HOUSTON -- The Yankees were able to fight back from an 0-2 deficit in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, but after playing some of their most inspiring baseball with their backs pinned against the walls, they'd love to leave Minute Maid Park with a tied AL Championship
HOUSTON -- The Yankees were able to fight back from an 0-2 deficit in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, but after playing some of their most inspiring baseball with their backs pinned against the walls, they'd love to leave Minute Maid Park with a tied AL Championship Series presented by Camping World.
With the team constructed for its home ballpark, Yanks manager Joe Girardi's mantra has been that to play even on the road and clean up in New York, something the club has followed well this season. After dropping a 2-1 decision to the Astros in Friday's ALCS Game 1, they will aim to even the set behind Luis Severino in Saturday afternoon's Game 2.
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"We're not done. We're going to continue to play," Starlin Castro said. "This is one game. We couldn't get it going today, but we'll come in with the same energy and try to win a game. We've been [down] 2-0, but we're not looking for that."
In the 47 previous ALCS matchups, the team winning Game 1 has gone on to win the series 30 times, or 64 percent of the series played. Since the introduction of the seven-game series in 1985, 18 of 31 (58 percent) teams winning Game 1 have gone on to win the series.
"We've had our ups and downs all year," Aaron Judge said. "We've got down early in series before. It's just about us, don't panic. Go out there and play the game. Have fun, keep throwing out championship at-bats and we'll be where we want to be."
And that zip code is 10451. The raucous crowds that filled Yankee Stadium for the AL Wild Card Game against the Twins and two of the ALDS victories over the Indians offered the Yankees a significant home-field advantage, reaching decibel levels rarely heard over the facility's nine seasons of service.
No AL club played better at home than the Yankees during the regular season, with their 51-30 (.630) record ranking third in the Majors behind only the Dodgers (57-24, .704) and the D-backs (52-29, .642). In short, the Yanks will hope to harness the electricity that Dallas Keuchel provided at the end of his seven-inning outing.
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"I can 100 percent say that I was getting a little tired there at the end, and honestly, they were pushing me through it, just the way the crowd was getting into it," Keuchel said.
Including the postseason, New York has won 16 of its past 19 games while wearing pinstripes, which provides a great deal of confidence as long as they can get to Houston starter Justin Verlander in Game 2.
"It's what we've been doing all year," Judge said. "We've got down in series before, but we just have to keep playing our game. The mindset is still the same. Go out there and compete and have quality at-bats and we'll be where we want to be and win the series."
The Yankees have lined up Carsten Sabathia and Sonny Gray to pitch Games 3 and 4 in New York, with Masahiro Tanaka likely to be on the hill should the series reach a Game 5. As far as Tanaka is concerned, the Yanks can bank on him making another start in this ALCS.
"Very confident," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I believe in this team, that we'll come back. I'm going to prepare as though I'm going to be pitching in a couple of days."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.