Yankees come up empty in Game 7 as season ends in a whimper

HOUSTON — In a clubhouse so quiet you heard the shower water hit the floor down the hall, the Yankees talked about next year shortly after this one ended in heartbreak and disappointment.“We are all excited for next year,’’ Aaron Judge said after the Yankees failed to win one of

Yankees couldn’t conjure up enough moments in this Game 7

HOUSTON — Every now and again, someone would open the main door leading to the clubhouse, and the silence would be replaced by the tinny, distant evidence of sustained joy. The Astros were celebrating a second-ever World Series appearance on the field, most of the 43,201 folks who’d watched were

Brian McCann makes Yankees pay even more

HOUSTON — This stunningly successful Yankees season concluded with a sting of reality Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. The proper order of things reasserted itself in time to send the Yankees east, toward New York and the offseason, instead of west, toward Los Angeles and the World Series.Now batting

How small-market experience helped Dodgers build a juggernaut

LOS ANGELES — These Dodgers are ginormous-market. The $220 million payroll, tops in baseball, makes that clear.There is a small-market philosophy, though, hidden inside the biggest of markets.For that they will be rewarded by playing in the World Series on Tuesday for the first time in 29 years. Money doesn’t

Jose Altuve ensures one more AL MVP showdown with Judge

HOUSTON — Voting for the AL MVP is done already, based strictly on the regular season. Yet, as a metaphor for just how close the battle for that award was, the front-runners, Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge, have had an intriguing give-and-take in the ALCS.When Altuve has had huge hits

Brian McCann delivered in a huge spot against former team

HOUSTON — Brian McCann finally made his presence felt against his former team.The former Yankees catcher looked overmatched for much of the ALCS, including in his first at-bat Friday night against Luis Severino in Game 6.But with the Astros desperately looking for a hit to break through against the right-hander

For Severino, it all went downhill “so fast’

HOUSTON — Luis Severino didn’t show any signs of discomfort after four innings on Friday night, like he appeared to do in his previous start.Maybe he should have.The right-hander was brilliant through four innings in Game 6 of the ALCS, but fell apart in a hurry in the fifth in

Yankees bullpen starting to show first signs of weakness

HOUSTON — The Yankees didn’t just squander a chance to get to the World Series when they lost to the Astros 7-1 in Game 6 of the ALCS.They also lost Chad Green for Saturday’s Game 7, since he tossed 2 ¹/₃ scoreless innings in the defeat.And a rough outing from

For Dodgers, beating Yankees would be Hollywood ending

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers are Hollywood. They get it. They know who they are and the town they represent. So, in the middle of the wildest of champagne celebrations, there was Peter Guber, a Dodgers co-owner, soaking in the success.It has been 29 years since the Dodgers made it

Yankees can’t solve Verlander, Astros force Game 7

HOUSTON — The Yankees’ improbable run toward a World Series ticket will end Saturday night in ecstasy or heartbreak.With a chance to win the ALCS on Friday night by beating the Astros at Minute Maid Park, the Yankees were dominated by Justin Verlander and done in by Luis Severino’s wildness

Yankees are back in their most comfortable position

HOUSTON — The Yankees are back to their comfort zone, which is to say they are in the most uncomfortable of places.Four times already this October, they have played elimination games — twice when it was sudden death for both teams — and four times they played on. They have

Game 7s are why we watch — and just what Yankees need

HOUSTON – Oh, yes, you remember this, right? You remember what Game 7 of the American League Championship Series feels like, looks like, tastes like, because even now it takes so little to carry you back 13 years, 14 years, to what those games were like, what those days were

Recalling a long, underrated list of Astros playoff meltdowns

HOUSTON — The thing we all overlooked, of course, is the fact that Houston’s playoff baseball history is a tortured, torturous mess. But that’s actually a part of it. When you think of tortured baseball cities, which ones come to mind?Cleveland.Chicago (based on 108 years of muscle memory).Boston (based on

Yankees fear schedule may kill their momentum

HOUSTON — A break in the postseason schedule has been a friend to the Yankees twice this October.Now, it might hurt their chances of getting to the World Series for the first time since 2009.When the Yankees went down 0-2 to the Indians on the road in the ALDS they

Why Yankees believed Didi Gregorius had big-game DNA

HOUSTON — Even before this unexpected October run by the Yankees, Didi Gregorius had exceeded almost all expectations since being tabbed as Derek Jeter’s replacement at shortstop.In three seasons in The Bronx, Gregorius’ numbers at the plate have improved and he’s been more than solid in the field.But it wasn’t

Severino’s not going to give the Yankees a reason to take him out

HOUSTON — Luis Severino isn’t going to even raise an eyebrow on the mound Friday night in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Astros.When Severino moved his valuable right arm in a circular motion during Game 2 at Minute Maid Park, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and others were concerned

Yankees face unfamiliar position — with the same strategy

HOUSTON — Anything less than a World Series appearance by the Yankees will color the 2017 season as a disappointment.With two chances to win one game against the Astros in the ALCS and advance to the World Series, the Yankees would be wise to treat Justin Verlander in Game 6

Dan Shulman on the Dodgers’ brilliance and Yankees’ surprises

Dan Shulman, who is calling the NLCS and World Series on ESPN Radio, talks Dodgers dominance, an angry Wrigley moment and the Yankees pitching with The Post’s Justin Terranova.Q: What has most impressed you about the Dodgers this postseason?A: It’s how good they have been at taking close pitches, fouling

Joe Girardi is one win from a feat not accomplished this century

HOUSTON — Eight years. That’s two presidential terms. Five “Fast and Furious” movies. Forty half-lives of 80 social media apps that have come and gone.On the baseball matrix, where the Cubs took 108 years to win a title and the Astros lean on the ropes in year 56, eight years

Yankees have barely scratched the surface of what they can be

HOUSTON — The way this works — the way it has worked for decades and decades — is if you do a massive sell-off one year, you do not get to the brink of the World Series the next.You certainly don’t start eliminating the teams to which you sent the

“One game’ means something very different now for Yankees

HOUSTON — And suddenly, the mantra is flipped.One game, Joe Girardi has preached, from the very first hour of October, because that’s when it first applied. One game. Don’t worry about consequence. Don’t worry about ramification. Don’t fret over anything other than the nine innings at hand, the 27 outs

The behind-the-scenes heroes of the Yankees’ pitching success

Whenever Joe Girardi was asked about Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez struggling in the postseason, the Yankees manager would immediately remind people they weren’t facing slop-throwing Quadruple-A pitchers.“Teams that get here have good pitching,’’ Girardi said often and certainly about Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, the Astros’ top two pitchers

Severino can clinch a World Series birth in 1st playoff journey

Luis Severino has gone from getting knocked out in the first inning of the wild-card game to having a chance to pitch the Yankees into the World Series.And despite the team’s concerns about his health during his last outing against the Astros, when he was removed after four innings, the

Gary Sanchez back to doing what he does best

Gary Sanchez’s defense isn’t a concern all of a sudden. His crucial Game 2 mistake isn’t being analyzed anymore.When the Yankees’ catcher is swinging the bat like this, his warts aren’t just camouflaged. They’re insignificant, not even footnotes to his offensive production.The day after he drove in the game-winning runs

Dallas Keuchel is mortal after all

The Yankees no longer need to tip their hats and call Dallas Keuchel their daddy.Entering Game 5 of the ALCS with a 1.09 ERA in eight career starts against them — including 13 shutout innings in two postseason matchups — Keuchel shockingly stumbled, and simply became the latest casualty of

Greg Bird’s season of pain turns into a postseason of joy

The longer Greg Bird talked, the more he smiled.At one point, the Yankees’ first baseman seemed downright giddy when reminded he was nine innings away from a World Series berth.His enthusiasm is understandable, after all he went through this season, missing nearly four months with a right ankle injury that

Yankees reveal the strategy they used to beat Dallas Keuchel

To defeat their greatest nemesis, the Yankees focused on the middle.One more win against these potentially glass-jawed Astros, and they can expand their vision all the way from The Bronx to Southern California (probably). From the Canyon of Heroes to Cooperstown.Ding Dong, Dallas Keuchel’s dominance of the Yankees is dead,