The Yankees and Astros play Game 1 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Friday night in Houston at 8:08 p.m.
|George Springer, CF||Brett Gardner, LF|
|Josh Reddick, RF||Aaron Judge, RF|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||Gary Sanchez, C|
|Carlos Correa, SS||Didi Gregorius, SS|
|Marwin Gonzalez, LF||Starlin Castro, 2B|
|Yuli Gurriel, 1B||Aaron Hicks, CF|
|Carlos Beltran, DH||Greg Bird, 1B|
|Alex Bregman, 3B||Matt Holliday, DH|
|Brian McCann, C||Todd Frazier, 3B|
Who is starting for the Yankees?
RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who tossed seven shutout innings while allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out seven in 7.0 innings in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Indians.
He allowed eight runs on seven hits (including four home runs) while walking one and striking out three in 1 2/3 innings against the Astros at Yankee Stadium on May 14.
Who is starting for the Astros?
RHP Dallas Keuchel, who allowed one run on three hits while walking three and striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Red Sox.
He allowed one run (unearned) on five hits while walking one and striking out nine in 6.0 innings against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 11.
1. Solve Dallas Keuchel
Well, how about battle vigorously against Dallas Keuchel? Keuchel has dominated the Yankees in the past, most notably in the 2015 AL Wild Card Game, so there's a good chance that New York will have a rough go with the bats in Game 1. However, much the same was believed against Cleveland's Corey Kluber and the Yankees knocked him out early in both games he started in the ALDS. The Yanks will need the same approach and then the readiness to take advantage of the few mistakes they see in the batter's box. Never say never.
2. Tanaka must match Keuchel
Since scoring will seemingly be at a minimum against Keuchel, it is imperative that Tanaka turn in an effort similar in dominance to his last two starts (15-strikeout season finale and seven scoreless innings in ALDS Game 3). As with the hitter's dilemma against Keuchel, Tanaka will have his hands full with the best offense in the game and one that hit four homers off him in his only regular season start against them in 2017.
3. Make it a bullpen battle
Without a doubt, the Yankees maintain an edge in the bullpen. Yankees relievers have been remarkable during the postseason, while the Astros crew has survived some bumps in the road. If the Yankees can make this a "bullpen" game, they instantly have an advantage and might put themselves into a great position to steal Game 1.