Ahead of sched­ule, Yan­kees push to­ward World Se­ries

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND — You get one chance, just one, for a sea­son like this in New York. Once a group wins, that be­comes the ex­pec­ta­tion. It is like a first kiss: Ev­ery­thing changes, and there is no go­ing back.

This was the Yan­kees’ bonus year, when no­body thought they would win very much — maybe not even the play­ers. How could we all see this com­ing? Their best start­ing pitcher was aw­ful last sea­son. Their lead­ing slug­ger hit .179. Their ri­vals looked stronger. This would be an­other sea­son to wait for far­away free agents and groom the kids.

“I thought we were go­ing to be bet­ter than peo­ple thought we were go­ing to be,” said out­fielder Brett Gard­ner, who also ac­knowl­edged his un­cer­tainty. “You don’t know what to ex­pect when a young guy comes up to the big leagues — if they’re ready or not, or how long it’s go­ing to take them to ad­just.”

The Yan­kees would be pa­tient, for a change, af­ter a win­ter of rel­a­tive dis­ci­pline. If one New York team would play for a berth in the World Se­ries, it would surely be the Mets. They had been there more re­cently, and they had so much pitch­ing.

Yet here are the Yan­kees, ready to face the Hous­ton Astros in the Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries af­ter storm­ing back to up­set the Cleve­land In­di­ans, three games to two, in a riv­et­ing di­vi­sion se­ries. The Mets have fallen apart. The Yan­kees have un­der­promised and overde­liv­ered. They are a pin­striped un­der­dog in the year of the so­lar eclipse.

With four more vic­to­ries, the Yan­kees will ad­vance to the World Se­ries for the

David Dermer / As­so­ci­ated Press

Yan­kees’ Didi Gre­go­rius runs the bases af­ter hit­ting a solo home run in Game 5 of the ALDS on Wed­nes­day.

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