The New York Yankees couldn’t do anything against Houston Astros starter Framber Valdez in Thursday’s Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
The Astros won 3-2, and if the Yankees managed to score two runs, it was because Valdez made two costly one-play errors that put the runners on second and third without out in the fourth inning.
Otherwise, he was magnificent last night: in seven innings, the southpaw allowed only four hits (and the two unearned runs) and no walks, with nine strikeouts to his credit.
Yankees batters still have nightmares about Valdez’s curveball.
“Framber Valdez’s 16 curveball puffs from the ALCS 2 game,” tweeted Rob Friedman, also known as the “Pitching Ninja,” along with video of the 16 times the Yanks swung and missed Valdez’s hook.
The 16 puffs of Framber Valdez on Curveballs from the game ALCS 2. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/zTtDt2kux4
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 21, 2022
Curveball by Valdez is a thing of beauty
It’s something worth watching over and over again.
The pitch has a horizontal and vertical break, and since it is also fast and this break is sharp and sudden, it is very difficult to hit.
Add his elite mastery of the field to that mix and you have 16 puffs.
It was an incredible display of left-handedness.
By the end of the night, Valdez had 25 total swings and missed if you add up all of his throws.
It’s the Yankees’ highest sniff total against a pitcher since 2019.
Valdez was perhaps the main reason Houston won last night’s game and now heads to New York with a 2-0 Championship Series lead.
The situation is not improving for the Yankees, as right-hander Lance McCullers, another curveball artist, hits the rubber on Saturday in Game 3.