Hey Yankees fans, do you want the good news or the bad news?
OK, let’s start with the good. The Astros were eliminated Thursday night from the ALCS. Thus, the three-peat Yankees of 1998-2000 remain the last repeat champs. The 18 years without a repeat winner is the longest streak in MLB history and ties the longest ever for the four major North American team sports leagues.
Watching Houston submit in five games to Boston is yet another reminder how preposterous an achievement it was by those Yankees clubs to win three straight and four of five.
“It’s hard to get October wins,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “And the American League was incredibly, incredibly good, and especially at the top levels, when you talk about the teams that made the playoffs. … To run the gauntlet in one year is an incredible accomplishment. To do it again is — it feels even harder.”
Now the bad news, it was the Red Sox, who ousted the Astros. Therefore, it is the Yankees’ most bitter foe going to the World Series.
Yeah, the Yankees have those 27 titles, so long-term history remains on their side. But curses, the Red Sox will be trying to win their fourth World Series in the past 15 seasons. The modern relationship is getting awfully one-sided. It includes Boston capturing the past three AL East titles, knocking out the Yankees in this year’s Division Series and doing in this ALCS what the Yanks could not last season — eliminate Houston.
The Yankees lost all four ALCS Games at Minute Maid in 2017. The Red Sox won all three this year, culminating with a 4-1 Game 5 victory that will have them hosting Game 1 of the World Series against the Brewers or Dodgers on Tuesday.
Boston is 5-0 on the road in these playoffs — at Yankee Stadium and Minute Maid Park — and outscored the Yankees and Astros by a combined 40-13. That enabled elimination of the 100-win Yankees and now the 103-win Astros, further sprucing the Red Sox’s team-record 108-win campaign. The last team to beat two 100-win teams in the playoffs were the Curse-ending 2004 Red Sox.
“We knew that [108 wins] were not enough,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We knew we would be judged by how we played in October and so far, so good.”
There was a particular sweetness to this clincher because it previewed as Goliath versus David (Price). Houston had October stalwart Justin Verlander starting on full rest and Boston had October dud Price going on three days’ rest between starts for the first time in his career, less than 24 hours after he had warmed to potentially pitch in relief in the Game 4 epic.