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American League Wild-Card Game Preview : Houston Astros at New York Yankees

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The #Process comes to fruition in the Bronx.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

American League Wild-Card Game Preview : Houston Astros at New York Yankees, Oct. 6, 2015

This is a bit surreal. The Astros are in the playoffs. Of course, nothing is easy in the playoffs and the Yankees are by no means easy. The Astros can exercise some demons with the Yankees if they win, the Astros made a big push for Masahiro Tanaka and Andrew Miller, Brian McCann and Carlos Gomez heated past, and then there is Carlos Beltran.

The upstart Astros can further impress Major League Baseball if they can win a game after such a short time after losing 100 games three-straight seasons. Houston turns to its ace Dallas Keuchel on three days rest to make that happen.

Pitching

LHP Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)

Dallas Keuchel has been by far the Astros ace, having been made the AL Pitcher of the Month three times this year and starting the 2015 All-Star game for the American League. Keuchel has been lights out at home, but he is 5-8 with a 3.77 ERA in 15 road starts this season. In Sept./Oct., he is 4-2 with 3.66 ERA in six starts.

This is the first time Keuchel has pitched on three days rest in his career. He has pitched on two days rest once, posting 6 innings of two-run baseball. Keuchel is 2-1 with a 1.13 in three career starts against the Yankees -- including 16 scoreless innings against New York this season.

NEW YORK YANKEES CAREER STATISTICS VS. DALLAS KEUCHEL
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
20 6 2 1 0 2 1 2 0.300 0.333 0.500 0.833
Carlos Beltran 9 4 1 0 1 2 1 1 0.444 0.500 0.889 1.389
13 3 1 0 1 3 0 6 0.231 0.231 0.538 0.769
7 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.286 0.375 0.286 0.661
5 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.400 0.400 0.400 0.800
Mark Teixeira 8 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 0.250 0.333 0.250 0.583
7 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 0.143 0.143 0.143 0.286
7 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

The Yankees paid top dollar for Masahiro Tanaka for this time of game. Tanaka missed his second last start with a hamstring strain. In his last outing, he gave up four runs over five innings against Boston.

Tanaka is 7-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 starts this season at Yankee Stadium. In his one career start against Houston, Tanaka gave up six runs over five innings.

HOUSTON ASTROS CAREER STATISTICS VS. MASAHIRO TANAKA
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
9 3 2 0 0 0 0 2 0.333 0.333 0.556 0.889
2 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 1.000 1.000 3.000 4.000
3 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 0.667 0.667 1.667 2.333
Carlos Gomez 2 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 1.000 1.500 2.500
3 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0.333 0.333 1.333 1.667
1 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Didi Gregorius 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Jose Pirela 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Brendan Ryan 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

Batting

Luis Valbuena and Colby Rasmus have come alive in the week leading up to the playoffs. Valbuena is batting .538 (7-13) with three doubles and two home runs. Rasmus is 7-for-15 with three home runs. George Springer is the spark the Astros need, he is batting .467 (11x24) with three doubles and home run in the team's last five games.

Rob Refsnyder, Greg Bird, and Carlos Beltran have led the way for the Yankees lineup over the past week -- all three are batting over .300 with at least 16-bats in the team's last 16 games. Refsnyder leads the team with three extra base hits (two doubles, one home run)

Prediction

I'm riding with Dallas Keuchel, the Astros win 5-3.