The Yankees came away with a 5-0 win in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, taking a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They are now one win away from their first World Series berth since 2009.
Here are seven things to know
Tanaka deals again
With the Yankees down 2-0 in the ALDS to the Indians, Masahiro Tanaka was nails, helping them win the game 1-0 and start their three-game winning streak to shock the AL's top regular-season team. In that game, he threw seven scoreless, allowing only three hits and a walk while striking out seven.
Tanaka took the loss in Game 1 of the ALCS against these Astros, but he didn't get run support. He allowed just two runs in six innings.
This time around, Tanaka worked seven scoreless, allowing only three hits and a walk. He struck out eight. Seven of his eight strikeouts came in the fourth through seventh innings, too.
In three starts this postseason, Tanaka has a 0.90 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 18 strikeouts against three walks in 20 innings.
Keep in mind, his first start kept the Yankees' alive in a 1-0 win while this one propelled them to a 3-2 lead and within one game of the World Series. Clutch much?
Tanaka has three year and $67 million left on his deal with the Yankees, but he can opt out after this season. Predicting Tanaka to opt out feels like a great bet right about now, even if it wasn't early this season.
Yankees finally get to Keuchel
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel had previously owned the Yankees. In six regular season starts in his career, he pitched to a 1.41 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 45 strikeouts against only six walks in 44 2/3 innings. He even had two complete games and one shutout.
In the postseason -- again, before Game 5 on Wednesday -- Keuchel had a 0.00 ERA in 13 innings against the Yankees with a 0.69 WHIP, 17 strikeouts and two walks.
This game was another matter.
After retiring the first five batters in Game 5, including three strikeouts, it looked like more of the same. Starlin Castro doubled in front of a Greg Bird single with two outs and the Yankees were on the board in the second. Aaron Judge would collect an RBI double next inning and the Yankees knocked Keuchel out in the fifth.
The final line this time for Keuchel: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
The eight strikeouts show he still had his stuff. The Yankees got to him, though, illustrating that getting a second look in a series is generally a plus for the offense.
Yankees timely hits
As noted, Keuchel had his good stuff. He also didn't allow any home runs. How did the Yankees do it?
Notice the description above of the first two innings. Keuchel sat down the first five hitters he saw. Castro doubled. The next hitter was Bird and he came through with a two-out RBI. Through seven hitters, the Yankees had just two hits and they came back-to-back with two outs.
In the third inning, the Yankees two two hits, a groundout and two strikeouts. The double happened to come with Brett Gardner on first base and he scored. Had a slower runner been on first, maybe the Yankees don't score. The hit was timely.
That's four runs, three coming with two outs and another scoring a run in front of two strikeouts that would end the inning. None were homers (with Keuchel in).
If we want to zero in on anyone, how about Judge? So far this postseason, he's collected just one hit with no runners on base (his solo shot in Game 3). He has seven hits with men on base.
Oh, and I know everyone likes to talk about Judge, but Gary Sanchez appears to be getting hot as well. He added a home run after Keuchel was out of the game.
Astros offense flailing
The Astros led the AL in runs scored during the regular season, averaging a tick over 5.5 runs per game. The also led in hits, doubles, average, on-base percentage, slugging, struck out the fewest and were second in home runs.
In four ALDS games, the Astros scored 24 runs while hitting .333/.402/.571 with nine doubles, a triple and eight homers. They scored at least one run in the first inning in each of the four games.
It was an offensive juggernaut.
Through four ALCS games entering Wednesday, the Astros were hitting .153/.254/.220 with just nine runs scored and one home run (which might've had some help).
Things were worse in Game 5. The Astros collected only four hits and drew one walk. They had two extra-base hit -- a double from the still-hot Yuli Gurriel and gapper from Correa in the ninth-- but the major threats were few and far between.
They aren't getting on base, they aren't hitting for power, they aren't stringing hits together and they have been terrible with runs in scoring position -- when they actually get the chance.
They've just been punchless. Even with four runs scored in Game 4, there were circumstances, like a catcher's interference that helped pave for the way for a three-RBI double. This isn't excuses, it's pointing out that these aren't the Astros we grew accustomed to seeing the regular season and the ALDS.
Yankees right at home in Yankee Stadium
The Yankees are now 6-0 in Yankee Stadium this postseason. The won the AL Wild Card, they took both against the Indians and now all three against the Astros. It's, isn't it?
The flip-side is that the Yankees are 1-4 on the road so far.
Yankees in driver's seat; Astros backs against the wall
Now with a 3-2 lead, despite leaving Yankee Stadium, the Yankees have the statistical advantage. Teams heading to a road Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead are 11-6 all-time in League Championship Series play. Those same teams are 10-7 in Game 6.
After leaving Houston with a 2-0 lead, the Astros now have to win two more at home or they're done for the season.
Series heads back to Houston
Thursday is a day off from game play, as both teams will fly back to Houston and have workouts/press conferences in Minute Maid Park. Game 6 then takes place Friday night at 8:08 p.m. ET/7:08 Houston time in Minute Maid on FS1. The pitching matchup is a Game 2 rematch -- and it was a dandy -- with Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 regular season; 1-0, 5.56 postseason) vs. Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36; 3-0, 2.04).