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Stanton 4, Astros 0

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Luis Severino Suffocates Astros Offense. Scoreless for Second Straight Night

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight was a tale of two men. One who scored all the runs. The other who prevented the scoring of any runs at all. Unfortunately they were both Yankees and together almost by themselves they handed the Astros their second straight 4-0 loss at Minute Maid Park.

Slumping Giancarlo Stanton’s season suddenly looks a lot better after tonight’s 3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI night. He gave the Yankees all the runs they would need in the first inning with a two run home run to right field off Houston starter Dallas Keuchel. He added a a solo shot to the Crawford Boxes in the fourth, and in the eighth he knocked in Aaron Hicks with a double.

And that’s the scoring for the game. Thanks Stanton, why did you have to break out tonight?

Oh well, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. Luis Severino threw his first career shutout, whiffing 10 Astros, allowing only 5 hits, and throwing 83 strikes in 110 pitches while hitting 100 on the radar gun.

It was the second straight game in which the Astros were shutout. The last time that occurred was in 2013. (Do I have to remind any of these readers how bad the Astros were in 2013)? Last night’s shutout came after the starting pitcher left with an injury, with most of the remaining shut out innings compiled by long reliever Domingo German. The Astros are now 22 straight innings without a run.

Good pitching beats good hitting and the Astros have had plenty of the former. But you can never ever win without scoring.

Dallas Keuchel, now 1-5, pitched well enough to win with normal run support, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in seven innings. Neither home run by Stanton was hit with his usual authority, but he managed to muscle both just over the fences. Keuchel’s ERA now sits at 3.98

The home run has been a bug-a-boo for Dallas this year, who has now surrendered 8 dingers in 43 innings pitched.

Colin McHugh finished the pitching chores for the Astros, again going scoreless in 1.1 innings. In 12 innings this year McHugh has 18 strike outs and a 0.75 ERA.

The Astros hope to salvage a tie in this four game series with the Yankees in tomorrow’s afternoon game at Minute Maid Park. Game time is 1:10 CDT. They’d better bring their bats. Masahiro Tanaka goes against Lance McCullers.

Box score here

Question: 1. Its getting a little late in the season to keep calling the reduced offensive production of the Astros a slow start. It’s starting to look like a pattern, a new normal. Is the departure of Carlos Beltran, Alex Cora, and/or assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell part of, all of , or not any of the reason for this decline?

2. No doubt there is jubilation in Yankeeland tonight, considering the improvement of two of the weakest links on the team with the highest expectations, Sonny Gray, and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees have dominated the World Champions for two nights in a row. Are the Yankees the new favorites to represent the AL in the World Series? Or is it the Red Sox? Or are the Astros still the best of the best?