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The Yankees can win the pennant and win the World Series even if they don’t get homefield in the American League, which would mean plenty if it is them against the Astros again in the American League Championship Series. After everything they have overcome this season, you can’t count them out, even as they keep losing guys all the way into the middle of September. This is as tough a Yankee team as I can ever remember, and that includes 1977 and ’78 and Torre’s Yankees, too. They have played the whole season with a club fighter’s heart. And keep coming.
But they need homefield throughout the playoffs to give themselves their best chance. They just do. They need to close that deal. It only might mean everything in the end, in an ALCS, then in a World Series.
Start in their own league: As good as they are at home, the Astros are better. And please remember what happened the last time the two teams played in October: The Yankees won the middle three games of the American League Championship Series at the Stadium. The Astros won Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 at Minute Maid Park.
You know how many of those games Justin Verlander pitched? Two. You know who will get two starts if the thing goes the distance again? Him. The best starting pitcher in the sport and one of the best of his generation.
Dallas Keuchel is with the Braves now. Charlie Morton is with the Rays. But Gerrit Cole, who has been almost as good as Verlander has been this season, is A.J. Hinch’s No. 2 in Houston. Zack Greinke is Hinch’s No. 3. The Astros have even better starting pitching than they did two years ago even though the Yankees have the better bullpen.
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