Sports

Houston sends Keuchel to hill in ALCS Game 1 vs. Yankees

Houston sends Keuchel to hill in ALCS Game 1 vs. Yankees

Counting the AL Wild Card game, the Yankees have survived elimination in four games.

And assuming Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge are the top two finishers in the AL MVP race, it will mark the fourth ALCS in the past 25 years to feature both the MVP and runner-up.

In that series, Tanaka pitched for NY in Game 3 allowing 3 hits, while striking out 7 and walking 1 in New York's 1-0 win. The southpaw has a 0.96 ERA in three postseason starts in Houston, and he put together a strong outing of 5.2 innings in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Red Sox. He struck out nine times in those at-bats.

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"I have a ton of confidence in him", Girardi said of Tanaka.

Starting for Houston in Game 2 opposite Severino will be veteran Justin Verlander, who the Astros acquired late in the season from the Detroit Tigers.

But if the Astros have never faced a bullpen such as the Yankees' - simply because one this deep and talented has never existed before this season, and these teams last met in early July - it is also true the Yankees' relievers have never faced a lineup quite like the Astros'.

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Chatter about Girardi's future in the Bronx has been muffled since the Yankees became only the 10th team to win a best-of-five series after dropping the first two games. So if I wait until game three, you don't know if you're going to get there. I didn't think I'd be back in Cleveland at all, ' " the longtime Yankees analyst said Thursday morning after arriving in Houston overnight. "They're aggressive on the base paths, so you have to control that". But that could also mean that they're ripe for a Game 1 letdown. Tanaka isn't necessarily the best option for the Yankees, especially with his struggles on the road this season, but with the other starters in the rotation working back to full rest, he's the go-to guy for Game 1.

"We are showing what New Mexico players can do out there in the big leagues", said Houston closing pitcher Ken Giles. This isn't the time to start betting against them.

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