2022 ALCS Preview

Story posted October 20, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Adrianna Gallucci

History just keeps repeating itself.

For the third time in six years, the American League Championship Series will be a battle between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros.

Houston has had the upper hand in the past two New York postseason clashes: 4-3 in 2017 and 4-2 in 2019.

Of course, there’s speculation to be made about the infamous 2017 season.

Though there was an MLB-wide investigation for cheating, the Astros were the prime suspect. The Yankees and their fanbase felt the Bombers were robbed of the chance to advance to the World Series, and the two teams have sparked up a rivalry since.

Most notably, when Jose Altuve hit the walk-off home run off of Aroldis Chapman to send the Astros to the World Series in 2019, he rounded third base and clutched his jersey to his chest.

At the time, it might’ve been for memorabilia’s sake. However, it’s clear now that Altuve could have been hiding some sort of device he was wearing under his jersey (or, as he said, a new tattoo).

In 2021, Aaron Judge mocked Altuve; as he hit a home run at Minute Maid Park, he, too, held his jersey as he rounded third.

This season, the New York Yankees fought their way to the ALCS. They were the second-seed team in the AL and had a bye until the Wild Card game was decided.

In that series, the Cleveland Guardians defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in two games.

Center fielder Harrison Bader emerged as a standout player in this series. He hit .267 in five games, going 4-for-15 with four RBIs and three home runs for the Yankees.

The home run king, Judge, had a bit of a rough postseason stretch, but he saw a re-emergence of his regular season. Though he remained hitless until the third game of the five-game series, he finished with two home runs and three RBIs.

Josh Naylor’s father, Gerrit Cole, has been dominant in his two outings, posting a 2.03 ERA (fourth-best in starting pitchers who have an ERA higher than 1.00). That’s good enough to tell the Guardians that it’s time for bed.

The Yankees aren’t messing around with their ALCS roster, but the addition of twenty-two-year-old shortstop Oswald Peraza is certainly a surprise. He hasn’t played at all in the postseason so far and only made an appearance in eighteen games in the regular season.

The Yankees could be taking the Derek Jeter approach: inviting a young talent to the championship series to get a taste of the postseason.

Houston has come off of close victories in the ALDS but defeated the Seattle Mariners 3-0 in that series.

In the first game, left fielder Yordan Alvarez walked the game off for Houston. Alvarez has been clutch so far, batting .267 with two home runs and seven RBIs.

After going eighteen (!) scoreless innings in the third game of the series, shortstop Jeremy Peña hit the go-ahead home run to send the Astros to the ALCS.

However, the Astros have to show concern for their ace, Justin Verlander. In one game, he posted a 13.50 ERA and let up ten hits, striking out only three batters.

This isn’t a testament of Verlander’s regular season, especially coming off of a calf injury, but it’s a challenge for the hitters and their mentalities to have the starting pitching fall apart on the mound.

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of bad blood between these two teams. The Yankees want what was theirs, and the Astros have two trips to the World Series to defend.

It’ll be a close series, and will come down to who wants it more.

Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email amg7989@psu.edu.