The division series are over, and with them, the postseason field has been whittled down from 10 teams. The team won 101 games this season.
Friday marks game one of the ALCS.
The most important thing of the night: Will the Judge be back in session? Surely, the Astros were taking notes.
By the time his day was over, Sale had allowed six earned runs and nine hits, including six of the extra-base variety, while striking out six over five innings.
Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74) vs.
The Yankees defeating Houston in the ALCS would be an upset.
This is the sixth time McCann has gotten to the playoffs, the first time to a championship series. Both teams are capable of producing big and sudden run totals. But Judge has had a tough time, going just 1 for 20 with 16 strikeouts in the five-game win over Cleveland. While the Yanks were embarking on their improbable comeback against the Indians, the Astros were at home eating popcorn.
Game 2, at Houston. Also, they will exact some revenge on Keuchel, who shut them out for six innings and outdueled Tanaka in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium. He joked that the lefty will probably feel better when he takes the mound and sees players in Yankees uniforms.
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Justin Verlander, who after his 40-pitch relief outing Monday is likeliest to pitch Saturday's Game 2, didn't face the Yankees in the regular season and was hit around in two of his four starts against the Indians this year while a member of the Detroit Tigers.
One key stat to know: There's no effective way to pitch Altuve, which is why he rates as the AL MVP frontrunner.
"We are showing what New Mexico players can do out there in the big leagues", said Houston closing pitcher Ken Giles.
In 341 regular-season at-bats that ended before the pitcher got to two strikes against him, Altuve batted.446 with a.739 slugging percentage. "I love being able to represent them and I try and play, I play hard everyday all the people that have helped me in New Mexico to get to this point", said Houston third baseman Alex Bregman.
The matchup that matters most: It's the postseason, so the bullpens will be a series-long storyline. By contrast, the Astros bullpen has locked down more than 53 percent (54 of 105) of its team's outs.
Game 1 of the best-of-7 ALCS is Friday night in Houston. The Yankees have the arms to at least limit what the Houston offense can do. "But I think it's just a coincidence that my command and location have been better than what it usually is against them". "The Yankees are known for coming back".
To put it bluntly, Tanaka can't falter in Game 1. Rather than flying to Cleveland on Thursday ahead of Game 1 Friday, the Astros would host games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday before heading to NY for games 3, 4 and 5.
On April 25 at Progressive Field, Keuchel pitched a complete game in which he allowed only two runs on a pair of solo blasts. The Astros will score early and ride Keuchel to a 5-2 victory. This isn't the time to start betting against them.
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