ALCS Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka to start for New York Yankees vs

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is introduced before Game

He knows the history. Left-hander CC Sabathia will start Game 3 when the series moves to NY, and right-hander Sonny Gray will pitch Game 4.

The only playoff game Beltran and McCann had with the Yankees was a loss to the Astros in the 2015 AL wild card game.

Rather than shrug it off as meaningless, Keuchel acknowledges the significance of that moment and the juice of facing a team so accustomed to baseball's October spotlight.

"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". It is still uncertain if he will get an 11th year as the Yankees skipper. He's only reached the World Series once. He's 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in the World Series. The team won 101 games this season. The Astros will present something of a top-heavy rotation, with aces Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander going in Games 1 and 2. But the arrow is pointing upward for both franchises, which are here in large part because of a core of young players that is controllable for the next few seasons.

"Extremely talented offensively", Girardi said of the Astros. "We're well aware he's had success against the Yankees and we've very confident in this ball park". Chicago also won a winner-take-all Game 5 on the road two nights before the start of the championship series, defeating the Washington Nationals Thursday. I think when you look at them it's a complete lineup throughout. "He knows he can get out anybody in the league".

If the Yankees win: They will steal away home-field advantage and make life much easier than it was in the division series. They're aggressive on the base paths so you have to control that.

The best-of-seven series will feature the two highest-scoring offenses in baseball this season - with the Astros' 896 runs representing the most by any team in almost a decade - as well as the two bullpens with the highest strikeout rates in the game.

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Verlander may be the one who gets them there. "There's no let-up". But New York showed itself as a force to be reckoned with by rallying from two games down to oust the Indians.

"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. And in Game 1, they didn't waste any time putting it to good use. "But when I was behind the scenes and got to see these young guys play, perform and the way (Aaron) Judge came out this year, it's no surprise they're in the position they're in".

"When it comes down to it, we'll be playing baseball, but it is a little bit more fun to be playing back-to-back with the Red Sox and the Yankees".

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.

"Oh, he's a great player, and he's been for a number of years here", Girardi said. "It's tough. When you're a manager there, you're going to go through a lot of criticism, a lot of ups and a lot more downs", third baseman Todd Frazier said.

Judge, is a hot topic coming into the series, of course. Judge, the top rookie and MVP candidate, had one hit in 20 at-bats with two walks and 16 strikeouts.

"I have been trying to hit it the other way so it felt good", said Bellinger. "He can hurt you in so many different ways".

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