Yankees to Send Masahiro Tanaka Against Astros in Game 1

Astros starting Keuchel in Game 1, Verlander in Game 2

Right-hander Luis Severino will start Saturday's Game 2 in Houston. So it will be interesting to see them pitted against each other. NY was down 0-2 in the five-game series, but avoided elimination three times. The Yankees' last ALCS appearance was in 2012.

In Game 5, the Yankees again did something that might have seemed impossible at an earlier point in the game's evolution: Their hitters struck out 16 times in a 5-2 win - making them the first team in history to win a nine-inning postseason game in which they whiffed that many times.

But Tanaka didn't survive the second inning May 14 against the Astros, who just got through knocking around Red Sox starting pitching for 16 runs in 11⅔ innings over four games. In Game 4, 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. Here, Jeff says, the matchup favors the Astros. I think when you look at them it's a complete lineup throughout.

The next round begins Friday night, with the Houston Astros hosting the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

Biggest Horses: Expect the Astros to ride their biggest horses in this series - Verlander, Keuchel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer. "They're going to hit their home runs, but they're going to do a lot of other things offensively, so you need to make pitches". These are the guys that got them here, and they're the ones who will take them beyond. In particular, it will bear watching how a Yankees bullpen loaded with hard-throwing relievers fares against an Astros offense that mashed heaters to the tune of.301/.373/.525 during the regular season.

Chatter about Girardi's future in the Bronx has been muffled since the Yankees became only the 10th team to win a best-of-five series after dropping the first two games. On the road, the Astros defeated the Yankees, 3-0. We're about to find out.