2017 American League Championship Series, Game 5
Houston Astros (2-2) vs. New York Yankees (2-2), Oct. 18, 2017, 4:08 p.m. CDT
LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 0.71 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .250 BABIP, 2.12 xFIP in the playoffs) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 1.38 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, .206 BABIP, 3.45 xFIP in the playoffs)
WHAT THE HELL? The Astros at one point led the American League Championship Series 2-0. And led game four 4-0? WHAT HAPPENED? Well the Yankees happened. A team that stats-wise was equal to the Astros. A team that has name-brands in three of their four starting pitching spots. The Baby Bombers showed their potential in three games.
But all is not lost. The Astros still have the arguably the deepest lineup in baseball and Dallas Keuchel start in Game 5.
Dallas Keuchel has straight up owned the Yankees, especially in the playoffs. Keuchel is 6-2 with a 1.09 ERA with 62 strikeouts and eight walks in eight career starts (two playoff starts). The 1.09 ERA is the lowest all-time against the Yankees in at least 50 innings pitched against New York. Keuchel has pitched 13 scoreless innings in two playoff starts.
Masahiro Tanaka, the $155 million dollar man, has been worth every dollar in the 2017 playoffs. Tanaka allowed two runs over six innings in game one against the Astros.
But Tanaka is 0-2 with 10.38 ERA in four regular season career starts against the Astros. The Astros will either get to the norm against Tanaka in game 5 or we can start talking choke with Houston.
Starlin Castro and Chase Headley each have eight strikeouts against Keuchel. Aaron Hicks is 2-for-11 with a home run and Aaron Judge is 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Yankees career stats against Dallas Keuchel
Carlos Correa is 5-for-10 with a two home runs and George Springer is 4-for-9 with two home runs against Tanaka.
Astros career stats against Masahiro Tanaka
Keys to success
Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve
The heart of the Astros lineup hasn’t been able to get it going in New York. Yes, the Yankees are pitching around both players and both players are pressing with less-than-ideal pitches. But Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez have had their big games in The Bronx, it's time for Correa and Altuve to punch back.
Peacock will likely be the first pitcher called upon out of the pen if Keuchel struggles. Peacock is 0-0 with a 16.20 ERA in two relief appearances at Yankee Stadium (3 ER, 1 2⁄3 IP).
The Astros need a Cy Young level start to save the Astros season. Plain and simple. In Keuchel, we trust.