What to expect from Yankees-Astros ALCS

Yankees DH is Girardi's 'biggest decision' for Game 5

With the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks each winning their Wild Card games to advance to the division series, eight teams are now aspiring to search for the title to either reclaim it or end a longtime drought of postseason misfortune. But shortstop Didi Gregorius was awesome on Wednesday, hitting a pair of home runs in his first two turns against Kluber to put NY up 3-0.

As if that were not enough, NY has some intangibles in play as it goes into the series with Houston.

Pitching was the name of the game for the Yankees in the ALDS, as CC Sabathia, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka combined for three excellent starts to propel NY to come back from the two-game deficit. Also, a seven-game series is slightly different than a five-game series. After the tense five games in the ALDS, I'm not sure NY is going to come out firing here.

The man who earned front-page glory, shortstop Didi Gregorius, whose two home runs gave NY the early lead, which they never gave up. Keucheul is 6-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 71 2/3 home innings this season. Games 1 and 2 will be played at Minute Maid Park. He allowed one unearned run on five hits with nine strikeouts and one walk over six innings in a win over the Yankees earlier this year.

So it's possible the Yankees could go with Tanaka in Game 3, with Luis Severino, fresh off his fantastic Game 4, starting Game 2. Houston will also run out Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36), Brad Peacock (13-2, 3.00) and Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62).

Judge and Sanchez this season combined for 88 home runs, with Judge setting a rookie record with 52 blasts, and 204 RBIs. Gardner had three hits, a run and a key RBI in the ninth on Wednesday in Game 5, but Judge came up empty 0-for-5 with four Ks.

The starting pitching in this series tilts the Astros' way with the addition of the veteran Verlander, although when the Yankees' pitchers at are their best it makes for a very formidable group.

For the second time in three years, the New York Yankees will meet the Houston Astros in the MLB Playoffs. Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman both had two home runs to help lead Houston to the series win. NY might win a couple games in the ALCS when hitters like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are able to carry them, but ultimately it's hard to envision Houston not winning the series.

The Astros are the nation's sentimental favorites after what Hurricane Harvey did to Houston, and they have never won a World Series. Counting the AL Wild Card game, the Yankees have survived elimination in four games.

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