For the first time in the history of either franchise, the New York Yankees and Houston Astros are set to play in the American League Wild Card Game for a chance to reach the division series. They’ll meet at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night with the hopes of playing the Kansas City Royals in the AL Divisional Series.
New York sends Masahiro Tanaka to the mound against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel. Tanaka gave up six runs in his only start against the Astros, while Keuchel has shut out the Yankees in 16 innings of work.
The Yankees return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 when they were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. The Astros haven’t made the postseason since 2005 when they represented the National League in the World Series, losing to the Chicago White Sox in a four-game sweep.
There were no plans for CC Sabathia to start Game 1, but the former Cy Young winner might have been used as a long reliever if Tanaka was to be knocked out of the contest early. That won’t happen on Tuesday night, since Sabathia has checked himself into alcohol rehab and will miss the entirety of the playoffs. Ivan Nova and Luis Severino, who both started on Saturday as part of the Yankees’ double-header, may be called on to fill the long relief role against Houston.
Michael Pineda could start for the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS, but he was left off the wild-card roster because he pitched on Sunday. Chasen Shreve was one of New York’s best relievers for most of the season, but an 11.12 ERA in September forced manager Joe Girardi to leave him off the roster.
Carlos Gomez didn’t play in 17 of Houston’s last 20 games with a left intercostal strain, but he’s expected to be in the lineup. Gomez worked in the indoor batting cage on Monday and played catch in the field, preparing to play. After being traded from the Milwaukee Brewers, Gomez hit .242 with four home runs in 41 games with the Astros.
Houston’s other big trade deadline acquisition, Scott Kazmir, is not on the wild-card roster. Kazmir had a 2.38 ERA with the Oakland Athletics, but he had a 6.52 ERA in September, making his last start six days ago. Mike Fiers last started a week ago, and he could be used in long relief. Tuesday marks the first time that Keuchel has ever pitched on three days’ rest.
ESPN will broadcast the game at 8 p.m. ET. A free live stream is available online with WatchESPN.