Houston Astros (52-73) at New York Yankees (63-59), 6:05 p.m. (CST)
TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Yankees SBNation Blog: Pinstripe Alley
LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-8, 3.87 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. LHP Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.13 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
After four games with the Red Sox, the Astros head south to New York to face the other half of America's oversaturated rivalry. Houston took two of three in their opening series of 2014 with the Yankees. Since then that series both teams have gravitated to their nature spots over the past few season. The Astros have grown with a young crop of prospects, and the Yankees' high-priced vessel keeps cruising along with the captain at the helm.
After an offseason of high-prices accusations like Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran, the Yankees have turned to smaller scale accusations at the trade deadline (and waiver wire). In hope of getting Derek Jeter to the playoffs one more time. Picking up former Red Sox Stephen Drew, Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Francis, and tonight's starter Chris Capuano. These aren't moves to shake up the world but help raise replacement level of the team from quadruple-A players to major league quality. Not to mention the fact the Yankees got solid third baseman Chase Headley for some peanuts and a bag of balls. But will it be enough with CC Sabathia, Tanaka, and Ivan Nova out of the rotation with injuries?
The Yankees sit second in the American League East, eight and half games behind the Orioles. New York just dropped two games against the O's setting the season series at 3-8 - leaving only the Wild Card as the only reasonable playoff option. The Yankees are only three games back of the second spot in the American League Wild Card - lumped together with six teams that are separated by six games. The Yankees are coming off a winning series against direct wild card competition, taking two of three against the Rays.
As previously noted the Yankees send out Chris Capuano for the start today. The longtime Brewer started with the Red Sox this season, taking a pitstop in Colorado, and finally ending up in New York. He is making his fifth start this season for the Yankees, he has managed to pitch through the sixth inning in all four previous starts. Capuano's last start came in Baltimore, he gave up four runs over six innings on six hits in a losing effort. Coming into this season, Capuano had an alarming trend of right-handers batting .300 against him. This season the split has flipped in this small sample size, as left-handers are batting .317 against him.
Capuano faces an Astros offense that is finding it's face, lead by Jose Altuve, Robbie Grossman, Dexter Fowler, and Chris Carter. Altuve and Fowler have previously faced Capuano - Altuve is 1-for-3 with a triple and Fowler is 5-for-17 with two walks. Chris Carter is the reining American League player of the week , batting .320 (8-25) with three home runs and eight runs batted-in. Robbie Grossman is batting .308 (12-39) with seven walks and two home runs.
Brett Oberholtzer is a native of Christiana, Delaware, which is two and half hours away from New York City. Oberholtzer hopes to continue his hot streak on the mound, coming into tonight's start he has six-straight quality starts. He has pitched through the seven inning in the three sight starts and allowed a total of just five earned runs. In his last ten starts he is 4-2 with a 2.84. I think you get the point, Oberholtzer has been pretty darn good since returning to the Astros rotation.
Oberholtzer did make his season debut against the Yankees, in game three of the Astros Opening Series of the 2014 season. He allowed three runs over 5.2 innings. The Yankees didn't hit him hard, but enough to pick up the 4-2 victory for New York. Derek Jeter was 1-for-2 with a walk against Obe, and Ichrio Suzuki also picked up a hit in the game. Brett Gardner was 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. Elisbury and Mark Teixeira were both 0-for-3.
The Astros will take two of three from the Yankees. New York is a team fighting for it's playoff lives but the Astros have show in the past weeks they are a different team coming into it's own. The left-handed bats, Grossman, Jason Castro, and Jon Singleton, will have a field day with the short porch in the series.