David J. Phillip/Associated Press

One team needed to win three consecutive elimination games in order to keep its season going, while the other has been home and resting for a few days waiting to get back in action. But how the New York Yankees and Houston Astros got to this point no longer matters.

All the past results get thrown out now that the Yankees and Astros start the best-of-seven American League Championship Series beginning with Game 1 on Friday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The winner of that first game will get a leg up on reaching the World Series, which neither team has played in for quite some time.

The Yankees’ last appearance in the Fall Classic came in 2009, when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. The Astros’ lone World Series trip came in 2005, when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox.

Game 1 is set for an 8:08 p.m. ET first pitch and will be shown live on FS1, which you can find locally here. If you’re in Houston and want to take in the game in person, StubHub has tickets available.

And for those interested in making a friendly wager, OddsShark.com has the Astros as minus-175 favorites for Game 1.

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Much of that advantage comes from the fact Houston has been able to line its pitching staff up for the opener. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel pitched in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox, allowing one run and three hits over 5.2 innings, and he’ll be throwing on six days’ rest.

The Astros bullpen should be fresh, too. Closer Ken Giles, who threw two innings in the Game 4 clincher, is the only reliever who has thrown in a live game after Monday.

For the Yankees, the hope will be that its Game 1 starter can do as well as he did last time out in order to allow a much-taxed bullpen to get some time off:

Masahiro Tanaka threw seven scoreless innings with a walk and seven strikeouts in the Game 3 win over the Cleveland Indians, the first of three straight victories that enabled New York to rally from down 2-0 in the ALDS. If he can go at least six it will lessen the need to go heavy on relievers, who threw a combined 20 innings in the last series with Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman and David Robertson each making three appearances.

Expect Game 1 to set the tone for what should be a tremendous ALDS between two great teams. Houston won the season series 5-2 over the Yankees, taking two of three at home and three of four in the Bronx. But none of those games happened after the All-Star break, so not much can be gleaned from those results.


Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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