AL Wild Card
The Houston Astros will travel east to take on the New York Yankees for the right to the AL Wild Card. This has the makings of a classic David and Goliath matchup (just look at the payroll of these two teams). Houston is a surprise contender, finishing in the bottom half of the division for the past six seasons.
While many might not have expected this Astros to be contenders this soon, don’t tell this Houston team they can’t compete. They bashed 230 home runs, good for second in all of baseball. Their starting pitcher for Tuesday night’s game? Mr. Dallas Keuchel, who could very easily win the AL Cy Young this season. However, he’ll pitch on just three days rest. It’s hard to blame the Astros for throwing their best pitcher in a winner take all game, though.
The Yankees will counter with their ace, Masahiro Tanaka. He has pitched well this season, to the tune of a 3.51 era. However, we must note that his 25 homers allowed in 24 starts is a formula that could spell trouble, facing a powerful Astros lineup.
The Yankees have survived numerous injuries this season and found success with a lockdown bullpen combination of set up man Dellin Betances and closer Andrew Miller. The Yankees sport a thunderous lineup of their own, belting 212 home runs collectively.
This game should be close considering the similarities of both teams – ace pitchers and home run happy lineups. However, the Yankees have several advantages. First, the Yankees are playing at home. Though anything can happen in a one game playoff, the Astros worrying 33-48 road record is a major concern. Second, Tanaka will be pitching on full rest, whereas his counterpart Keuchel will be pitching on just three days rest. How far Keuchel can go remains to be seen, which is a major concern. Houston will need its bats to give them an early lead, because the Yankees play seven inning games with Betances and Miller anchoring the bullpen.