Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Keuchel looks to continue success against Yankees in ALCS

Ross D. Franklin  AP Ross D. Franklin AP
Kristopher Love | 13 October, 2017, 18:25

Start with the starters and their co-ace, Dallas Keuchel.

He knows the history. In beating the Boston Red Sox in four games to advance to the ALCS, they averaged six runs per game and posted an OPS of.974.

Thanks in part to Altuve, the Astros wielded Major League Baseball's most prolific offense during the regular season.

"I can recall Masahiro Tanaka saying through his interpreter after Game 3, 'We are going to win Game 4 then go back to Cleveland and take care of business.' It showed huge confidence even though they were down 1-2". "And just because it's the Yankees, you kind of get a little more amped and a little more jittery because it's the pinstripes and such a storied organization". Both veterans hope for another shot to finally win a World Series ring.

So, this season marks the first trip to the ALCS for the Astros, and it is also the first trip for two local guys on the roster.

The Astros have completed 55 seasons without a World Series title (since their inception in 1962), making it the third-longest drought in the majors. Even with Cleveland's 22-game win streak and the Dodgers' late-season struggles, Los Angeles still finished with an MLB-best 104 wins. The main task for the Astros is to get ahead early, as they did in Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS against Boston, with the top of the order remaining hot.

Beltran, the 40-year-old designated hitter in his 20th big league season, admits that he was a bit surprised at how quickly the youngsters developed. "We're well aware he's had success against the Yankees and we've very confident in this ball park".

The Yankees begin that challenge Friday night with the start of the ALCS after rallying from an 0-2 deficit against the heavily favored Indians. You might call them superstitions. "He knows he can get out anybody in the league". Judge, the 6-foot-7 rookie right fielder, hit an AL-best 52 homers this year.

The Astros' prolific offence is the flawless blend of power and savvy base-hitting, a big reason they were able to dominate so many teams offensively this season. Masahiro Tanaka will pitch for NY, which is in the championship series for the first time since 2012.

"It's the way our team is built", Astros catcher Brian McCann said.

But Tanaka didn't survive the second inning May 14 against the Astros, who just got through knocking around Red Sox starting pitching for 16 runs in 11⅔ innings over four games. "There's no let-up".

The Yankees announced their rotation on Thursday, one day after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 of the AL Division Series.

"We have to figure out a way to handle their bullpen, to avoid their home-run power and and get some of them to swing and miss", Hinch said. But that could also mean that they're ripe for a Game 1 letdown. If you're in Houston and want to take in the game in person, StubHub has tickets available.

The Yankees' bullpen depth has rescued them this postseason, beginning in the wild card game against Minnesota, when starter Luis Severino was yanked after recording just one out, leaving 26 outs for the bullpen to cover - which it did, with 10 from Robertson, seven from Kahnle, six from Green and the last three from Chapman. They beat the Yankees five out of the seven times they played this year.