Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are not the best team in baseball.  They aren't the second best either nor are they the third best.  Quite frankly, their record is not really better than ours given our weather-related cancellations and their offense does not necessarily beat ours.  Yet, when we come into Minute Maid Park, our bats halt, pitching is so-so, and we just go radio silent.  Some may say that Houston's starting pitching is one of the best squads in the American League but as Jack Curry stated in Monday night's coverage of the first game against the Astros, Minute Maid Park has become a virtual Haunted House for the New York Yankees.

"Needing one victory in two games to face the Dodgers in the World Series, the Yankees failed in Games 6 and 7. Luis Severino imploded on the mound in Game 6 and the Yankee bats were dead not only in the final two games but in the first two under the roof in Houston," reported the NY Post back in October following the Yankees 4-0 loss to the Astros, launching Houston into the World Series against Los Angeles.  Then, on Monday night, the Yankees dropped the first game of the four game series against Houston, culling the ghosts of the fall which scared them out of their first World Series berth in eight years.

Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

"Charlie Morton proved to be just as much of a pain for the Yankees lineup as he was in last year’s ALCS. From the very beginning it seemed like it was going to be a long night. He came out of the gates throwing strikes, expanding the zone, and getting ahead early in the count. In the end, the Yankees never had much of a chance," reported SB Nation regarding Monday's game.

 Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

Prior to last night, the Yankees have only scored five runs in Minute Maid Park in the their last four outings in Houston.  Then as Houston's ace Justin Verlander took the hill against the Bombers, it was the same old story.  More quiet bats, silent offense and maybe some pine tar?  Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians insinuated that perhaps Houston pitchers could be using pine tar to increase their grip and spin rate.

 Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America

According to the Kansas City Star, "The two (Trevor Bauer and Lance McCullers) had a back-and-forth on Twitter that started Tuesday when someone wondered about the increased spin rate of some of the Houston pitchers, specifically Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, who both have been with the Astros for less than a year."  Now, Bauer and others believe that baseball should make a ruling about pine tar, either allowing it or completely banning it.  Either way, you have to wonder if part of the potency of the Astros pitching is coming from a little extra grip to augment spin rate.

 Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

Anyway you slice it, the Yankees just can't perform well at Minute Maid Park, making it an Achilles heel for the Bombers.  We need to figure out how to win in Houston, evict the ghosts and get the paddles out to revive our flat line offense against Astros in their home. Gary Sanchez is a start.

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

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