Yankees hurler Tanaka to start ACLS Game 1 in Houston

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He knows the history.

Yankees starter Luis Severino (1-0) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in seven innings, pitching most of the night with a sizable lead.

"Dallas is really good, so I'm not the least bit hesitant on starting him", Hinch said.

"The Yankees pitching isn't mediocre, but this team that they are facing now is even more powerful and potent than Cleveland".

Elsewhere, the World Series champion Chicago Cubs gained the upper hand in their NL division series with a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals. Also, they will exact some revenge on Keuchel, who shut them out for six innings and outdueled Tanaka in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

Having the luxury of a 1-2 punch of Kuechel and Saturday's starter, Jason Verlander, is one of the big reasons the Astros appear to have a massive "paper" edge in this series.

Don't be misled by the teams" regular-season win totals - 101 for the "Stros, 91 for the Yanks. "We're well aware he's had success against the Yankees and we've very confident in this ball park".

Clayton Kershaw will start Game 1 and the club will wait to find out who its opponent will be before making a decision on Games 2 (Sunday) and 3 (Wednesday).

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"To be honest with you, when Dallas is right, he's confident against anybody". "But I think it's just a coincidence that my command and location have been better than what it usually is against them". "He knows he can get out anybody in the league". The Astros are the better team and have home-field advantage. "They're going to hit their home runs, but they're going to do a lot of other things offensively, so you need to make pitches". Of course, we still have a serious World Series drought in the mix, as the Astros have yet to win one in their 55 years of existence, giving them the third longest drought in the Major League Baseball.

It's debatable how much head-to-head regular-season results actually matter as an indicator of postseason results, but the Astros fared much better against the Yankees than they did the Indians.

"It's the way our team is built", Astros catcher Brian McCann said. "We got to keep going and stay sharp". The clubs are far more evenly matched than it appears on the surface, with Houston having scored 38 more runs but NY having allowed 40 fewer.

Playing with the confidence that got them to this point, nipped at the wire by the Cleveland Indians by one game in the race for the AL's overall regular-season title, wouldn't hurt either. Even though they went down to a two game deficit right off the bat, NY was able to rattle off three wins in a row, with the clincher coming against potential Cy Young-winner Corey Kluber. They won five of seven games against NY and lost five of their six games against Cleveland.

The Yankees defeating Houston in the ALCS would be an upset.

While the Astros have a pitching staff full of flamethrowers - bolstered by the addition of former Cy Young Award victor Justin Verlander in August - they have chosen lefty Dallas Keuchel, the softest-tossing pitcher on their staff (88.7 miles per hour average fastball), to start Game 1 for them Friday night, opposite Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Comeback player of the year candidate Brad Peacock only lasted 2 2/3 innings. "The new age (of hitters) - lift the ball, get under the ball ... trajectory, backspin, you name it, they have a bunch of those guys". Judge can be incredibly hot, but right now he is incredibly cold. Keuchel only needed one more out to get a quality start but got the win while striking out seven hitters. For people to say he was exposed, or what not, I don't believe in that.

So, this season marks the first trip to the ALCS for the Astros, and it is also the first trip for two local guys on the roster. "He can hurt you in so many different ways".