I saw this tweet earlier from Hembo…

…and initially it got me fired ALL THE WAY up. “HELL YEAH!! They’ve pitched so much they’re arms are gonna be SHOT!! Time to shell these mofo’s!”

But as a veteran New York Knicks/Giants fan, I know when THAT feelings arises, it could be (with those two franchises, it usually is) complete bullshit.

And then the thought creeps in: “Am I getting off too much on the idea that Houston’s pitchers have thrown a shit-ton more than New York’s?

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Then I saw a Houston fan tweet something about how the Astros pen will have thrown 10 pitches since Wednesday night (all 10 were Osuna) when the ALCS finally starts at 8pm Saturday.

Now, when I first read that tweet, I was like, “WELP! There goes that advantage I believed was going to win us the ALCS! Back to the drawing board!

So I dug in a little more…

  • When Cole starts Game 3 on Tuesday, it’ll be his 3rd game in 9 days, and he’s already racked up 225 pitches in that span… I personally see him as an automatic win for the Astros, but that sort of mileage that quickly could tire the best of guys out. And as gassed as he might be for Game 3, Game 7 will be the 5th game in about two weeks (!), with a pitch count very likely over 300 in that span… I don’t know about you, but things like this make me very thankful the Rays did what they did. #BLESSED
  • When Verlander gets rolled out for Game 2 (not rolled on a wheelchair, though he IS old), he too will be on Game #3 in 9 days. However, his pitch count is only at 184 (thanks in large part to the Rays knocking him out early in Game 4 of the ALDS)… However, the difference here is that Verlander is 36-years old and probably not bouncing back as quickly, and this is where I think the Yanks could steal a game in Houston. Yes, Verlander is a beast, but that extra game, that extra 84 pitches could prove to be too much to ask out of this geriatric fuck.
  • Zack Greinke is actually the guy I’m probably the most concerned about. The guy is a career 3.35 ERA pitcher who just happened to get rocked in his Game 3 start. Regression to the mean alone has me thinking he’ll bounce back and have a good outing in Game 1. The guy’s got a 2.64 ERA on the road this year, so even when we see him again in Game 5 (probably), that’s no cake-walk either. Plus, with our proverbial life on the line, facing a serial killer-looking dude like Greinke is a bit too poetic:

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Overall, I do feel good about the series.

I know this team we’re rolling out is better than the one we had in 2017 (though I did love that squad, shout-out Chase Headley & Todd Frazier).

I think we didn’t burn out the arms in our bullpen – our biggest strength. Our biggest weakness (starting pitching), also should be well-rested & ready to go. Our bats look good (even Stanton at least was getting on base!) and I think there’s the sting from 2017 that THIS is the team we want to beat.

A few weeks back, Ketch asked Junior & I how we really felt about the Yankees and our playoff expectations. I told him the floor was Game 6 of the ALCS, and the ceiling was winning the World Series. And I’m not going to revise that losing in 6 here is the floor. I think that still should be seen as the floor. But I absolutely see enough of an opening that winning in 5, 6 or 7 is within the realm.

Winning in 5 would mean closing with a win over Greinke at Yankee Stadium. Winning in 6 means ending with a win over that old fart Verlander in Houston. Winning in 7 means we beat Cole after he sets an MLB record and his pitch count is 500 before the CS has concluded.

I feel good, I’m excited.

Game 1. Tomorrow. 8pm.

Water Cooler Sports VERY LIKELY will be doing shotguns for strikeouts at the WCS HQ. Tune in Instagram Live to check it out.