Astros: Three Roster Bubble Questions for the ALCS

Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Division Series Friday Oct. 6 2017 in Houston

Phillip

The Houston Astros will host the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Friday.

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. The Astros and the Yankees have played each other in seven games in the regular season.

The Yankees managed to erase a 2-0 series deficit and advance to the ALCS, which is great news for Yankees fans and even better news for Aaron Judge, who has a lot less attention on him today than he would if the Yankees had fallen last night. Judge and Altuve are two of the best offensive talents in the game of baseball, but the way they go about their craft is so different, and both players are a lesson in why it's impossible to evaluate in absolutely set ways.

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The Astros are sold out for Games 1 and 2, including about 2,000 standing-room tickets per game.

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. In his 162.2 innings and 10-12 record this year, Gray put up a 3.54 ERA with 153 Ks. After the tense five games in the ALDS, I'm not sure NY is going to come out firing here.

-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. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and four walks over five innings during a loss to the Astros earlier this year.

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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.

Judge and Sanchez this season combined for 88 home runs, with Judge setting a rookie record with 52 blasts, and 204 RBIs. Brett Gardner was 8-for-25 in the series and had a key two-run single late in Game 5 to help clinch it. An extra pitcher or two may come in handy.

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. With the Astros bullpen a plus unit and the defense being strong at almost every position, it's hard to find a flaw with Houston. Meanwhile, the Astros had to work through their city literally being rebuilt in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, carrying the weight of expectations for a 101-win team out to provide hope.

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Having the edge on paper in the lineup and the starting rotation doesn't mean the Astros will cruise past the Yankees.

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