2017 ALCS New York Yankees vs Houston Astros Game 3

Going to try a different format for the breakdown of the pitchers so tell me what you think!

The first two games of the ALCS have been pitchers duels with a lot of strikeouts from the Yankees hitters. The Yankees haven’t been able to get into the Houston bullpen and have been swinging at bad pitches. They need a spark in the lineup and maybe that comes from seeing starters other than Keuchel and Verlander paired with a return to the Bronx. Game 3 will feature Charlie Morton for the Astros and CC Sabathia for the Yankees. CC has been lights out in the playoffs for the Yankees and this is a tough matchup from a team that’s full of good right handed hitters that don’t strikeout a lot. Morton has been doing better lately but he’s not on the level of Keuchel and Verlander.

CC Sabathia

Pitches:

  • 4 Seam Fastball - low 90s
  • Curveball- Sweeper that he throws for strikes
  • Slider- Back foot slider with sharp break
  • Changeup- Turns it over (pronates his wrist) good vs righties

How to get the Quality Start:

  • Pitch backwards ( use his fastball later in the count when using off speed to get ahead in the count) Houston is a great fastball hitting team.
  • Spot his curveball and slider. Throwing both for strikes then expanding the zone with them.
  • Use the change up maybe more than usual to get weaker contact and back it up with high fastballs.
  • Limit walks and avoid the big inning. Houston can make you pay on mistakes and run the bases above average. Limit the runners to limit the damage.
  • Grind through at bats and keep them off balance.

How to get the early hook:

  • WALKS!!! This is the key to any pitcher but the Astros have good base runners and are aggressive. They make productive outs and the walks will come around to score.
  • Fall behind in the count. If he’s constantly behind 2–0, 3–1 in the count and has to throw his fastball then it will be a short night for CC.
  • Don’t be too fine. Meaning attack the zone and induce the weak contact without trying to avoid the big hits. It’s a fine line too fine/attack the zone against a good hitting team but he has to make his pitches.

Charlie Morton

Pitches:

  • 2 seam fastball grip sinker- mid 90s good tailing movement into righties with sink
  • Curveball- knuckle curve grip short sharp break
  • Split- change of pace and eye level
  • 4 seam fastball- elevated to get swings and misses

How to get the Quality Start:

  • Get ahead in the count.
  • Throw his sinker often getting ground balls and batters looking inside.
  • Use his curveball to get swings and misses to put hitters away when he’s ahead in the count.

How to get the early hook:

  • Fall behind hitters early. He doesn’t have the stuff to live in hitters counts all the time being fastball reliant.
  • Not having the movement and feel for his sinker. If his sinker is flat then he’s very hittable.
  • Getting the ball up in the zone. If his sinker and breaking stuff is hanging up and flat the Yankees offense could finally show some life
  • Don’t overthrow. Big games pitchers try to do too much and over throw. This will make his pitches move less and miss his spots.

Both of these guys will have similar approaches. They need to stay ahead of the hitters and not give out free passes because at any moment either offense can wake up. It’s going to be cooler than the first two games now that they’re in New York and the Yankees could benefit from that. The Yankees won’t hesitate to get into their bullpen at the first sign of trouble, while on offense they’re trying to knock Morton out early which should be doable. He’s usually around a 5 inning pitcher and the Houston bullpen is their weak spot that I think if they can get into it, the Yankees can do some damage. Should be yet another close entertaining game coming down to a few small well executed plays. Neither offense has done what they’re capable of but the difference is how the Astros have manufactured runs with productive outs and ran the bases smart and aggressively. Yankees need this one to come back in the series but Houston is trying to make a statement and be one step closer to closing them out.

Can the Yankees contain Altuve and make this a series or will their bats stay cold and have a huge 3–0 hole to climb out of?

I’d love to hear your opinions positive or negative. DM me to talk pitching!

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