Tuesday, October 6, 2015

AL wild-card game preview: Astros set to face Yankees


By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
October 6 2015, 2:00 PM EST.
@PGordonPBR

Start Time: 8:00 PM EST.
TV: ESPN
Starting Pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51) vs. Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48)
Vegas Line: Astros favored -108 O/U at 7

The Yankees lineup is comprised primarily of left-handed hitters and that's likely to be a problem on Tuesday night when the club faces southpaw Dallas Keuchel and the Astros.

Keuchel held lefties to an AL-low .461 OPS during the season and faced the Yankees twice during the season, including a nine strikeout performance over seven shutout innings in August at Yankee Stadium.

Going against Keuchel, however, is the fact he's working on three days' rest for the first time in his career.

"It's just something that's going to need to be done," Keuchel said before Houston's workout Monday. "Whether or not I feel good when the game starts, it's going to be up to me to start the game and help the team win."

Keuchel's manager, A.J. Hinch, expressed no doubts about his star's ability to handle the unusual assignment.

"He's our ace," Hinch said. "He's our guy. So to hand him the ball with the season on the line -- pretty awesome."

For the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka pitched throughout the season with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and showed some wear coming down the stretch. He faced the Astros earlier in the season, yielding six runs over five innings.

"He's our guy," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "He's on normal rest, so this is his spot to go out and pitch."

The Astros beat the Yankees in four of seven games this season, outscoring them 36-17.

"That's all in the past now," said Girardi. "This is a clean slate and it comes down to simply one night."

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