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Reply To: AL Wild Card – Tuesday Service Plays 10/6/15

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The Astros were on a 6-1 run heading into Sunday but a 5-3 loss to the Diamondbacks put them on the road in this A.L. Wild Card game. That is significant based on their 20-game difference at home and on the road but come Tuesday, I don’t think that is going to make a difference. The Yankees backed into a home game here as they closed the season with losses in six of their last seven games and those were against non-playoff teams. They do not have an edge here as the Yankees are 5-12 in their last 17 home games against teams with a losing road record.

The advantage here goes to Astros starter Dallas Keuchel who is the likely A.L. Cy Young winner. While he was undefeated at home and his road numbers were not nearly as good, the situation is right. He won 20 games and finished with a 2.48 ERA in 232 innings, striking out 216 while also carrying the second-best ground-ball rate among qualified pitchers. He faced the Yankees twice and did not allow a run over 16 innings with Houston winning both including a 15-1 win at Yankee Stadium.

This is the first time ever he has pitched on three days rest but in Friday’s game, he threw just 99 pitches, and none of them were in particularly high-stress situations. Masahiro Tanaka gets the call for New York and while he has been solid, his numbers do not compare. He got lit up by the Astros in his lone start against them this season, allowing six runs in five innings. New York went 1-4 in his last five home starts. It is fact that bad regular season finishes affect playoff starts as we play against teams in a playoff game after having lost six or seven of their last eight games. This situation is 28-10 (73.7 percent) since 1997.

10* (931) Houston Astros