HOUSTON — The Yankees have seen Dallas Keuchel in the postseason before, and it wasn’t something they’d like to remember.
And it wasn’t just that wild-card outing in The Bronx two years ago that sticks in the Yankees’ mind as Keuchel heads into Friday’s Game 1 of the ALCS.
In six regular-season starts against the Yankees, the lefty is 4-2 with a 1.41 ERA. He’s walked just six in 44 ²/₃ innings, while striking out 45.
“Well, I think when he looks out there and sees the Yankee uniform, maybe we can make him feel a little bit better,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said at Minute Maid Park on Thursday, when both teams worked out in advance of the series.
“I know there’s a confidence level,’’ Hinch said. “And to be honest with you, when Dallas is right, he’s confident against anybody. I don’t think who the names are or who the jersey is, he knows he can get anybody out in the league.”
Keuchel hasn’t pitched more than six innings since Sept. 4, but the southpaw has fared well lately. Most recently, he held the Red Sox to one run in 5 ²/₃ innings in a Game 2 victory in the ALDS.
Few teams, though, have struggled more against Keuchel than the Yankees. In his only outing against them this year, he held them to an unearned run in six innings.
Keuchel isn’t quite sure why he’s been so dominant.
“It’s not just because it’s the Yankees,” Keuchel said. “I think it’s just been a culmination of command, location, maybe a little bit more confidence. And just because it’s the Yankees, you kind of get a little bit more amped and a little more jittery because it is the pinstripes and such a storied organization.”
But it’s a significantly different team than the one that was in the wild-card game in 2015. Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird could be the only carryovers from that game in Friday’s starting lineup, with newcomers such as Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks in the lineup.
“He was really good that year and he was really good that game,” Bird said after the Yankees worked out. “But I think we’re confident right now in general. You’ve got to beat great teams, you’ve got to beat great pitchers to get where you want to be.”
Hinch is unsure how much of a carryover there is from that game.
“There’s a small history with some of these guys, but a lot of these young guys that are new to the Yankees over the last year or so don’t have a ton of at-bats against him,” Hinch said. “So in this setting, in this ballpark, Dallas can get his outs regardless of who he’s facing.”