Two years ago,
He faced them twice during the regular season and vanquished them each time. In the
Because they have more money and are better managed than many teams, the Yankees' rebuild resembled more of a retool. It lasted less than two years and never reached sub-.500 depths. Now, they are back in the AL Championship Series, again taking on Keuchel and the Astros beginning Friday at Minute Maid Park.
This a series not lacking for story lines.
There's also the matter of the Yankees even being here.
In the two years since Keuchel sentenced them to irrelevance, they have traded for, traded away, and re-signed the same player: closer Aroldis Chapman. They have watched two prospects, Judge and
So, these are not the same Yankees thrice ravaged by Keuchel during a
“Nobody expected us to make the playoffs,” said
Gardner admitted that he also was skeptical, even though he said he began to realize the Yankees’ potential after they won 15 games in April without Sanchez and
Keuchel watched the Yankees' win Wednesday's ALDS clincher. He said he was only observing to see where he'd be pitching Friday. If the Indians won, the Astros would have left for Cleveland at 10 a.m Thursday, but he decided to delay packing his bags until the game finished.
The Yankees will match Masahiro Tanaka against Keuchel on Friday. Luis Severino will start in Game 2, Sabathia in Monday’s Game 3, and
The Astros will follow Keuchel with
Now, the Yankees will be considered playoff contenders for the next several years, their payroll bound to ascend, other prospects certain to establish themselves. This was their one gift season, one played without expectations.
Houston's future seems similar. The teams will now fight to determine their present.
Two years ago, Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel dominated the New York Yankees. He faced them twice in the regular season and vanquished them each time. In the American League wild-card game at Yankee Stadium, he did the same, sending them spiraling toward a rare rebuild.