ALCS Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka to start for New York Yankees vs

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Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Masahiro Tanaka would start in Game 1 on Friday opposite Houston's Dallas Keuchel.

Tanaka pitched a stellar outing in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Indians when the Yankees were facing elimination.

Houston is the overwhelming favorite to win this series due to the strong pitching the Astros have and a strong hitting lineup led by MVP favorite Jose Altuve.

Houston hasn't made that many decisions yet, but it has chosen Justin Verlander to pitch in Game 2 at home against Severino. The Yankees' last ALCS appearance was in 2012. That's seven homers allowed in his last 10 innings. 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. On the other hand, Aaron Judge struck out in 16 of his 20 at-bats versus the Indians. In particular, it will bear watching how a Yankees bullpen loaded with hard-throwing relievers fares against an Astros offense that mashed heaters to the tune of.301/.373/.525 during the regular season.

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"It's just been a culmination of command, location, maybe a little more confidence", Keuchel said of his success. Then his next start would be game seven. So if I wait until game three, you don't know if you're going to get there. "I think certain veterans on the team steer them in the right direction, too, like CC Sabathia".

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. Tanaka isn't necessarily the best option for the Yankees, especially with his struggles on the road this season, but with the other starters in the rotation working back to full rest, he's the go-to guy for Game 1.

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.

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