Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Astros' Superstitions: What they'll do this game day

Astros' Superstitions: What they'll do this game day

Start with the starters and their co-ace, Dallas Keuchel.

The Houston Astros might not know yet who they'll play in the American League Championship Series, but they do know who'll be on the mound when the series begins. He defeated the Yankees in the 2015 AL Wild Card game with six scoreless innings.

Thanks in part to Altuve, the Astros wielded Major League Baseball's most prolific offense during the regular season.

Alex Bregman and Altuve went back-to-back off Red Sox starter Chris Sale in the first inning, and that was just the start of a rude awakening for the AL Cy Young Award candidate in his first career postseason start. "And just because it's the Yankees, you kind of get a little more amped and a little more jittery because it's the pinstripes and such a storied organization". He's only reached the World Series once. Do the same against the Yankees and the Astros will feel ready to validate an exceptional regular season into a franchise-first championship. He's 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in the World Series. But with a 101-61 regular-season record in 2017, they won the AL West in Secretariat-like fashion - 21 games over the Anaheim Angels.

Both the Yankees and Cubs are the underdogs, though they'll be heading into their respective series with plenty of momentum.

"It's a complete lineup throughout", Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said of the Astros. "I'm not concerned. I think they're in a good state mentally". "He knows he can get out anybody in the league".

Now in possession of a 1-0 series lead, the Astros will attempt to double their advantage Friday when they hand the ball over to 2015 Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel. The victor of that first game will get a leg up on reaching the World Series, which neither team has played in for quite some time.

"It's the way our team is built", Astros catcher Brian McCann said.

Keuchel gets the nod in the opener after pitching behind Justin Verlander in the ALDS. "There's no let-up".

Game 5, at NY. The Astros strike out less, far less, than any other team in baseball, and that's largely a function of them not being intimidated by the sort of heat that pervades the game these days. The bulk of that comes at the back of the bullpen.

The Yankees' bullpen depth has rescued them this postseason, beginning in the wild card game against Minnesota, when starter Luis Severino was yanked after recording just one out, leaving 26 outs for the bullpen to cover - which it did, with 10 from Robertson, seven from Kahnle, six from Green and the last three from Chapman. "The new age (of hitters) - lift the ball, get under the ball ... trajectory, backspin, you name it, they have a bunch of those guys. It's tough. When you're a manager there, you're going to go through a lot of criticism, a lot of ups and a lot more downs", third baseman Todd Frazier said. Judge can be incredibly hot, but right now he is incredibly cold. Four of those strikeouts Wednesday night belonged to Judge, who hit just.050 with 16 strikeouts in 20 at-bats in the series. 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".

Like this: