What to expect from Yankees-Astros ALCS

New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez after hitting his second home run during the third inning of Game 5 of the 2017 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. (David Richard | USA TODAY Sp

What to expect from Yankees-Astros ALCS

The Yankees came back to win against the best regular-season team in the American League while getting virtually nothing from Judge, but it would be foolish to think they can continue to succeed with a hole that big in the middle of their lineup. Over those five games, Judge went 1-for-20 with four walks, with an astonishing three four-strikeout games.

He has not faced the Yankees this year with either the Tigers or Astros.

Verlander, an intense competitor, might have savored a shot to pitch Game 2 in Cleveland, where he is 0-6 with a 6.33 ERA in his last eight starts. As we shift our focus to the next round, here are a few thing the Astros must take advantage of to win this series.

After going down two games to none to start their ALDS journey, the New York Yankees pulled off a remarkable three-game about-face against a Cleveland team afflicted by melted-down pitching.

The Tanaka vs. Keuchel game is of course a rematch of the 2015 Wild Card Game. The series starts Friday night at 7:08 p.m. The Astros beat the Boston Red Sox in four games in the other ALDS. The Astros took five of those matchups, including a comeback victory at home on July 1.

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The Astros have not announced their starters for Games 3 and 4. This year's Yankees, affectionately nicknamed the "Baby Bombers", are a mix of young sluggers and veterans.

Better yet, Judge was unable to hit a home run in this series. But given their performance so far without much help from Judge and Sanchez, it's possible that the Yankees could become an even scarier opponent for Houston. Judge finished the regular season by setting a record for most consecutive games with a strikeout, and he's wrapped up the first postseason action of his career by setting another similarly dubious record.

Meanwhile, CC Sabathia, vintage CC, becoming the first pitcher in postseason history to strike out at least nine in less than five innings. Major League Baseball has not made the pair's height differential a secret.

The Yankees have some solid bats as well.

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