This week, Dallas Keuchel mentioned two particular joys of his job as a
Before Wednesday’s fifth game of the
As Keuchel finished throwing, a few fans repeatedly shouted his sister's name. He high-fived some teammates and set off for the dugout. Soon, his night would be ruined, and the Astros' chances in this series might have vanished alongside it.
Despite his attempts to embrace the moment, despite his history of success in this stadium, Keuchel surrendered four runs and could not finish five innings. The
"New York," Keuchel said, "is no joke."
It started in the second inning, when Keuchel left a fastball over the middle to Starlin Castro and the Yankees' second baseman snapped it for a double. Keuchel later described it as the only of his 86 pitches he'd like over. He then fell behind 2-and-0 to Greg Bird and fired a fastball along the inside edge, which Bird shot to right for a run-scoring single.
The next inning,
“He talks to himself and does all this crazy stuff,” Yankees third baseman
In his most important stateside start to date, Tanaka's seven scoreless innings were a dominant effort. Only one Yankee, Tommy Kahnle, was required in relief.
In Game 1 of this series, Tanaka opposed Keuchel in Game 1 and permitted two runs in six innings. Keuchel lasted seven scoreless then, but neither team indicated the differences in his two performances were vast.
"We hit the mistakes tonight," Frazier said. "Last time, we didn't."
After a Thursday travel day, these teams will meet again Friday, with the Astros’ season at risk. The Yankees will start Luis Severino, their best pitcher this season. He exited his last start early because manager Joe Girardi feared his shoulder might be hurt, but never went for testing, and the team says he’s fine now. Houston will send out
The venue change may prove significant. The Astros admitted they had never heard a ballpark reach decibel levels as loud as this one became during the Yankees' Tuesday comeback. They admitted they had heard hounding here some of them would not be willing to repeat "in 20 years", as George Springer said.
And, they acknowledged, they ceded far too many two-out runs. Sixty-five percent of New York's output this series has unfolded with two outs already recorded.
"The playoffs bring some different challenges, some different obstacles, we have to overcome," Keuchel said. "We'll look to figure out what we need to do. It's pretty obvious: limit the two-out hits from the Yankees, and get some timely hitting from our guys."