But the Yankees do have a remarkable piece of postseason history on their side: NY has won the AL pennant in every season following an Indians World Series appearance. In his 14-5 record during the regular season, Keuchel posted a 2.90 ERA with 125 Ks.
After going down two games to none to start their ALDS journey, the New York Yankees pulled off a remarkable three-game about-face against a Cleveland team afflicted by melted-down pitching. Over those five games, Judge went 1-for-20 with four walks, with an astonishing three four-strikeout games. Of course, by having that extra time off, there's the always present (but of debatable veracity) concern that Houston will come into this series "cold", while the Yankees will just be playing another important game.
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.
NY rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to stun Cleveland in five games in the ALDS, taking Game 5 by a count of 5-2 on the road Wednesday.
New York's bullpen is a game-changer. Gray is 3-7 with a 3.11 ERA in 72 1/3 road innings this year.
The Astros are sold out for Games 1 and 2, including about 2,000 standing-room tickets per game. Keucheul is 6-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 71 2/3 home innings this season. Though he is not the hitter Judge is, he's still a slugger who hit 33 home runs in just 122 games this season. NY finished second behind Houston in runs, total bases and on-base percentage. He also became the first player to have three postseason games with four strikeouts.
Aaron Judge did make a game-saving catch in Game 3 and delivered a key two-run double in Game 4.
The Houston Astros have already won blow-outs and close contests so far in the 2017 postseason.
A lot has changed in two years, and both teams have a real chance to win this year's Fall Classic.
It is also a story of divergent underdogs, with the Wild Card-winning Yankees regularly rebuilding and rebooting on the run this season to reach their first ALCS since 2012. NY might win a couple games in the ALCS when hitters like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are able to carry them, but ultimately it's hard to envision Houston not winning the series. But the lineup of the Astros is a minefield to navigate through and it's hard to see them being slowed down for an entire series as Boston found out very quickly.