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ALCS Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka to start for New York Yankees vs

14 October 2017

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 Astros host the Yankees tonight (Oct. 13, 2017) in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park. NY has been propelled by the home run machine, rookie Aaron Judge.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is ready to help Houston beat the Yankees after enjoying a banner year.

The most important thing of the night: Will the Judge be back in session?

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The Yankees, in defeating the favored Cleveland Indians in a five-game Division Series, have single-handedly redefined what is possible from a championship team in these high-octane times. Counting the AL Wild Card game, the Yankees have survived elimination in four games. Surely, the Astros were taking notes. The last time the Astros got this far, it was 2005 - and they were in the National League.

Beltran has been in 58 career playoff games for five different teams. While the Yanks were embarking on their improbable comeback against the Indians, the Astros were at home eating popcorn.

Prediction: Astros in six games. Sabathia, Luis Severino and Tanaka combined to give up seven runs in 23 ²/₃ innings before handing the ball over to a bullpen that dominated the final three games of the series. The two are front-runners to MVP after Altuve led the majors with a.346 average and Judge was first in the AL with 52 homers. "And then he was, 'Yes, we did.' I remember I saw my phone and MLB At Bat said, 'OK, Astros acquire Justin Verlander.' And I couldn't believe it", Altuve said.

"Oh, he's a great player, and he's been for a number of years here", Girardi said. "Good luck, I guess". And the Astros might need more arms to come in from the bullpen to get through it.

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Game 1, though, will hinge on whether the Yankees are finally able to hit Keuchel, who has been harder for them to figure out than a Rubik's Cube. However, he tattoos Game 1 starter Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray. Yankees hitters are 19-for-103 (.184) with four walks and 35 strikeouts against him. So if I wait until game three, you don't know if you're going to get there.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 ALCS is Friday night in Houston. But that could also mean that they're ripe for a Game 1 letdown.

If the game of baseball has entered some new evolutionary realm this season, populated by flame-throwing pitchers and all-or-nothing sluggers who together pushed home run and strikeout totals to record highs, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees represent its pinnacle - the most highly evolved species of this new era of baseball.

Alex Bregman and Altuve went back-to-back off Red Sox starter Chris Sale in the first inning, and that was just the start of a rude awakening for the AL Cy Young Award candidate in his first career postseason start. The Astros will score early and ride Keuchel to a 5-2 victory. This isn't the time to start betting against them.

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ALCS Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka to start for New York Yankees vs