Yan­kees set ro­ta­tion for ALCS start­ing with Tanaka tonight

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS - By Kristie Rieken

Masahiro Tanaka will start in Game 1 of the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries for the New York Yan­kees against Dal­las Keuchel and the Hous­ton Astros on Fri­day night.

The Yan­kees an­nounced the de­ci­sion on Thurs­day and also set the ro­ta­tion for the next three games. New York’s Luis Sev­erino will pitch Game 2 on Satur­day against Justin Ver­lan­der.

CC Sa­bathia gets the nod to start Game 3 on Mon­day in New York and Sonny Gray will start Game 4 on Tues­day. The Astros have not an­nounced their starters for Games 3 and 4. Al­tuve awaits Yan­kees

Jose Al­tuve hit .346 to win the Amer­i­can League bat­ting ti­tle for the sec­ond straight year be­fore bat­ting .533 in the ALDS to help the Hous­ton Astros elim­i­nate the Bos­ton Red Sox.

As Hous­ton pre­pares to host the New York Yan­kees on Fri­day night in Game 1 of its first league cham­pi­onship se­ries since 2005, Al­tuve’s team­mates and coaches say what’s bet­ter than his gaudy num­bers is his ap­proach: No mat­ter how great his stats are, he al-

ways be­lieves he can do bet­ter.

“He has four hits and he’s like: ‘Car­los I never had a five-hit game be­fore, let me try to get the fifth hit,”’ star short­stop Car­los Cor­rea said. “He’s al­ways striv­ing for more. And that’s what I’ve learned from him that makes me bet­ter ev­ery, sin­gle day.”

Al­tuve isn’t sure why he’s al­ways had that mind­set. It could stem from years ago when many doubted that some­one who is only 5-foot-6 could make it in the ma­jors. But he won’t ad­mit that now.

“That’s the way I am,” he said when asked about his drive. “I just want to keep get­ting bet­ter ... if I can get bet­ter to keep help­ing my team I am go­ing to be happy to do it.”

Al­tuve is one of the long­est-tenured play­ers on this team and among a hand­ful who were around for the re­ally bleak times when the Astros lost 100 or more games in three straight sea­sons from 2011-13. He was a ma­jor rea­son the Astros re­turned to the post­sea­son af­ter a 10-year ab­sence in 2015. But he didn’t have a great per­for­mance in those play­offs when he bat­ted just .154 with­out an ex­tra-base hit as Hous­ton was elim­i­nated by even­tual cham­pion Kansas City in

the ALDS.

Things have been much dif­fer­ent this time around with Al­tuve car­ry­ing his big hit­ting in the reg­u­lar sea­son into the play­offs with eight hits in the ALDS . He starred in Hous­ton’s Game 1 win over Bos­ton when he be­came just the 10th player in ma­jor league his­tory and first since 2012 to hit three homers in a play­off game. Babe Ruth did it twice. It was that game that helped give him a whop­ping 1.765 on base-plus- slug­ging per­cent­age this post­sea­son.

But the All-Star sec­ond base­man in­sists that he isn’t think­ing about any of the num­bers that he’s put up so far.

“The five-what­ever I hit last se­ries is al­ready gone,”

he said. “It doesn’t count for this se­ries. So if some­one asks me what is your bat­ting av­er­age right now I would say: ‘It’s zero.’ I haven’t got a hit in the next se­ries so that’s the way I think right now.”

The Astros went 5-2 this year against the Yan­kees, who ral­lied from a 2-0 deficit and beat Cleve­land 5-2 Wed­nes­day night in Game 5 of the ALDS.

Al­tuve is a front-run­ner to win MVP af­ter fin­ish­ing third last sea­son. The 27-year-old topped the ma­jors in hit­ting this year, has won the AL bat­ting crown in three of the last four sea­sons, and has had four straight 200-hit sea­sons to lead the AL in each of those years.


New York Yan­kees start­ing pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is doused with sparkling wine and beer af­ter the Yan­kees de­feated the Cleve­land In­di­ans 5-2 in Game 5 of a base­ball Amer­i­can League Di­vi­sion Se­ries, early Thurs­day, Oct. 12, 2017, in Cleve­land. The Yan­kees ad­vanced to the ALCS.


New York Yan­kees cel­e­brate af­ter the Yan­kees de­feated the Cleve­land In­di­ans 5-2 in Game 5 of s base­ball Amer­i­can League Di­vi­sion Se­ries, Wed­nes­day, Oct. 11, 2017, in Cleve­land, to ad­vance to the ALCS.

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