HOUSTON (Sportsradio 610) – Dallas Keuchel’s dominance over the New York Yankees continued on Friday night as he made his debut in the American League Championship Series.
Keuchel struck out 10 New York Yankees in seven shutout innings leading the Astros to a 2-1 victory in game one of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park.
Keuchel seemed to settle in from the get go, but according to him it took a little longer than normal.
“It didn’t strike me until probably the 3rd inning tonight,” Keuchel said after the game regarding when he started to feel in a groove. “I felt a little sluggish, I probably used a little bit more effort than I usually do warming up in the bullpen session. So I
needed to calm myself down just because I was so hyped and so jacked up.”
The Astros hitters had their own problem to worry about in Masahiro Tanaka who continued his playoff success from the ALDS in the early innings of Game one.
Tanaka allowed just two Astro runs on four hits with the only runs coming in the fourth.
Tanaka didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning when Altuve hit a bouncer up the middle that became an infield single. Altuve would steal second with Carlos Correa at the plate and came into score on Correa’s single to left field in front of Brett Gardner.
Marwin Gonzalez grounded out to move Correa into scoring position and then came in for the Astros second run on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel for a 2-0 lead after four.
Tanaka would leave the game after, but had to be looked at after taking a Josh Reddick line drive off his leg with nobody out in the sixth. Tanaka remained in the game to get the final two outs before leaving.
“First off, that was a fantastic job by Dallas,” Astros skipper AJ Hinch said after the game. “(Keuchel) and Tanaka going back and forth and nothing really happening. It was
very quiet. Both pitchers were locked in, and then Jose gets on base and steals second, Correa comes up with he big hit, then later in the inning we get a two-out base hit by Yuli. And what started out as an incredibly tight pitchers’ duel, we felt like we had a huge lead at 2-0. Even though we know it’s very, very small.”
Keuchel’s dominance against the Yankees is now historic as he became the first player in postseason history to record consecutive scoreless starts against the Bronx Bombers of seven or more innings with seven or more strikeouts. Keuchel is also only one of three Astros in post season history to record 10 strikeouts in a game. Nolan Ryan fanned 12 Mets in the 1986 NLCS and Mike Scott fanned 14 in Game one of the NLCS against New York.
“There’s really no hard explanation for it,” Keuchel said about his dominance against the Yankees. “I think it’s just pitch execution and it’s just been there more times than it hasn’t against the Yankees.”
Justin Verlander will square off against Luis Severino in Saturday’s Game Two with a 3:08 first pitch at Minute Maid Park.
Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for Sportsradio610.com and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio