3 keys for Astros in ALDS Game 3

3 keys for Astros in ALDS Game 3

KANSAS CITY -- The American League Division Series between the Astros and the Royals has been reduced to a best-of-three series, with Houston holding home-field advantage after splitting the first two games at Kauffman Stadium.

Here's what the Astros will need to do to make sure they take advantage in Game 3 at Minute Maid Park today at 4 p.m. ET, on MLB Network.

1. Ride Dallas
There was no more of a sure thing this year in baseball than Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel on the mound at Minute Maid Park. Keuchel made 18 starts at home and was 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA, so Houston will be about as confident as you can imagine. Keuchel has already risen to the challenge once, throwing six scoreless innings Tuesday against the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser in his first career playoff start.

Game Date Result
Gm 1 Oct. 8 HOU 5, KC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 9 KC 5, HOU 4
Gm 3 Oct. 11 HOU 4, KC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 12 KC 9, HOU 6
Gm 5 Oct. 14 KC 7, HOU 2

Home is perfect place for Keuchel in Game 3

2. Feed off the home crowd
Today will mark the Astros' first home playoff game in 10 years -- since the 2005 World Series -- and a pair of sellout crowds is waiting to greet them at Minute Maid Park for Games 3 and 4. Houston was dominant at home this year, leading the AL with a 53-28 home record. The noise level inside the ballpark should be buoyed by the retractable roof being closed for Game 3.

Shop for Astros postseason gear

3. Find the power stroke
The Astros were 57-11 in the regular season when hitting multiple home runs, and they kept that formula going in the postseason. They hit two homers in Tuesday's win over the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game and two more in Thursday's ALDS Game 1 win over the Royals. Houston got only a homer from Colby Rasmus on Friday and will need to take advantage of the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.