Houston avoided elimination with last night’s 7-1 win over New York, so the Astros and Yankees play Game 7 of the ALCS tonight in Minute Maid Park. A.J. Hinch told reporters after last night’s win that playing one more game to decide who goes on to face LA in the World Series is obviously preferable to the alternative.
“It's better than talking about the season being over, I'll tell you that much,” Hinch joked.
“I think for us, we felt confident coming back for Game 6, we were going to have a good game. This is a difficult team across the way. We're also a difficult team to close out.
“For us to get to Game 7, I'm glad we played well enough to have home-field. It's going to be here in Houston. And as much talk in this series if we go up 2-0, the series is in our hands, we go to New York, they win three, the series is in their hands, it's all adjusted, we get to a Game 7, and by the way, it's in Houston.”
New York is 4-0 in elimination games so far in 2017, having won the AL Wild Card game and three straight against Cleveland after falling behind 2-0 in the ALDS. One more win and they’ll be back in the World Series for the first time since 2009, when Joe Girardi led them to a championship in his second year on the bench.
What did Girardi like about what he saw from the team in the elimination games?
“The way we've come out and the way we bounced back in certain games,” he said.
“We've won all kinds of different games; we've won some high-scoring games, we've won I think a 1-0. It's a situation our guys have been in a lot.
“I think you have to keep tonight's game in perspective. We still have a shot to do what we want to try to do tomorrow. And put tonight behind you, move on, and let's be ready to go tomorrow.”
Charlie Morton is set to start Game 7 for the Astros against Yankees’ lefty CC Sabathia.
“We're going to need him to come up big tomorrow,” Girardi said when asked about his faith in the veteran southpaw. “He's done it a couple of different times in the playoffs, during the course of the season, and something that I think he loves to do is pitch in these type of situations. And we need him to come up big.”
Morton, in two starts so far this postseason, has given up 13 hits, four walks, and nine earned runs in eight innings, but Hinch said he was confident the right-hander can do the job tonight.
“He's on regular rest,” Hinch explained. “We're going to have all hands on deck. You're going to see a game played tomorrow with everybody available, obviously. Probably not [Justin] Verlander, but he's superhuman, so we'll see how he shows up tomorrow.
“But with Charlie, he's been one of the unluckiest pitchers in postseason. He's not been hit hard, given up a couple of runs here and there. We just feel like with everyday rest or regular rest he's a great option.
“But we want him to start the game. We'll see how he pieces together 27 outs.”
Who’s going to move on to face the Dodgers in the World Series? We’ll find out tonight...