Seven strong innings from Dallas Keuchel helped the Houston Astros defeat the New York Yankees 2-1 at Minute Maid Park in the opening game of the American League Championship Series.
The Houston ace tossed a four-hitter over seven innings allowing a single walk while striking out ten to give the Astros the crucial lead in the series.
Masahiro Tanaka did not pitch badly for the visitors giving up both runs on four hits and a walk while striking out three and it should be noted that most of the New York bullpen got a well-earned rest with Chad Green finishing off the game for the Yankees.
Saturday the Astros will send Justin Verlander to the mound in the second game of the series with New York looking to counter with Luis Severino.
Houston are now 2.00 to win Game 2, while the Yankees are 2.00.
Verlander is not the same pitcher that he was and yet finished third in the American League in innings pitched, sixth in strike outs, seventh in WHIP and eighth in wins, ERA and win percentage.
For any other pitcher this would be impressive and it speaks to how dominant Verlander once was that the veteran right-hander can be seen as having lost something.
Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish is an awfully good one-two punch for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it would hard to bet against Keuchel and Verlander atop the Houston rotation.
Kershaw it is that gets the start for LA in their opener of the National League Championship Series against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Saturday afternoon.
Rich Hill is slated for Game 2 with Darvish expected to pitch at Wrigley Field early next week.
The Dodgers are 1.05 to win that series, with Chicago 9.00.
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