How and why Yankees finally got to Astros ace Dallas Keuchel to steal ALCS lead

Yankees explain what they did to turn the tables of Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday.

NEW YORK –The Yankees had another ball Wednesday beating the Houston Astros again at Yankee Stadium.

This 5-0 shutout in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series made it three wins in a row in the Bronx after two losses in Houston, and now the Yanks are just a win away from going to the World Series.

Houston (and Dallas), you have a problem: It’s Tanaka

Incredible.

Who saw this coming?

The Yankees did.

And, yes, they expected to win Game 5 even though they again had to deal with Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who took the mound 6-2 with a 1.09 ERA over eight career starts against the Yankees, six in the regular season and two in postseason play.

The Yankees, to be frank, were sick of hearing and reading about how they couldn’t beat this so-called nemesis.

They know that they looked bad at the plate in Game 1 when Keuchel pitched seven shutout innings and the Astros won 2-1 at Minute Maid Park, and they expected to see the same guy in Game 5.

And according to Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier, that’s exactly what they got.

“Sure,” Frazier said. “He was.”

The results were different.

Very different.

This time, the Yankees scored a second-inning run to take a 1-0 lead, then another in the third to make it 2-0 and then they knocked Keuchel out in the fifth when tacking on two more.

Keuchel’s final line was unimpressive … 4 2/3 innings, seven hits, four runs, four earned runs, eight strikeouts, one walk.

What changed?

“A couple things,” said designated hitter Chase Headley, who was 2-for-2 with a run scored facing Keuchel in Game 5. “One, I think whenever you face a pitcher twice in a week it makes it a little easier for the hitters. You understand what his stuff is doing. Obviously, he had a lot of success against us the first game, so we thought he was probably going to attack us close to the same way.

“The other things is I thought we had good team at-bats. Even our outs, we made him work for every out he got. We took advantage of the few mistakes that he made.”

Frazier agreed with the mistakes part.

“The ones we hit were the mistakes for sure,” he said. “(Keuchel) did that last game. We just didn’t capitalize on it.”

How did the Yankees capitalize this time?

“It was just a difference of hitting pitches, hitting strikes, which we fouled off (in Game 1) when we had opportunities,” Frazier said.

And …

“He was getting calls last time and he got a couple in (Game 5) and sometimes he didn’t.”

For sure, the Yankees were much happier with Game 5 plate umpire Jerry Meals than they were Game 1 plate ump Chad Fairchild because Keuchel is tough without an expanded strike zone.

“It’s a big challenge,” Frazier said. “Yeah. And I think it manifested today and we stuck with what our plan was and we did what we’re supposed to do. And we’re pretty excited about it. We heard about that the whole time and I’m just glad we got to him and we got him out of there.”

Randy Miller may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RandyJMiller. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


Source: BLOGNJ