Astros add RHP McHugh for ALCS against New York Yankees

Kristen Gonzales
October 14, 2017

Masahiro Tanaka will pitch for NY, which is in the championship series for the first time since 2012.

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's very professional and he likes to pitch and we like to play behind him". "I remember we had a day off the next day and I was like, 'I don't want to have a day off, I want to go play now, I want to see Justin with the Astros uniform'". "There's really not a weakness on either side". In Game 4, their pitchers' fastballs averaged a staggering 98 miles per hour, never once dipping below 96 - and that was with Chapman, who sometimes touches 102 and 103 miles per hour, not even participating. On the other hand, Aaron Judge struck out in 16 of his 20 at-bats versus the Indians.

The Astros have homefield advantage against the Yankees. Often, their first pinch-hitter off the bench is Carlos Beltran, a future Hall-of-Famer with 435 career homers. Verlander has been impeccable on the mound since joining the Astros from the Tigers at the end of August, and he tossed six strong innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against Boston. Here, Jeff says, the matchup favors the Astros.

Jose Altuve just hit his second home run. Keuchel enters Friday's game with a sterling 1.24 career ERA against the Yankees, which is best among active pitchers with at least five starts against them.

2017 regular-season stats:.264 average, 594 AB, 96 runs, 157 hits, 26 doubles, 4 triples, 21 HR, 63 RBIs, 72 BB, 122 K, 23 SB, 5 CS, 151 games. The Yankees' rotation was impressive against Cleveland after Sonny Gray's Game 1 flop.

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"It's just been a culmination of command, location, maybe a little more confidence", Keuchel said of his success. "Then after that is where it gets a little thought-provoking, I guess".

But Keuchel has pitched better than most against the Yankees in recent years, going 4-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 45 strikeouts in six regular-season starts.

McHugh, who went 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 starts during an injury-plagued season, had been the odd-man out when manager A.J Hinch went with only 11 pitchers for their AL Division Series win over Boston. He's 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in the postseason.

"They've got high-end velocity", Hinch said. "There's a lot of weapons down there for Joe [Girardi] to use, and our players know that". 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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