New York Yankees are not Lovable Underdogs

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 20: Aaron Judge
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 20: Aaron Judge /
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Over the past few days, there has been talk about the New York Yankees as lovable, scrappy underdogs. Let’s stop the madness.

The fact that they are even at the seventh game in the American League Championship Series is surprising. This is a team that has seen their lineup carried by their youth, a team that received impressive contributions from unheralded players as they made their way to the postseason. A team that did not have a single starter make 30 starts this season. A team that overcame injury and inconsistency to move just one game from the World Series.

Based on the description above, one would imagine that the Houston Astros would be considered the scrappy, lovable underdogs in their series against the New York Yankees. Instead, it is the Yankees that have somehow been given the mantle of the lovable team in the series.

On the surface, one can understand why. These are seemingly not the old Yankee teams, built solely on the deep pockets of the Steinbrenners. Young stars like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino are key parts of the team, helping to bring the flawed New York roster a step closer to the World Series again. And yet, while things change, the Yankees remain the same.

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This is still a team that has a payroll over $200 Million, the second highest mark in the game, trailing only the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes, three of the highest paid players on the roster, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Holliday, and Jaime Garcia, have barely played in the postseason. And yet, the Yankees have barely missed a step, twice coming back from losing the first two games of both of their postseason matchups.

Meanwhile, a team like the Astros, who rank 25th in payroll, would not have that luxury. Regardless of how much those players would struggle, they would be in the lineup. The Yankees, meanwhile, with their resources, can cover up those mistakes.

Despite winning 101 games and spending most of the 2017 campaign as the top team in the American League, the Houston Astros could be considered the underdogs, particularly heading into this game. Charlie Morton struggled in his last outing, while CC Sabathia dominated. The Yankees have also built an impressive bullpen, allowing greater flexibility should the resurgent lefty falter. Based on the matchups, the Yankees may well be on their way back to the World Series in a few short hours.

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The Evil Empire is close to returning. It may be in different packaging, but the New York Yankees are still the same. And no, they are not scrappy, lovable underdogs.