By Alex Del Barrio

HOUSTON (Sportsradio 610) – It’s fitting that Dallas Keuchel takes the ball for the Houston Astros in Game One of the American League Championship series at Minute Maid Park Friday.

The 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner made his post season debut against the 27-time world champions two seasons ago in the American League Wild Card game.

Kuechel and three relievers shut out the Yankess 3-0 to advance the Astros in the post season for the first time in their American League history. Keuchel went six innings and allowed just three hits with seven strikeouts.

his success against the pinstripes doesn’t end there.

Keuchel in his career has 1.24 ERA against the Bronx Bombers including the Wild Card victory in 2015 and a 1.41 career ERA with a 4-2 record in the regular season.

Keuchel isn’t sure why he’s had so much success against New York, but there is a part of him that feels it could just be a coincidence.

“We’re one of only four teams left, so at this point a lot of guys have had success pitching-wise on either the Indians or the Yankees,” Keuchel said at his media availability on Thursday.  “It’s not just because it’s the Yankees. I think it’s just been a culmination of command, location, maybe a little bit more confidence. And just because it’s the Yankees you kind of get a little bit more amped and a little more jittery because it is the pinstripes and such a storied organization. But I think it’s just a coincidence that my command and location have been better than  what it usually is against them.”

Astros skipper AJ Hinch started Verlander in the first game of the division series, but since he used the former Tiger in relief in Game four against the Red Sox, he won’t be able to use him until Saturday’s Game two and that one-two punch, no matter the combination is fine with Hinch.

“Dallas Keuchel has been remarkable as an Astros, he’s been remarkable in my three years here. We hand him the ball and the entire room knows we have a chance to win,” Hinch said. “We’re well aware he’s had success against the Yankees, we’re very confident in this ballpark. He’s pitched extraordinarily. So, look, having Verlander and Keuchel in the decision that goes one, two, the fact that we have both is a huge advantage for us.”

The Yankees, who had a grueling series against the Indians rallying back from an 0-2 deficit and winning a decisive Game 5 of the ALDS on the road are coming in with a little momentum they start Masahiro Tanaka who was the Yankees starter in the AL Wild Card game two seasons ago.

Tanaka (1-0) gave up two home runs and exited after just five innings in the ’15 loss. However in the ALDS he was the stopper that helped right the ship for the Yankees with a seven inning three hit performance against the Indians. Tanka was 13-12 with a 4.74 ERA in the regular season. He is 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA in four regular season starts with nine home runs allowed against the Astros.

Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for 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


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