Tuesday, October 6, 2015

AL Wild Card Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros 10/6

The 2015 Major League Baseball Postseason kicks off in roughly eight hours and eight minutes, but who is counting, with the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros facing off head-to-head in the Bronx. Forget the Yankees 1-6 record in their last seven games and forget how the team basically backed into the postseason and into home field advantage, this is a new season and it’s a second season where anything can happen. With that said I can’t see much of anything happening against these two starting pitchers as both aces of their respective staffs will be on the mound, #AcesGonnaAce. For the Yankees Masahiro Tanaka makes his first playoff start of his MLB career on five days of rest, his optimal amount of rest per the Yankees coaching staff, while the Astros will counter with Dallas Keuchel who will also be making his first playoff start of his MLB career and his first start ever on three days of rest, that’s probably not what you want. The game will be played at 8:08 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN.

  • Tanaka made his last start after battling a hamstring injury and lasted five innings in the start. The results were less important, four runs allowed, than the fact that he came through it healthy but if New York is looking for something to build on it is the fact that after presumably knocking the early game rust off Tanaka looked just as dominant as ever in his last three innings. Tanaka will not be allowed any rust in this start and will have to have all his pitches going, especially the splitter, if the Yankees want a chance tonight. This is why the Yankees signed Tanaka, to be the stopper and to be the ace, and he needs to step up tonight.

  • Keuchel was the only pitcher in the American League to win 20 games this season and the only pitcher in the league to have 16 consecutive shutout innings against the New York Yankees this season. Keuchel last pitched on Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks where he earned his 20th win and will go on just three days of rest for the first time in his young Major League career. Keuchel has pitched on just two days of rest before but that start came after throwing 1.1 IP of relief, not six innings against a Major League caliber offense. No one knows how the southpaw will react.

Win or go home, the ultimate one-game playoff. In my personal opinion, and if asked I’d say just about every analyst or expert would agree, the New York Yankees are the best team suited for a one-game playoff. Dellin Betances last pitched on Saturday and comes into the contest with two days of rest while both Justin Wilson and Andrew Miller had their outing severely limited on Sunday. Conceivably the Yankees “Big Three” in the bullpen could give you anywhere from five-to-six innings of relief tonight while Adam Warren could available for three more in a perfect scenario. With the day off tomorrow, assuming a victory, the bullpen would head into a potential ALDS fully rested and ready to roll.

All New York has to do is get past Dallas Keuchel, which is no easy task. Will the bright lights get to the southpaw? Will the stage and the pressure make the young Houston Astros team crack? Who knows, you have to tune in to find out. Optimism, confidence, victory. Go Yankees!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)