Masahiro Tanaka to take mound for Yankees in ALCS opener vs. Astros

Ross Houston
October 13, 2017

Masahiro Tanaka will start in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series for the New York Yankees against Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros on Friday night.

The ALCS begins at 8:08 p.m. ET on Friday at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The Astros have never won a World Series since their inception in 1962, and their lone appearance came in 2005 when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in four games.

If series are won with pitching, total, the Yankees have a huge advantage in their bullpen. "His stature is obviously one of the biggest in the game, and it fits kind of the NY mold". NY is also 6-2 in their last eight during game one of a series and 20-8 in their last 28 overall.

The victor of the best-of-7 affair will advance to the World Series.

However, after blowing an 8-3 lead in Game 2, the Yankees rallied in NY, taking both games to even up the series and go back to Cleveland for a decisive Game 5. Gray carried a 1.21 WHIP with 153 strikeouts in 162 1/3 innings during the regular season.

The Astros have not announced their starters for Games 3 and 4. As an Astros pitcher, I would be focusing my attention on containing the other hitters in the Yankees lineup, and force Judge and Sanchez to produce. In his 14-5 record during the regular season, Keuchel posted a 2.90 ERA with 125 Ks.

Tanaka pitched seven shutout innings Sunday to help dig Bombers out of 0-2 hole and begin remarkable comeback to win the ALDS.

I thought maybe the Yankees would try to push Tanaka back to Game Three so he could pitch at home given his big home-road splits, but I'm glad they didn't. However, he managed four walks during the series. NY has been propelled by the home run machine, rookie Aaron Judge. Gardner had three hits, a run and a key RBI in the ninth on Wednesday in Game 5, but Judge came up empty 0-for-5 with four Ks. Altuve ripped eight hits with three homers, four RBI and five runs in the Division Series, while Bregman put up four hits, three runs and two solo homers. And then there's the Yankee Mystique, which is hard to quantify but considering they just beat an even better team in the Indians at plus-145, I'll certainly take my chances again at plus-160.

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