Keuchel Looks To Continue Success In ALCS

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The Houston Astros are playing in this year's ALCS game with the New York Yankees on Friday in Houston.

The Indians' bats have gone cold in their four Division Series games - they're batting a combined.173/.275/.316 - on the heels of their best offensive month of the regular season (.280/.353/.490).

By virtue of his home run hat trick, Altuve became the ninth player in MLB history to smack a trio of jacks in a postseason game, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.

The Astros will play the victor of Wednesday's Game 5 between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

"I can recall Masahiro Tanaka saying through his interpreter after Game 3, 'We are going to win Game 4 then go back to Cleveland and take care of business.' It showed enormous confidence even though they were down 1-2". "There's really not a weakness on either side". Even with Cleveland's 22-game win streak and the Dodgers' late-season struggles, Los Angeles still finished with an MLB-best 104 wins. In Game 4 against Cleveland, their pitchers' fastballs averaged a staggering 98 miles per hour, never once dipping below 96 - and that was with Chapman, who sometimes touches 102 and 103 miles per hour, not even participating. We've already talked about Verlander, who will start Game 2, and, while he's been an excellent pickup for Houston, he's had some issues with some of the Yankees hitters, and Chase Headley (.400/.400/.800 over 15 ABs) in particular, with the team as a whole hitting.257/.323/.451 off him.

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Judge had just one hit in the ALDS, but it was a big one. It's Friday the 13th, but the players are not letting that change their game day routine. With Charlie Morton and Brad Peacock filling out the Astros rotation, the depth advantage goes to the Yankees. That's seven homers allowed in his last 10 innings. Often, their first pinch-hitter off the bench is Carlos Beltran, a future Hall-of-Famer with 435 career homers.

"It's a complete lineup throughout", Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said of the Astros. You might call them superstitions.

Andrew Benintendi hit a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth inning and Xander Bogaerts smacked his first career playoff homer, a solo blast in the first, for the Red Sox.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced Wednesday that Dallas Keuchel will start Game 1 of the ALCS. In an era in which the strikeout is king, Keuchel is a throwback - a sinkerball specialist whose ground-ball rate of 66.8 percent was by far the highest in the game this season among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched.

Darvish threw five overpowering innings on Monday, earning his first major league postseason win as the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 to advance to the NLCS.

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"It's just been a culmination of command, location, maybe a little more confidence", Keuchel said of his success.

"I just couldn't get out of my head: 'I didn't think I'd be here".

Keuchel, who ended the Yankees' previous postseason experience in the 2015 wild-card game, will start Game 1 after Verlander closed out the Red Sox in the ALDS.

Houston is 9-2 in its last 11 games. If the relievers are not already exhausted, a long night on Friday will go a long way towards wearing them down for the rest of this series. "There's a lot of weapons down there for Joe [Girardi] to use, and our players know that". It's not a stretch to imagine this series being decided by what happens when the Yankees' powerful bullpen goes to work against the most relentless offense in the game.

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