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Stephen A. Smith is rooting for the Yankees to advance to the World Series so Dodgers owner Magic Johnson can honor their dinner bet.
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Chris Williams/Icon SportswireDave Roberts and the Dodgers have time to consider which potential World Series opponent they might prefer.

The choice between the Astros and Yankees is a tough call because the two AL combatants present very different sets of challenges for the Dodgers.

HOUSTON -- Joe Girardi says the New York Yankees would have preferred not having a day off Thursday after winning three straight home games to take a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series.

Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch certainly has no sympathy because his team knows that feeling. The Astros won the first two ALCS games at home last week before an off day stopped their momentum.

"I think the script, how it played between Game 2 and 3, should play perfectly between Game 5 and 6," Hinch said. "We got our day off when we were rolling pretty good ... and they stood up and came back. So maybe we'll return the favor to them."

Game 6 is Friday night. Neither team held a formal workout Thursday at Minute Maid Park after games the previous three days at Yankee Stadium.

"Everyone would have probably rather played today," Girardi said about his Yankees. "The day off will definitely help our bullpen and I think physically it helps the players. But when you're on a roll you never want to stop playing."


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Are the Yankees likable?

October, 19, 2017
Oct 19
5:49
PM ET


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Highly Questionable wonders if these underdog Yankees are a likable team but Katie Nolan says they are simply "less evil."

Yankees announce investment in Echo Fox parent company

October, 19, 2017
Oct 19
1:25
PM ET

Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsThe New York Yankees announced Thursday that they have made a significant investment into Vision Esports, the parent company of Echo Fox, Twin Galaxies and Vision Entertainment. Vision Esports is owned by former NBA player Rick Fox.

The New York Yankees announced Thursday that they have invested in Vision Venture Partners, the parent company of Echo Fox, Twin Galaxies and Vision Entertainment. The partnership allows the Yankees to enter esports in League of Legends, the first-person shooter market and the fighting game community through Echo Fox.

According to a statement, the Yankees aim to bring their experience in marketing, sales and partnership to promote growth within Vision Esports.

"The New York Yankees are thrilled to partner with Vision Esports and its diverse portfolio of esports companies," Hal Steinbrenner, New York's Managing General Partner and Co-Chairperson, said in a statement.

Since its creation in 2015 by three-time NBA champion Rick Fox, Echo Fox has fielded teams in several competitive scenes. In League of Legends, the team has been a regular in the North American LCS and has reportedly secured a franchising spot in the league. The company has since expanded into Vainglory and fields teams in Call of Duty, H1Z1 and Gears of War.


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Former Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez slips a New York jacket onto unassuming Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz.
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The Baseball Tonight crew says the Yankees are playing smart baseball, as Masahiro Tanaka seems to be finally settling into his role, and explains what to expect out of Justin Verlander in Game 6 in Houston.
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Aaron Judge's playoff woes come to end in New York, breaking out with six RBIs and two homers to send the Yankees to a 3-2 ALCS lead.
Abbie Parr/Getty ImagesElder statesman Carlos Beltran, left, took it upon himself to counsel his Astros teammates before they headed back to Houston facing elimination.

Just one loss from October oblivion after a season as a front-runner, Houston must show it can handle the challenge of facing elimination.
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NEW YORK -- Of the opposing athletes who have inspired New Yorkers to feel an overwhelming sense of postseason doom, Michael Jordan remains the modern-day standard. Dallas Keuchel was never Michael Jordan, but this much was clear: When Keuchel threw the baseball, the New York Yankees often took swings that were reminiscent of Jordan's minor league cuts with the 1994 Birmingham Barons.

Let's face it, if Keuchel shaved off his "Duck Dynasty" beard, he might've been confused with Hal Steinbrenner. The Houston Astros starter owned the Yankees, after all, terminating their season in the 2015 wild-card game and silencing them last week in Game 1 of this American League Championship Series. In those two October games, Keuchel struck out 17 Yankees and allowed seven hits, two walks and no runs in 13 innings.

Keuchel wasn't just an opportunistic lefty who hit his spots. He was a fire-breathing dragon, and in the Bronx there didn't appear to be any dragon slayers in sight.

"To beat him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi had conceded, "we have to be close to perfect."

Guess what? His players went out and beat Keuchel, and they didn't need to be close to perfect. They just needed to be smart, patient and completely connected to a Yankee Stadium crowd that has time-traveled itself back to a time and place when the old Stadium, in the '90s, was as forbidding to visiting antagonists as the Roman Colosseum.


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Masahiro Tanaka strikes out eight over seven scoreless innings and Gary Sanchez drives in two runs, including a solo home run, as the Yankees blank the Astros 5-0 for a 3-2 ALCS lead.
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Didi Gregorius says that it's "unbelievable" to play behind the guys on the mound, who held the Astros to .120 BA in the last three days at Yankee Stadium.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
CC Sabathia
WINS ERA SO IP
14 3.69 120 148
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Gregorius .287
HRA. Judge 52
RBIA. Judge 114
RA. Judge 128
OPSA. Judge 1.049
ERAL. Severino 2.98
SOL. Severino 230