Girardi led the Yankees back from a two-game American League Division Series hole against the Cleveland Indians, and he is now ready to pull off another upset against the Astros. "Play cards and talk about the game".
Rather than shrug it off as meaningless, Keuchel acknowledges the significance of that moment and the juice of facing a team so accustomed to baseball's October spotlight.
I think it's really important, but that has been our formula for the good portion of the year, " Girardi said of having a strong pen.
Kuechel is well aware that the Astros have an opportunity for back-to-back series wins against "storied" franchises, after doing his part to eliminate the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.
The Astros have completed 55 seasons without a World Series title (since their inception in 1962), making it the third-longest drought in the majors.
Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74) vs. Rather than flying to Cleveland on Thursday ahead of Game 1 Friday, the Astros would host games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday before heading to NY for games 3, 4 and 5. He bounced back this year despite neck issues, posting a 14-5 record with a 2.90 ERA to help the Astros run away with the AL West title. "We felt like that we could win this series, but we knew it was going to be tough", said Astros manager AJ Hinch.
Justin Verlander, who after his 40-pitch relief outing Monday is likeliest to pitch Saturday's Game 2, didn't face the Yankees in the regular season and was hit around in two of his four starts against the Indians this year while a member of the Detroit Tigers. "And to be honest with you, when Dallas is right, he's confident against anybody". "But when I was behind the scenes and got to see these young guys play, perform and the way (Aaron) Judge came out this year, it's no surprise they're in the position they're in". "But our guys just stayed the course". They're aggressive on the base paths so you have to control that.
But it wasn't enough as the Astros reached a league championship series for the first time since 2005 - when they were in the National League.
"We talked about who is throwing well".
Andrew Benintendi hit a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth inning and Xander Bogaerts smacked his first career playoff homer, a solo blast in the first, for the Red Sox. The team won 101 games this season. "And there's a lot of times that he really gets on a roll and he puts a bunch of them together and we're going to need a good one from him tomorrow".
"When it comes down to it, we'll be playing baseball, but it is a little bit more fun to be playing back-to-back with the Red Sox and the Yankees". He will be followed by Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray.
"Oh, he's a great player, and he's been for a number of years here", Girardi said.
"It's a club that scores a lot of runs but doesn't swing and miss very much". Four of those strikeouts Wednesday night belonged to Judge, who hit just.050 with 16 strikeouts in 20 at-bats in the series.
"It's just been a culmination of command, location, maybe a little more confidence", Keuchel said of his success.