On Deck: AL Wild Card Game

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On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every playoff series during the 2015 season. 

The Teams: The Astros collapsed then surged to end up holding off the Angels but falling short of the Rangers in the AL West. Regardless, they're in the postseason for the first time as an American League team and the first time since they reached the 2005 World Series. The Yankees persevered through injury and roster turnover to hang with Toronto much of the season and easily claim a Wild Card spot.

Past 2015 Meetings: The Astros won the season series 4-3 and took two of three in The Bronx back in August.

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Pitching Matchup: Tuesday — Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51)

What's Hot: Part-timer Luis Valbuena has been red-hot, hitting .538 with a .600 on-base percentage over his last five games. In those 13 at-bats, he has three doubles, two homers and two walks with three RBIs. Young star George Springer is hitting .458 in full-time action over his past five games with three doubles and a homer. Pint-sized hit machine Jose Altuve is batting .348 with three doubles, a triple, a homer and five RBIs in his last five games. Keuchel is going on three days' rest Tuesday and worked six innings his last time out in Arizona.

The Yankees' best two hitters over the past week are two guys I've honestly never heard of until just now — a perfect illustration of just how different this Yankees team is from the Yankees teams of the past. Rob Refsnyder and Greg Bird have been carrying the lineup over the past week, while veteran Carlos Beltran is hitting .316 with a homer and four RBIs in his last five games.

What's Not: Rookie sensation Carlos Correa has a team-high seven RBIs in his last five games but he's hitting just .238 in that time, while catcher Jason Castro is batting .200 in his last four. Some of the Astros' key relievers — Oliver Perez, Pat Neshek and Chad Qualls — have struggled over the past week.

Tanaka is coming off a pretty so-so outing his last time out, as he worked five innings and allowing four runs on five hits. All of the big-name veterans in pinstripes are struggling at the plate over the last week as Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Chase Headley are all hitting under .200, and Alex Rodriguez is batting just .211.

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