Jose Altuve, George Springer and a dominant rotation helped Houston lead the majors with a franchise-record 107 wins. Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge and a strong bullpen sent New York toward 103 victories.
Greinke pitches the opener, to be followed by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole as the Astros lined up their aces on regular rest. Masahiro Tanaka starts Game 1 for the Yankees, with James Paxton and Luis Severino up next.
HOMETOWN KID Washington ace Max Scherzer starts Game 2 of the NL Championship Series in his hometown of St. Louis. Scherzer also played college ball at the University of Missouri, but he had no interest in reliving old times.
"Yeah, grew up here, but at this point in time really doesn't mean anything because I got a bigger task at hand and that's to go out here and win it for the Nats," he said Friday. "So that's where my mind's at."
Scherzer was terrific in the Division Series against the Dodgers, striking out 10 while pitching eight innings of one-run ball. Adam Wainwright pitches for the Cardinals in his first game since he threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 3 of the NLDS against Atlanta.
OH BABY! The Nationals expect to get reliever Daniel Hudson back on the roster for Game 2. He was put on the postseason paternity list before the NLCS opener — Hudson and his wife welcomed a baby girl Friday. Washington manager Dave Martinez said everyone is healthy.
"For me, I told him, I said, 'Hey, family is always first,'" Martinez said. "I get it. I understand. The timing didn't work out like we thought. Baby wasn't ready to come out, so we get him back when we get him back."
Right-hander Wander Suero was on Washington's active roster against St. Louis until Hudson returns. Hudson has two saves and a win during the playoffs. Sean Doolittle closed out a 2-0 Game 1 victory Friday night.
JUST CHILLIN' It should be a bit warmer at Busch Stadium for Game 2 after overnight freeze warnings and frost advisories were posted in the St. Louis area. Many of the Nationals and Cardinals warmed up in hooded sweatshirts before the opener Friday night — temperatures were expected to drop into the low 40s by the last out. The forecast called for highs near 60 at the start of the second game.
For both teams, it was a quick switch from summer to fall. The Cards wrapped up their NL Division Series this week in Atlanta, where it was in the mid-90s. The Nationals came from their NLDS win at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
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