Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

ALCS Preview: Houston Astros Vs. New York Yankees

ALCS Preview: Houston Astros Vs. New York Yankees

The New York Yankees will try to continue their remarkable run through the postseason when they visit the Houston Astros as large road underdogs for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Friday. "I don't know, I mean, we're one of only four teams left, so at this point a lot of guys have had success pitching-wise on either the Indians or the Yankees". If there is no improvement, then in Game 2 against Justin Verlander, Girardi might make a change. Not only is Keuchel 3-1 with a 2.28 ERA over his past four starts, including a win over Boston in Game 2, but he is also arguably the most prolific Yankee-slayer among starting pitchers in modern times.

After a fast start that signaled a young team arriving ahead of schedule, the Yankees rebuilt their bullpen at the trade deadline with the additions of strikeout kings David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle - adding them to a stable that included Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green to form arguably the deepest late-inning corps in the game.

Friday marks game one of the ALCS.

"Just because it's the Yankees you kind of get a little more amped and a little more jittery because it is the pinstripes and such a storied organization", Keuchel said.

On top of offensive woes Gary Sanchez fails to make the play in the bottom of the 9th
On top of offensive woes Gary Sanchez fails to make the play in the bottom of the 9th

"For that win in the wild-card game, it wasn't just special for me and the validation, it was special for everybody to go into NY and play that well", he said. The then National League Astros won the World Series that season. "They have been able to go out there and perform", Beltran said.

The Astros had the 9th best bullpen in baseball by fWAR (5.6) and clocked in all the way down at 20th by RE24 (-15.46). Batting third, he hit only.239 in 63 games, while at the cleanup spot, he was a.219 hitter in just nine games. There was a reason that Houston's manager A.J. Hinch gave the ball to Verlander in Game 4, after all. If he does that and NY still loses, then things still shape up relatively well for the Yankees. The Yankees came in at 14th with 14 DRS and are a better fielding team. Altuve is the Astros biggest threat, with 32 swipes this season. He joked that the lefty will probably feel better when he takes the mound and sees players in Yankees uniforms. NY had the 5th best BsR (10.6) this season, second only to the Nationals (12.2) of the remaining playoff teams. It was a hole they fell into with a gut-wrenching Game 2 loss after manager Joe Girardi failed to challenge a play that opened the door for a stunning Cleveland rally.

Both Bregman and Giles had to work very hard to get to where they are today, but they believe that even though they are just two of the three New Mexico-bred players in the Major League Baseball, more will come. While I'd give the advantage to Houston here, it could go either way. 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. Look for Houston to win the series opener easily by at least two runs. We also know that the baseball gods seem to have quite a fondness for the Yankees.


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