Masahiro Tanaka to take mound for Yankees in ALCS opener vs. Astros

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Game 3, at NY. And in Game 1, they didn't waste any time putting it to good use. And you count outs a little bit faster in the postseason than you do even in the regular season. But how the New York Yankees and Houston Astros got to this point no longer matters.

Dallas Keuchel is exhausted of talking about his success against the New York Yankees. Houston stole 98 bases this season, and in the playoffs, those kinds of plays are the ones that give a team an edge - and can rattle a pitcher. "We got to keep going and stay sharp".

Astros infielder Alex Bregman belted a game-tying home run off Red Sox ace hurler Chris Sale - pitching in relief - to lead off the eighth inning and Josh Reddick delivered a two-out run-batted-in single later in the inning off of Red Sox closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel that put the Astros up 4-3. Nope, we're going to have to through the individual elements of each team and see if we can figure anything out. The Astros are the better team and have home-field advantage. Keuchel has held the players on the Yankees' roster to a collective.184/.215/.282 slash line.

Altuve has kept up his blistering pace in the postseason, where he's hitting.533 with three homers and four RBIs. The rest of the lineup is no joke, either, as it's hard outs up and down the lineup.

The Yankees' last appearance in the Fall Classic came in 2009, when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. It might be surprising to discover that Judge was not only the least clutch player in Major League Baseball, but the least clutch player in Major League Baseball going back to 1974.

By fWAR, the Astros' and Yankees' rotations clocked in at the exact same 15.2 on the season.

But rather than a letdown, Girardi expects his Yankees to carry the positives forward to the ALCS. He matched a season high by striking out nine and allowed only an unearned run against them on May 11 at Yankee Stadium.

Manager A.J. Hinch announced Wednesday that Dallas Keuchel will start Game 1 and Justin Verlander will start Game 2.

Now in possession of a 1-0 series lead, the Astros will attempt to double their advantage Friday when they hand the ball over to 2015 Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel. Game 1 will start at 8:08 p.m. ET on Friday.

Tanaka pitched a stellar outing in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Indians when the Yankees were facing elimination.

Yankee pitchers have to be very careful with this lineup. Process that for a moment, it's ridiculous.

"Now we are just hours away from the Astros and another big challenge". This is a really, really deep, really, really good bullpen. The Astros bullpen had a 4.27 ERA and 21 blown saves.

Game 5, at NY.

"There's so many young guys on this team that maybe they don't realize they are supposed to lose", Singleton said. "Going all the way, Houston will not have liftoff". Altuve is the Astros biggest threat, with 32 swipes this season.

"It takes time, now players are getting noticed". Had they won, Cleveland would have had Kluber for the opener of the ALCS.

Whether or not Houston "deserves" to win the series, of course, has nothing to do with what will actually happen. I'm from Houston originally and have family and friends there, so I am personally aware of how badly Hurricane Harvey decimated the city and, while it's not as if winning a championship will undo any of that, it's certainly a welcome civic unifier and distraction from worrying about the aftermath and rebuilding. Another trip to the World Series for the Yankees, well, not so much. We also know that the baseball gods seem to have quite a fondness for the Yankees.

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