Houston won 5 of 7 games vs. New York Yankees in 2017

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

As a reward, NY now gets to face one of the best teams in baseball during the regular season, a team it only won two games of seven games against: The Houston Astros. Keuchel had a 1.12 WHIP with 125 strikeouts in 145 2/3 innings in the regular season.

Jose Altuve, the Astros' 5-foot-6 second baseman, tied a postseason record when he belted three home runs against the Red Sox in Game 1 of their ALDS. They were good enough to give Houston 101 regular-season wins, and they only didn't finish with the AL's best record because the Cleveland Indians went on a record-setting winning streak.

The Yankees overcame a brutal series from Aaron Judge at the plate to advance to the ALCS.

The fulcrum in the series with Cleveland was the stellar starting pitching by the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino, and they likely will go in Games 2 and 3 after Sonny Gray starts Game 1.

Over on the Yankees' side, they went to Game 5 against the Indians having lost their first two games in Cleveland 4-0 and 9-8, then winning 1-0 and 7-3 in NY before returning to Cleveland for Game 5 and a tense victory 5-2. In his 162.2 innings and 10-12 record this year, Gray put up a 3.54 ERA with 153 Ks. Houston is a -180 favorite to win Game 1 and NY is a +155 underdog.

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-David Robertson came out of the bullpen in the fifth to give NY the first 2 2/3 innings of 4 2/3 innings of no-hit relief. Though he is not the hitter Judge is, he's still a slugger who hit 33 home runs in just 122 games this season.

In Keuchel's lone postseason appearance this year, he went 5.2 innings with three hits and one earned run for a victory in Game 2. Houston will also run out Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36), Brad Peacock (13-2, 3.00) and Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62). NY finished second behind Houston in runs, total bases and on-base percentage. Gardner had three hits, a run and a key RBI in the ninth on Wednesday in Game 5, but Judge came up empty 0-for-5 with four Ks.

The "Baby Bombers", as the Yankees' young core is often called, have already exceeded expectations, and a loss to the Astros in the ALCS would not be a disappointment.

A lot has changed in two years, and both teams have a real chance to win this year's Fall Classic. While the Astros do have some decent arms, they haven't had almost the reliability of the Yankees' pen. Many are former dud teams that got higher-up draft picks, which gave them phenomenal players, but it's something greater than that too.

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