Astros C and former Yankee Brian McCann broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth. 

McCann roped a double on a hanging 2-2 changeup to score Alex BregmanJose Altuve would add two more runs with a line shot just passed the glove of 3B Todd Frazier to give the home team a 3-0 lead. 

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Chad Green, Luis Severino
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Harper previews ALCS Game 6 00:03:29
John Harper joins Daily News Live from Houston to preview the pivotal ALCS Game 6 matchup between the Yankees and Astros.

The Yankees and Astros play Game 6 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Friday night at 8:08 in Houston. The Yankees lead the series, 3-2, after winning all three games at Yankee Stadium.

Follow the game live on SNY Gameday

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, C
Yuli Gurriel, 1B Greg Bird, 1B
Alex Bregman, 3B Starlin Castro, 2B
Marwin Gonzalez, LF Aaron Hicks, CF
Evan Gattis, DH Todd Frazier, 3B
Brian McCann, C Chase Headley, DH

Who is starting for the Yankees?

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Luis Severino
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 (Thomas Shea)
(Thomas Shea)

The Yankees may be one win away from the World Series, but manager Joe Girardi doesn't want to hear anything about it. 

Girardi will try to manage the Yankees to his second World Series as a manager. But the levity of the game isn't in his mind as he will try to manage his team like any other night. 

"Because I think sometimes that can cause more anxiety and you can overthink things, in a sense," Girardi told The Daily News Mike Mazzeo.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino delivers during the first inning in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. (Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino delivers during the first inning in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. (Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports)

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

Luis Severino's breakout season is a microcosm of the 2017 Yankees.

At the outset of the season, Severino's ability to be a starter was in question, and experts picked the Yankees to languish toward the bottom of the standings. In Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, the Yankees have a chance to reach their 41st World Series, and Severino is the man they want on the mound to get it done.

"Beginning of the season, nobody was expecting us to be anything,'' Severino told reporters Thursday. "And right now, we have a chance to be in the World Series.''

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Houston Astros, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Carelli
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GEICO SportsNite: BBNY on ALCS 00:03:46
The BNNY crew debates whether or not they believe the Yankees can beat the Astros and clinch the AL Pennant to advance to the World Series.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

One scout stressed that the Yankees must lay off Justin Verlander's high fastball early in the count. But the other recommended more aggression in at-bats: "Attack, attack, attack," the scout said.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs
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GEICO SportsNite: Yanks' Game 6 00:02:51
Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Luis Severino phone in to discuss the team's mindset and preparations for Game 6 and potentially Game 7.

 

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 (JIM YOUNG)
(JIM YOUNG)

Kiké Hernández hit three home runs and had seven RBIs to propel the Dodgers to a World Series-clinching 11-1 win over the Cubs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field

Clayton Kershaw limited the Cubs to just one run on three hits in six innings, while Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow, and Kenley Jansen each pitched scoeless innings to finish the game.

The Dodgers now await the winner of the Yankees-Astros ALCS, which will continue on Thursday in Houston.

Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers
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Can the Yankees make the WS? 00:02:58
The DNL panel debates whether or not they believe the Yankees can close out the Astros in Houston in Game 6 of the ALCS.

 

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 (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)
(Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked what advice he would give RHP Luis Severino in advance of his start against the Astros in Game 6 of the ALCS on Friday night.

"To me, the big thing is him getting through the first inning and not getting too hyped up," Girardi said Thursday during a conference call. "You've got to pitch with your brain, not your arm."

The 23-year-old Severino failed to get throught the first inning during his start against the Twins in the Wild Card game, allowing three runs on four hits (including two homers) while walking one and striking out none in just 1/3 of an inning...

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Luis Severino
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Yanks hitters on beating Keuchel 00:01:04
Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Todd Frazier discuss hitting Dallas Keuchel in their Game 5 win over Houston in the ALCS.

The Yankees got to Astros ace Dallas Keuchel during Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday, knocking him out in the fifth inning in their 5-0 victory. 

Keuchel had the Yankees' number since that Wild Card Game start in 2015. But a different approach at the plate knocked him out of Game 5 of the ALCS in 4 2/3 innings. 

The Yankees needed a win, and their gameplan worked in the Bronx. 

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Chase Headley, Greg Bird
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Oct 18, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) (Brad Penner)
Oct 18, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) (Brad Penner)

The Yankees finally got to Astros RHP Dallas Keuchel, hitting him hard on Wednesday as they moved within one win of their first World Series appearance since 2009.

Keuchel, who tossed seven scoreless innings in Game 1, allowed four runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out eight in 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday. 

After the game, Keuchel admitted the Yankee Stadium crowd was a factor.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs
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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

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

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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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, Anthony McCarron
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Girardi on Yankees' Game 5 win 00:04:43
Yankees manager Joe Girardi speaks to the media about the Yankees' Game 5 win over the Houston Astros in the ALCS.

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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