A closer look at the Houston Astros ahead of the ALCS

Gammons For some of the best players in the game insecurity is a powerful tool

Boston second baseman Brock Holt celebrates hitting a two-run home run with second baseman Ian Kinsler in the ninth inning in game three of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Jeered as he walked to the dugout during a seven-run burst in the fourth, it soon was 10-0. As of Monday morning, 58 percent of public bets are being placed on host NY.

Their ace got booed off the mound, loudly. I hope so. Bottom line, as long as he gets his cutter in on righties, he'll be okay. Then, he proceeded to get hit hard in three innings of work during Monday's Game 3 loss in NY.

When Gleyber Torres hit a three-hopper off the mound in the third with the Yankees trailing 3-0, shortstop Xander Bogaerts gloved the ball, continued onto the second-base side of the dirt and threw to first, when Hernandez signalled safe. Severino was pulled with no outs in the fourth inning after he allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks. "If you hear that from Yankees staff or something like that, maybe you can believe it, but I don't know where you get that from. I need a home run for a cycle, '" Holt said. Andrew Benintendi plated three more runs with an RBI double in the next at-bat.

The Red Sox also received an unlikely homer from catcher Christian Vazquez, who snuck one out the other way to right field. "It wasn't an issue".

Though he got out of that second inning after only surrendering one run, Severino's struggles started on his second trip through the Red Sox lineup.

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There were four replay challenges in the first four innings - all involving calls by first base umpire Angel Hernandez. "Mitch is available, but he's not 100 percent", Cora said. They absorbed every blow the Yankees landed all year, including New York's 6-2 victory in Game 2 that sent the series back to the Bronx with a chance for the Yankees to clinch at home. Brett Gardner was back in center, but Boone said he wouldn't hesitate to use Hicks in any role off the bench.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone only has two games of Stadium postseason experience to draw on himself - this year's Wild Card Game as the manager, and last year's as a broadcaster - but he knows those two games against the Twins and Athletics will be nothing compared to the next two nights.

Park. He is 0-3 with a 5.33 ERA in 12 career postseason outings, including four starts. The Yankees traded for Boone at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, sending Branden Claussen and Charlie Manning and a bit of cash to Cincinnati, and Boone was good not great in the season's final two months. The big lefty was ejected from his last regular-season outing for hitting Tampa Bay catcher Jesus Sucre with a pitch during a testy game between division rivals on September 27.

Just speaking from experience, I've never warmed up a starting pitcher who put his foot on the pitching rubber in the bullpen eight minutes before the first pitch was supposed to be thrown in a major league game. He said Monday he definitely wants to play in 2019 - even if it's not for the Yankees.

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