Astros-Yankees: Seven Things To Know Before The ALCS

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While the Astros have a pitching staff full of flamethrowers - bolstered by the addition of former Cy Young Award victor Justin Verlander in August - they have chosen lefty Dallas Keuchel, the softest-tossing pitcher on their staff (88.7 miles per hour average fastball), to start Game 1 for them Friday night, opposite Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

The announcement of starting pitchers were made by the Yankees Thursday afternoon, which was less than a day after the team beat the Cleveland Indians to win their ALDS.

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi paid respect to the Houston Astros, particularly second baseman Jose Altuve.

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2017 regular-season stats:.264 average, 594 AB, 96 runs, 157 hits, 26 doubles, 4 triples, 21 HR, 63 RBIs, 72 BB, 122 K, 23 SB, 5 CS, 151 games.

The Astros are in the championship series for the first time since 2005. Right-hander Justin Verlander will start Game 2. 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. But short of intentionally walking him, as the Red Sox did twice in Game 2 of the division series, taking care to not give him anything to hit early in the count would seem to be the way to go. He struck out nine times in those at-bats. "I think certain veterans on the team steer them in the right direction, too, like CC Sabathia".

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.

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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.

"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. But New York showed itself as a force to be reckoned with by rallying from two games down to oust the Indians. The two teams will play Game 2 Saturday (Oct. 14) at 3 p.m. This isn't the time to start betting against them.

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