The AL Wild Card game is set to take place tomorrow night at 8:05PM between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. The Yankees finished the season at 87-75 while the Houston Astros finished the season at 86-76. During the regular season, the teams met each other 7 times with the Astros taking 4 of those 7 games. Dallas Keuchel, who is in the running for the AL Cy Young award, will be taking the hill against Yankees ace, Masahiro Tanaka. Keuchel has posted a stat line of 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA this season, with 216 strikeouts to only 51 walks. Tanaka is 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA and 139 strikeouts compared to 27 walks.

Houston has to be the clear favorite, with such a dominating guy like Keuchel on the bump tomorrow night in this elimination game. That being said, Keuchels splits in terms of his home statistics to his away statistics are very concerning. At Minute Maid Park, Keuchel went 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA, but went 5-8 with a 3.77 ERA at all other ball parks. However, Keuchel has been lights out in two starts against the Bronx Bombers, going 2-0 in 16 innings across two starts, giving up no runs and striking out 21 batters while only walking one. In his only appearance in Yankee Stadium, he pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out nine and allowing only three hits on August 25th in a 15-1 beating by the Astros.

The Yankees will need a good start by Tanaka if they want the best possible chance of winning, which means keeping his pitch count down. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are very good late game pitchers out of the Yankee pen, but the Bronx Bombers are soft in the middle. With the game being played in New York, they will want to keep the ball down and not give up so many home runs which is a staple of Yankee stadium. The Yankees may also be tempted to sit some of their more expected bats against the lefty Keuchel in favor of players with better platoon stats, as outfielder Chris Young (6 for 20 against Keuchel) has predominantly played against left-handed pitching this year, leaving both Jacoby Ellsbury (2 for 7) and Brett Gardner (0 for 4), as well as possibly Brian McCann on the bench, with JR Murphy to start in his place, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney and Andrew Marchand.

This game could go either way, with two very good pitchers on the mound. Both teams have very solid lineups but overall, the winner advances to the ALDS to play the Kansas City Royals starting Thursday in Kansas City, and that will most definitely come down to the pitching in this do or die game.

PROJECTED LINEUPS:

ASTROS

CF Carlos Gomez, 2B Jose Altuve, SS Carlos Correa, RF George Springer, DH Chris Carter, C Jason Castro, 1B Luis Valbuena, 3B Jed Lowrie, LF Corey Rasmus

Bench- Evan Gettis, Hank Conger, Jake Marisnick, Preston Tucker, Marwin Gonzalez, Jonathan Villar

Pitchers- Keuchel (SP), Michael Fiers, Tony Sipp, Chad Qualls, Josh Fields, Will Harris, Pat Neshek, Oliver Perez, Luke Gregerson

YANKEES

CF Ellsbury, LF C.Young, DH Alex Rodriguez, RF Carlos Beltran, C McCann, 3B Chase Headley, 1B Greg Bird, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Didi Gregorius

Bench- Stephen Drew, Brett Gardner, JR Murphy, Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley

Pitchers- Tanaka (SP), Ivan Nova, Adam Warren, James Pazos, Chris Martin, Justin Wilson, Betances, Miller

PREDICTED WINNER– YANKEES

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