Astros starting Keuchel in Game 1, Verlander in Game 2

Ross D. Franklin  AP

The Yankees begin that challenge Friday night with the start of the ALCS after rallying from an 0-2 deficit against the heavily favored Indians.

The Yankees did crush a pitcher with a 1.80 ERA against them in Corey Kluber, but the advantage that Keuchel has over Kluber is that he had previously faced and beaten the Yankees in postseason.

The prediction: After coming all the way back to vanquish the 102-win Indians on Wednesday night, the Yankees were flying so high that they barely needed a jet to get to Houston. Keuchel is 4-2 with a 1.41 ERA in six career starts against the Bombers - and that doesn't include the lefty's six scoreless innings in the 2015 wild-card playoff game at Yankee Stadium, a start that he calls "one of the most magical times that I'll have in my career".

Verlander may be the one who gets them there.

Keuchel v. The Yanks: Dallas Keuchel starts Game 1. "But I think it's just a coincidence that my command and location have been better than what it usually is against them". That was mostly thanks to Aaron Judge's prowess, but when he slumped badly after the All-Star break, they picked him up and did so again in the ALDS. It will be a challenge for the 25-year-old MVP co-favorite to rediscover his swing in such a short amount of time. In 17 at-bats, Judge has only hit into play four times, including just one home run. On the road, the Astros defeated the Yankees, 3-0. In Game 4, their pitchers' fastballs averaged a staggering 98 miles per hour, never once dipping below 96 - and that was with Chapman, who sometimes touches 102 and 103 miles per hour, not even participating.

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The Astros are going with 12 pitchers and 13 position players for the best-of-seven series that starts Friday at Minute Maid Park.

Girardi led the Yankees back from a two-game American League Division Series hole against the Cleveland Indians, and he is now ready to pull off another upset against the Astros.

By virtue of his home run hat trick, Altuve became the ninth player in MLB history to smack a trio of jacks in a postseason game, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.

The Yankees threw 4,826 pitches 95 miles per hour or higher, the most in the AL.

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