Houston Astros – AL Champions

The Houston Astros nearly let the New York Yankees come back from a 2-0 deficit and in the process treated baseball fans to a game seven. As far as game sevens go, this one had its moment, but certainly isn’t one for the record books.

To begin with, the pitching match-up wasn’t exactly top-tier names. Sure, CC Sabathia has the name recognition and had actually been pitching quite well coming into tonight’s start, but he’s no longer the tip-of-the-spear ace he once was. On the other side of the field the Astros went with Charlie Morton, a seasoned veteran, who up until this season was basically an after-thought in most baseball circles.

Morton will go down in Houston Astros history tonight however, as the 33-year-old right-hander went five strong innings, striking out five, walking one and allowing only two hits. Morton would face 18 batters during his five innings of work.

CC Sabathia would also face 18 batters, however, he was only able to last 3.1 innings against an energized Astros lineup. On the night CC allowed five hits, walked three and did not record a strikeout. The single run that CC Sabathia would allow came on a solo home run off the bat of Evan Gattis.

Gattis wasn’t the only Astro to go deep Saturday night. Jose Altuve also drove a ball into the right field seats in the bottom of the 5th inning to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

Considering this was a game seven, any added insurance is nice and the former Yankee Brian McCann tacked on two more runs with a double into right field also during the bottom of the 5th inning. Scoring on the play was Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel for the Astros.

In reality, the one run would have been enough for the Astros on this particular night. Following Charlie Morton on the hill was Lance McCullers making an appearance on short rest out of the bullpen.

McCullers started the season in the rotation and was looking like an early Cy Young award finisher before injuries and poor performance somewhat derailed his season. Tonight none of that mattered however, as McCullers faced 14 batters over four innings pitched, striking out six and walking only a single batter faced. McCullers would pick up the save with his performance.

Offensively for the Yankees they were limited to only three hits on the night. Early on it appeared they were attempting to jump on Morton’s fastball and gain an early lead. As that plan continued to fail, the Yankees did not appear to have a real plan B and the outs continued to slip away until it was too late.

Both teams played a great series and I wouldn’t be shocked if the 2018 ALCS was a rematch of these two young and powerful rosters. For now however, we all become Astro fans as they move onto the World Series to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Game one of the World Series is scheduled to begin Tuesday October 24th, 2017.

Fantasy Thoughts:

Yuli Gurriel will be an interesting player to project for the 2018 season. With 1b eligibility only, how exactly will this talented, yet somewhat under-powered bat play at the position? Did you know that over the last 31 days of the regular season Gurriel hit .333/.378/.547 with three home runs and 13 RBI? For the season Gurriel displayed a strong ability to make contact, with a hard contact index about 25% above the league average rate. I don’t see much more home run power developing (18-24 feels about right), however, his hard-hit ability, coupled with an approach that could lead to even more line drives, should keep the batting average high for the Cuban first baseman.

Charlie Morton’s performance tonight shouldn’t play too much into his 2018 draft price, unless of course you play in a Houston based league I suppose. That said, take a look at the underlying skills displayed by Morton and consider adding him as a 135-165 innings pitched type of arm to your fantasy staff next season. Morton’s 3.62 ERA was backed up with a 3.32 xERA and was driven by a strong swinging strike rate, first pitch strike rate and top-tier velocity (95.0 MPH).

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