Four Things to Watch For During the Astros- Yankees Wild Card Game
Tonight, the 2015 American League Wild Card Game will be played at Yankee Stadium between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees (a battle for the Costanza Cup). ESPN has the television broadcast, starting at 7pm; and SportsRadio 1340 The Fan's Astros broadcast starts at 6:40pm.
Here are four things to watch for during the game:
1) Dallas Keuchel's effectiveness. Keuchel is starting Tuesday's Wild Card Game on short rest. Since the start of the Wild Card era, in 1995, teams using starters on short rest against fully rested starters have gone 18-37, Astros manager A.J. Hinch will have to be prepared to pull Keuchel early, if his pitch count skyrockets, or if he's allowing too many baserunners.
"He's one of the best," Alex Rodriguez said about Keuchel to MLB.com, who will be pitching on three days' rest but pitched 16 scoreless innings against New York this season. "But this time of year -- whether it's Keuchel, [Zack] Greinke, [Clayton] Kershaw or [David] Price -- they're all brand names. You have to beat them all one by one."
2) Astros hitters. The Astros batting order will have to make sure they are figuring out ways to get on base. If the Astros revert to swinging for the fences, and striking out a bunch, very simply they will end up losing the game.
3) Yankees Bullpen. The Yankees last two relievers in the pen, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller, have been two of the best in the majors this year. Miller, the Yankees closer, finished 2015 with a 3-2 record, 36 saves and a 2.04 ERA. If the Astros can force Joe Girardi to use relievers other than Betances and Miller, then they have a chance for late-inning runs. The Yankees finished the regular season 16th in bullpen ERA at 3.70.
4) Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Two of the Yankees oldest position players will occupy spots in the starting lineup in the Wild Card Game. They will have to break out of their recent struggles to propel the Yankees to a win.
Give us your prediction for the game in the comments below