Astros starting Keuchel in Game 1, Verlander in Game 2

"Houston, all year long, led by [Jose] Altuve and [Carlos] Correa, those type of players have been just wonderful at putting those runs on the board and punishing mediocre pitching".

Keuchel's 1.41 ERA against the Yankees ranks first among active pitchers who have made at least five starts against them.

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.

Prediction: Astros in six games.

So, this season marks the first trip to the ALCS for the Astros, and it is also the first trip for two local guys on the roster. After recording two hits, including a two-run homer, in the wild-card victory over the Minnesota Twins, the rookie slugger went 1-for-20 with a playoff series-record 16 strikeouts in the division series against the Cleveland Indians. They know what pitch they're looking for, and, when the see it, they swing. The bulk of that comes at the back of the bullpen.

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One key stat to know: There's no effective way to pitch Altuve, which is why he rates as the AL MVP frontrunner.

In the LDS against the Dodgers, Gurriel was unsafe because he attacked pitches at the top of the strike zone and expanded his hitting zone to reach pitches outside the strike zone. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it marked the second time in 181 career starts that Sale gave up six extra-base hits.

Gurriel also closed the regular season strong, hitting.385 with nine RBIs in his last 15 games.

The Astros scored the most runs in baseball this season and have a formidable 1-2 at the top of the rotation with Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. He's a career.325 hitter with 16 home runs in postseason, including eight in 12 games for the Astros in 2004. He's only reached the World Series once. He went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five regular-season starts with the Astros. On the road, the Astros defeated the Yankees, 3-0. And he has a desire for redemption. The series starts at 7:08 p.m. tonight.

  • Tabitha Byrd