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Houston Matters

Astros-Yankees: Seven Things To Know Before The ALCS

What needs to go right for the Astros to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and earn the franchise’s second trip to the World Series? Jeff Balke tells us a few key factors necessary for a Houston victory.


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The Astros host the Yankees tonight (Oct. 13, 2017) in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park. The two teams will play Game 2 Saturday (Oct. 14) at 3 p.m.

The best-of-seven series pits the team with the most World Series championships (the Yankees, with 27) against a team with only one trip to the Fall Classic in its history (a 2005 sweep at the hands of the White Sox).

Jeff Balke joins us for a quick preview of the series. He writes for Houston Press and Houstonia Magazine.


Extra Arms: The Astros’ roster for the ALCS features one more pitcher than the previous round. Why? Jeff says this is a longer series than the five-game ALDS. And the Astros might need more arms to come in from the bullpen to get through it.

First Two Games: The first two games (both at home) are key for the Astros, in which they’ll have their best two pitchers starting. The key will be if they can get their starters to go deep into games — instead of lasting only to the third or fourth inning.

Keuchel v. The Yanks: Dallas Keuchel starts Game 1. In the past, he has owned the Yankees. The Astros need that to continue.

Verlander v. Severino: In Game 2, Luis Severino starts for the Yankees while Justin Verlander starts for the Astros. While Severino has been good (except for his first start of the postseason). Verlander has been better — especially in the second half.

Biggest Horses: Expect the Astros to ride their biggest horses in this series — Verlander, Keuchel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer. These are the guys that got them here, and they’re the ones who will take them beyond.

Yankees Relievers v. Astros Hitters: The Yankee bullpen features several really hard-throwing relievers. And while that can strike fear in a lot of teams, the Astros are the best fastball-hitting team in baseball. So it will be interesting to see them pitted against each other.

Staying Loose At The Plate: The Astros don’t average a very high number of pitches per at-bat. In other words, they’ve become very disciplined at the plate and are aggressive about it. They know what pitch they’re looking for, and, when the see it, they swing. Here, Jeff says, the matchup favors the Astros. The question will be whether they can continue to be that loose-swinging team when things are tight under the pressure of a World Series berth at stake.

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