The Yankees announced their rotation on Thursday, one day after defeating the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 of the AL Division Series.
That won't last, especially because much of the focus heading into the American League Championship Series is on the top two American League MVP candidates, Judge and Houston Astros second baseman, Jose Altuve, who at 5-6 is just slightly smaller.
Saturday's Game 2 start will go to right-hander Luis Severino, who worked seven strong innings, in New York's Game 4 win over Cleveland. "So you need to make pitches". But the Game 1 result isn't necessarily what's important for Tanaka. He went 8-for-15 in the division series and homered three times in Game 1, prompting Red Sox star Mookie Betts to best sum up the challenge of figuring out how to beat Altuve: "I'm not exactly sure what a game plan for him is".
Dallas Keuchel is exhausted of talking about his success against the New York Yankees. NY came back from a 2-0 series deficit in the ALDS, beating the Cleveland Indians on the road in a deciding Game 5.
This all boils down to a very simple idea.
But if the Astros have never faced a bullpen such as the Yankees' - simply because one this deep and talented has never existed before this season, and these teams last met in early July - it is also true the Yankees' relievers have never faced a lineup quite like the Astros'.
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Still, it's a group that's been heavily taxed.
Game 4, at New York, Tuesday, Time TBD.
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Tanaka has certainly delivered the best outing from the starters in the postseason.
"We have to figure out a way to handle their bullpen, to avoid their home-run power and and get some of them to swing and miss", Hinch said.
Home-field advantage is an obvious factor the Astros would glean from a Yankees win. That's the real reason fans saw so numerous playoffs teams' quality starting pitchers - Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Trevor Bauer, Jon Lester - called into relief duty in the best-of-five division series, guys that had started either Game 1 or 2. One year he has been better on normal rest and the next year he is better on longer rest.
A exhausted bullpen for the Yankees will spell a lot of trouble in the series, even they still manage a Game 1 win.
Houston will be playing for the first time in four days. The Astros also struck out fewer times than any team in the league. The Astros hit.333 with a.974 OPS against Boston, slamming eight homers and scoring 24 runs.
Thanks in part to Altuve, the Astros wielded Major League Baseball's most prolific offense during the regular season. And it doesn't hurt that they wound up with home-field advantage.
Game 5, at NY. We're not expecting it, but it wouldn't be the upset of the century, either. His biggest win to date against them came in the 2015 AL wild-card game when he and the then-upstart Astros got a 3-0 win in the Bronx. "And just because it's the Yankees, you get a little bit more amped and jittery".
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