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Yankees vs. Astros Series Preview

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Yankees vs. Astros Series Preview

The two best teams in the American League will square off a week before the All-Star break: New York Yankees at Houston Astros.

For the second time this year, first time in Minute Maid Park, the Yankees and Astros will square off in a three-game series.

Friday, June 30, 7:10 CT: Michael Pineda vs. Lance McCullers Jr.

Opening the series is the best pitching matchup.

Pineda, second in the Yankees rotation, this year, 7-4 with a 4.12 ERA. Though the ERA is a bit high, it does not give justice to the type of year he has had so far. He has 88 strikeouts in 87.1 innings, but has given up 87 hits, 17 home runs and 40 earned runs in just 15 games started.

Pineda is growing into the ace status he the potential he has been dubbed with last year. His last start, however, he went only 4 innings giving up 7 earned runs, 3 home runs, in his shortest outing of the year so far.

One start fresh of the DL, McCullers is looking just as sharp as before he went down. He went 5 innings giving up 4 hits, 1 run, struck out 8 and earned the win. Yes, the curveball was breaking the very same filthy way a McCullers curveball does.

Look for the Yankees to go after McCullers early in the count so it doesn’t come down to the curve. Look for the Astros to be aggressive as well. Though Pineda has a lower ERA and better stats in general on the road, he has given up 10 home runs, compared the to 7 he has given up at Yankee Stadium. A powerful and aggressive Astro lineup will be looking to drive the ball up and out and should be able to.

Saturday, July 1, 6:15 CT: Jordan Montgomery vs. Francis Martes

Game two consists of two rookies squaring off.

Montgomery, so far, is having a pretty good rookie season. In 14 games started, 81.2 innings, he has a 6-4 record with a 3.53 ERA and 79 strikeouts. His only problem has been his control. He has allowed 27 walks. He also has given up 72 hits and 10 home runs. Those hits and home runs given up aren’t bad for a rookie, but he will need to improve if the Yankees are looking at him to be the solid third guy when it October rolls around.

Martes, in 4 games, 3 started, has a 5.51 ERA with 16.1 innings pitched. In that time he has given up 15 hits, 10 runs, all earned, and 2 home runs. Martes’s problem, like Montgomery, has been in control. He has given up 11 walks.

Martes was called up and debuted June 9. He has not even been in the Majors for a month yet so it is hard to judge what kind of pitcher he will be when it comes down to it late in the season. So far, Martes has been sharp, with walks being his only issue. If he can get the base on balls number down, he will be shaping up to be a very nice ace in the hole come October.

But it is not October, it is June and this matchup is now. Expect anywhere near 4-8 walks combined between the two. This game will be more offensively involved than game one.

Sunday, July 2, 1:10 CT: Luis Severino vs. TBD (Possibly Mike Fiers)

Severino has been a nice surprise for the Yankees this season and is a big reason why they have 42 wins here in late June.

In 15 games, he has a 5-3 record with a 3.15 ERA in 94.1  innings. He has given up 77 hits, 33 earned runs 10 home runs while striking out 107. He has been consistently sharp this season and it seems like that some kind of fire he brings will be present Sunday.

There is no official pitcher scheduled to go for game three for the Astors. But following the recent rotation, Fiers pitched after Martes who pitched after McCullers last week.

In his last start, after 5 strong innings, things fell apart for Fiers in the 6th. He ended the day going 5.2 innings giving up 4 earned runs. The silver lining to take away was the 4 hits and 7 strikeouts Fiers had.

Fiers has been pushed around a bit this season and I’m sure the last lineup he wants to face is the Bronx Bombers. But as of late he has found a stride and looks to be riding it well. Recently Fiers has kept the walks down and strikeouts up. If he continues to do this and make the Yankees beat him the old fashioned way, things have the possibility to go Fiers’s way. This game, to me, seems like it will be dominated by pitching for the first 3 to 4 innings. And with good bullpens on both sides, it seems like whoever strikes first will come away victorious in this game.



Overall, I see the Astros taking at least 2 of the 3 games with a possibility of a sweep. With an 8-2 record in the last 10 games, a 2 game winning streak, it seems the Astros have more momentum going into the series than the 4-6 in the last 10 Yankees. Just like how hitting is contagious, so is pitching. And after great offensive and bullpen pitching series against the Oakland A’s, the rotation has nothing to do but heat up as well.

But don’t count out Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez’s Yankees. They are powerful and can strike early and often. Plus with a shutdown bullpen, it will be hard for the Astros to climb out of any hole late in the game, something they have done a lot this year.

This series has the possibility to be in October so it is as if we are getting playoff baseball here in late June. Should be a great series to watch.