While that may not end up playing into what happens on Tuesday night, those numbers at least do fall in the favor of the Yankees.
In head-to-head matchups this season, the Astros won four of seven games against the Yankees, two of which were at Yankee Stadium.
Keuchel has been outstanding this season, compiling a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts. While Tanaka’s WHIP is an impressive 0.99, he did give up 25 home runs in only 154 innings.
Perhaps the Astros’ lone concern about Keuchel for Tuesday is that he won’t be pitching in Houston, where he went 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA. Keuchel has proven himself a Yankee slayer earlier in the season, but even though he’s undefeated at home the simple truth is he usually loses on the road.
A three-year letterwinner for Arkansas, Keuchel went 9-3 with a 3.92 ERA for the Razorbacks in 2009.
The last time the Yankees won a World Series was in 2009 where they beat the Philadelphia Phillies. Kansas City’s a fine club and the defending American League champions, but the Yankees are probably better off avoiding the Jays in the ALDS if they can advance, considering their ugly 6-13 record against Toronto in the regular season. Kuechel is pitching on three days rest for the first time in his career.
Tanaka missed most of the last two weeks of the season with a hamstring injury. “Whether or not I feel good when the game starts, it’s going to be up to me to start the game and help the team win”.
Jason Castro, who has caught Keuchel throughout his development into this year’s AL All-Star Game starter, credits a slider the left-hander can spot well repeatedly as one of the keys to his success.
Both of these teams could have distanced themselves from the rest of the American League field down the stretch, and both of them fell flat on their faces. “I think we’re ready”.
Since September 1, the Yankees have scored 133 runs. The gamble Houston and other playoff teams will make starting their pitchers on short rest could decide their fates this postseason.
“It all starts over (now)”, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. They’re not by any means a great defensive team, but neither are the Astros.
“All semblance of an order of our bullpen is kind of off right now in a one-game playoff”, Girardi said.
The Yankees are coming into this game after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees have not been in the postseason for a couple years and now they are in, while the Astros ended a drought that lasted a decade and they are back in. More importantly, if the Yankees have the lead late, the final three have shown on most nights to be able to close out wins and often times they’ve been dominate in doing so.
Ultimately, this game could come down to something that the Kansas City Royals re-introduced us to last season, and it’s something that the Houston Astros have an advantage in. Only four players on the active roster for the Yankees played during the 2012 playoffs: Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova, and Adam Warren (via MLB).