Yankees Astros showing playoff-like fire in May

It may just be the second full month of the 2018 MLB season, but the Yanks and Astros are going at it like it's the ALCS.
Gary Sanchez. (Photo: Getty Images)

If games in April and May really don't matter or don't entertain the worst kind of baseball fans, who spend half their times at the stadium taking selfies and looking for a milkshake instead of keeping score, simply direct them to Houston right now. 

 

Prior to the start of the 2018 MLB season, I picked the New York Yankees to meet the Astros in the American League Championship Series for a second-consecutive year.

 

On paper, at least, it was clear that these are the two-strongest sides in all of baseball. The Yankees' offense is expected to be the reincarnation of Murderers' Row while the Astros are littered with young offensive stars and a seasoned pitching staff that can beat you in any style possible. 

 

After a bit of a hiccup to start the season, the Yankees have the third-best record in the American League. The Astros have the second-best behind only the Boston Red Sox. 

 

So naturally, the current four-game series that Houston and New York are entrenched in was one to circle on your calendars when the schedule was initially released, even if it was in May. 

It hasn't disappointed, either, even if there has been an average of just four combined runs per game over the first two tilts. 

Both teams are clearly using this series as a measuring stick to see just how realistic their chances are of representing the American League in the World Series this fall, the Yankees coming in with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after losing in seven games to the Astros in last year's ALCS.

Charlie Morton only added to that frustration with a gem on Tuesday night, striking out 10 over 7.2 innings of work while not allowing a single run as the Astros hung on for a 2-1 win.

The fine pitching continued into Wednesday as the Yankees couldn't touch Justin Verlander through eight innings, striking out 14 times in the process. But Domingo German, in for an ailing Jordan Montgomery, helped keep the Astros off the scoreboard as well thanks to four scoreless innings of work. 

Once Verlander was finally out of the game in the ninth, the Yankees' best hitter, this year, Gary Sanchez, took full advantage of Houston closer Ken Giles, launching a three-run home run to give the visitors a lead it would not relinquish. 

Think May games are still not worth much? Watch Sanchez's reaction while rounding the bases and watch Giles PUNCH HIMSELF IN THE FACE for giving up the round-tripper:

How lucky are we that there are two more games in this series and another three at the end of May in the Bronx? We'll have to make it count though as the Yanks and Astros don't play each other for the rest of the regular season after that. 

But something tells me there will be a quite a high-stakes meeting between the two in the depths of October.