While the Astros have a pitching staff full of flamethrowers - bolstered by the addition of former Cy Young Award victor Justin Verlander in August - they have chosen lefty Dallas Keuchel, the softest-tossing pitcher on their staff (88.7 miles per hour average fastball), to start Game 1 for them Friday night, opposite Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
And assuming Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge are the top two finishers in the AL MVP race, it will mark the fourth ALCS in the past 25 years to feature both the MVP and runner-up.
Gray has thrown just 3 1/3 innings for the Yankees since September 28 so he threw a simulated game on Thursday at Houston Minute Maid Park.
The best-of-seven series pits the team with the most World Series championships (the Yankees, with 27) against a team with only one trip to the Fall Classic in its history (a 2005 sweep at the hands of the White Sox).More news: Inks five-year extension with Sixers
Houston hasn't made that many decisions yet, but it has chosen Justin Verlander to pitch in Game 2 at home against Severino.
After a fast start that signaled a young team arriving ahead of schedule, the Yankees rebuilt their bullpen at the trade deadline with the additions of strikeout kings David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle - adding them to a stable that included Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green to form arguably the deepest late-inning corps in the game.
The Red Sox will counter with Drew Pomeranz, who won a career-high 17 games and posted a 3.32 ERA during the regular season. He struck out nine times in those at-bats. "I mean, especially now seeing me and Bregman having so much success they are going to be more blocks of scouts going down there to find some talent", said Giles. Jeff says this is a longer series than the five-game ALDS. It was a hole they fell into with a gut-wrenching Game 2 loss after manager Joe Girardi failed to challenge a play that opened the door for a stunning Cleveland rally.
The Astros also have a hitter who has dominated the Yankees in shortstop, Carlos Correa. So if I wait until game three, you don't know if you're going to get there. I think when you look at them it's a complete lineup throughout. Houston pitchers this season have actually quelled Judge. The Astros will score early and ride Keuchel to a 5-2 victory.