With the stage set for a rematch of the 2017 ALCS, the Yankees took the field at Minute Maid Park on Friday for their team workout ahead of this year's Championship Series.
And while there were no fans in the seats on Friday, the Yankees know that the Astros home-field advantage has been very real over the past few seasons, but it's nothing the team doesn't think they can' handle.
"I think our guys relish in this," said Aaron Boone. "Clearly the Astros have shown that they have a really good home-field advantage here, not only this year but even going back a few years and a lot of us are aware of how loud this place can be, but a lot of our guys will relish in that, embrace that, and hopefully find a way to have success through it all. But I don't worry about that affecting our guys and our performance."
"I think the biggest thing is just getting the experience, getting the experience in front of the fans, in the big situations," said Aaron Judge. "Because playing at Yankee Stadium with 50,000 yelling and screaming, that's a lot of fun, that's where you want to play, but in the postseason it's a different animal no matter where you go."
The Astros earned home-field advantage in the ALCS thanks to their MLB-best 107 wins during the regular season. Four of those wins game against the Yankees in their seven matchups.
"They've got a good team that not only can hit for power but get guys on base, they can steal, good defense, good pitching staff, and the same for us," said Judge. "We've got guys that get on base, hit for power, so I'm looking forward to it."
Houston also has perhaps the pitching rotation of any team still alive in the playoffs. The Astros will pitch Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole in Games 1,2, and 3, respectively.
"I think just staying confident, staying aggressive.," DJ LeMahieu said about facing the Astros' pitching. "I feel like we've beaten good pitchers all year. It's what our offense thrives on, so I'm excited for the challenge."
In 2017, the Yankees held a 3-2 series lead in the ALCS, but the Astros came back to win the final two games en route to a World Series win over the Dodgers.
For the players who were on the Yankees then, and even to the players who weren't, there's a feeling that this year's Bombers group is different than the one that was eliminated two years ago.
"Going through what we went through in 2017 and last year, had a really good team the last two years, and this year included, and just came up short of our ultimate goal," said Brett Gardner. "Hopefully this year is different. I've got a better feeling about this group of guys that we have. We had a really good regular season even though we dealt with a lot of adversity, so we're ready for this opportunity.
"It's experience. You go through it once, go through it twice, and especially for those guys who did it here and lost here, I feel like there's extra motivation," added Giancarlo Stanton. "And the same thing for how last year went."
First pitch of Game 1 from Houston is set for 8:08 p.m. on Saturday.