Astros starting Keuchel in Game 1, Verlander in Game 2

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Start with the starters and their co-ace, Dallas Keuchel. "With young players, their slumps are usually longer because they don't really know themselves as hitters in the major leagues".

The Astros are playing in their first Championship Series since 2005, when they reached the World Series as a National League team.

If anyone doubted that NY was good enough to win the World Series, that likely changed with the team's ALDS win over the Cleveland Indians.

Unlike the pitcher, manager A.J. Hinch didn't shy away from singing Keuchel's praises for his work against the Yankees. The Yankees' rotation was impressive against Cleveland after Sonny Gray's Game 1 flop.

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Game 4, at New York, Tuesday, Time TBD. I didn't think I'd be back in Cleveland at all, ' " the longtime Yankees analyst said Thursday morning after arriving in Houston overnight. "Then after that is where it gets a little thought-provoking, I guess". Six of his nine hits in the LDS fit that description.

The Astros will play the victor of Wednesday's Game 5 between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. "And there's a lot of times that he really gets on a roll and he puts a bunch of them together and we're going to need a good one from him tomorrow". Verlander, who was acquired on August 31, made his first career relief appearance to help eliminate the Red Sox in Game 4 on Monday.

"So, look, having Verlander and Keuchel in the decision that goes one, two, the fact that we have both is a huge advantage for us". But short of intentionally walking him, as the Red Sox did twice in Game 2 of the division series, taking care to not give him anything to hit early in the count would seem to be the way to go.

"I have a ton of confidence in him", Girardi said of Tanaka.

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Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74) vs. He bounced back this year despite neck issues, posting a 14-5 record with a 2.90 ERA to help the Astros run away with the AL West title. He's 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in the postseason. "We felt like that we could win this series, but we knew it was going to be tough", said Astros manager AJ Hinch. He got a win as a starter and one in relief against Boston, giving up three runs in 8 2/3 innings. He allowed just three hits in seven scoreless innings in his second career postseason game. They led all of baseball in home runs, have an MVP candidate in Aaron Judge, one of the best bullpens in the game and had the second best run differential in all of baseball. New York's offense didn't have a standout performance like Houston, but the league's second-highest scoring team showed how risky it can be against baseball's best pitching staff.

Altuve has kept up his blistering pace in the postseason, where he's hitting.533 with three homers and four RBIs. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, if not the greatest regular-season starter of all time.

The 25-year-old Judge isn't daunted by his hard postseason. "But I think it's just a coincidence that my command and location have been better than what it usually is against them". NY was down 0-2 in the five-game series, but avoided elimination three times. CC Sabathia will start Game 3 on Monday in NY. Houston's hasn't announced its rotation past Saturday.

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