The Houston Astros could be forgiven for looking past the New York Yankees...
...but that would be a mistake.
The Houston Astros host the New York Yankees for three games at MMP starting at 7:10 PM CT on Friday night. The two clubs met for four games in early-August, with each team taking two victories. Those four games plus the three about to be played comprise their complete seasonal series.
In that series finale, the Astros collected a 9-7 victory despite shaky pitching and poor hitting. Houston scored their nine runs with only six hits, mostly thanks to Jake Meyers (8, 9) (two home runs, six RBI). Yordan Alvarez (21) and Martín Maldonado (9) also took Bomber pitching deep. José Urquidy got lit up for five earned runs in 3 1⁄3 innings. J.P. France (8-3, 2.75) earned the victory with four strikeouts and just an unearned run allowed in 3 1⁄3 frames. Bryan Abreu (4) got the save, striking out two in 1 1⁄3 innings.
In their common all-time regular season history, the Astros are just 32-40 against the Yanks, the 44.4 percent win percentage ranks as their worst against any club. Don’t read too much into it, though, no other team has a winning percentage against the Yankees either. New York’s .556 winning percentage against the Astros ranks as their 19th-best. The Astros are 8-7 against Boston in the postseason, winning the 2017 ALDS three-to-one, losing the 2018 ALCS, four-to-one, and winning the 2021 ALCS, four-to-two.
Houston’s three games here against the Yankees is a one-and-done homestand. They just completed a 5-1 road trip and embark on another six-game roadtrip afterward. They’ll hit the road to face the San Diego Padres and the Oakland Athletics.
Houston won the final five games of that trip, including a sweep of the Boston Red Sox. In the series finale on Thursday, Houston jumped out to a 7-0 lead before holding on for an eventual 7-4 victory. The Astros managed a dozen hits, including two each from Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, Jeremy Peña and the suddenly-approaching-Mendoza-line Martin Maldonado. If this continues this tear, what will TCB readers complain about in the GT? I know. Dusty.
Framber Valdez (10-9, 3.38) earned the win with a Quality Start. He gave up four runs (two earned) over six innings, striking out five. He had made it through the first five giving up only one hit before the wheels came off in the sixth. Not to worry though...Kendall Graveman, Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly (29) came in for scoreless stretches to preserve the win. Graveman had to leave due to a back injury, and is currently listed as day-to-day.
The Yankees, in the meantime, have lost 30 of their last 47 to drop completely out of the postseason picture. Although technically still alive, their estimated playoff odds have reached the dreaded >.1 percent. These three games with Houston will close their current 10-game roadtrip, in which they lost two-of-three to the Tampa Bay Rays and won three-of-four against the Detroit Tigers.
In their most recent game, the Yankees lost a 4-3 contest in 10 innings to Detroit. Heading into the bottom of the ninth trailing 3-0, Anthony Volpe (17) hit a three-run homer to send it to extras. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your POV), Kerry Carpenter scored the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th on a Gleyber Torres throwing error. Jonathan Loáisiga (0-1, 0.71) was saddled with the loss, despite the run being unearned.
Houston Astros: 77-58, .570, tied for first in the AL West. Also in possession of the second wildcard spot, tied for third in the AL and 3 1⁄2 games ahead of the outside-looking-in Toronto Blue Jays. Tied for fifth in MLB. Last 10: WWLLLWWWWW. On pace for 92-70. Playoff Odds currently 88.2 percent (B/R).
New York Yankees: 65-69, .485, last in the AL East, 18 1⁄2 games behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles. Now 10 1⁄2 games behind the final wildcard position, ninth in the AL and 18th in MLB. Last 10: LWLWLLWWWL. On pace for 79-83. Playoff Odds currently >0.1 percent (B/R).
Around the AL West
All five AL West teams were out of action on Thursday. The three contenders are bunched up at the top, but the Seattle Mariners and Houston look to be on the upswing, while the Texas Rangers have been steadily losing ground over the past two weeks. The Los Angeles Angels are all-but-eliminated from any postseason consideration, with Shohei Ohtani unable to pitch and MIke Trout unable to hit, and the Oakland Athletics are one of two teams that are already mathematically eliminated.
AVG: Kyle Tucker .292, Mauricio Dubon .274, Gleyber Torres .270, Alex Bregman .266, Jeremy Peña .258
OBP: Kyle Tucker .375, Alex Bregman .365, Gleyber Torres .339, Anthony Rizzo .328, DJ LeMahieu .324
SLG: Kyle Tucker .517, Gleyber Torres .459, Alex Bregman .449, Anthony Volpe .411, DJ LeMahieu .395
OPS: Kyle Tucker .892, Alex Bregman .814, Gleyber Torres .798, DJ LeMahieu .719, Jeremy Peña .712
HR: Aaron Judge 29, Kyle Tucker 26, Yordan Alvarez & Gleyber Torres 23, Alex Bregman 22
RBI: Kyle Tucker 97, Alex Bregman 90, Yordan Alvarez 77, Jose Abreu 62, Chas McCormick 60
SB: Kyle Tucker 26, Anthony Volpe 21, Harrison Bader 17, Corey Julks 15, Chas McCormick 14,
W: Gerrit Cole 12, Hunter Brown, J.P. France and Framber Valdez 10, Cristian Javier 9
ERA: Gerrit Cole 2.95, Framber Valdez 3.38, Clarke Schmidt 4.56
WHIP: Gerrit Cole 1.04, Framber Valdez 1.10, Clarke Schmidt 1.34
SO: Gerrit Cole 188, Framber Valdez 164, Hunter Brown 152, Clarke Schmidt 133, Cristian Javier 119
Gametime and Starting Pitchers
Friday at 7:10 PM CT — Carlos Rodón (1-4, 5.97) vs. Justin Verlander (10-6, 3.06)
Saturday at 6:10 PM CT — Luis Severino (4-8, 6.64) vs. Hunter Brown (10-9, 4.47)
Sunday at 6:10 PM CT — Michael King (3-5, 2.96) vs. Cristian Javier (9-2, 4.66)
Who’s Hot (highest WPA vs. Boston)
Yordan Alvarez 48.2
Jose Altuve 39.7
Jeremy Peña 19.0
JP France 18.3
Mauricio Dubon 17.7
Who’s Not (lowest WPA vs. Boston)
Chas McCormick -1.6
Yainer Diaz -5.6
Martin Maldonado -10.1
Kyle Tucker -20.6
Cristian Javier -28.5
On This Date in Astros History
Houston is 26-24 on September 1 since 1962. In 1979, the Astros were 77-58 after defeating the New York Mets, 3-1. J.R. Richard (15-12, 2.96) hit a solo home run (2) and struck out five, allowing only an unearned run. Jose Cruz added an RBI single, and Denny Walling added a sacrifice fly.
Yankees starter Gerrit Cole pitched two all-star seasons for Houston, in 2018 and 2019. He was 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA, 602 strikeouts in 412 2⁄3 innings, and a 0.962 WHIP.
Franchise Leaderboard Check
33. Marwin Gonzalez & Yordan Alvarez 308
37. Rusty Staub 297
38. Kyle Tucker 291
41. Jason Castro & Moises Alou 513
43. Kyle Tucker 512
46. Dickie Thon 492
47. Yordan Alvarez 486
33. Phil Garner 119
34. Kyle Tucker 115
36. Bob Aspromonte 111
37. Yordan Alvarez 108
38. Adam Everett 102
39. Denis Menke 101
40. Morgan Ensberg, Michael Brantley & Bill Spiers 99
7. Glenn Davis 166
8. Cesar Cedeno 163
9. Alex Bregman 162
18. Ken Caminiti & Hunter Pence 103
20. Kyle Tucker 99
36. Rusty Staub 57
37. Martín Maldonado 54
40. Bob Aspromonte 51
41. Phil Garner, Jeff Kent, Mike Lamb, Daryle Ward & Eric Anthony 49
46. Josh Reddick 48
47. Denny Walling & Chas McCormick 47
28. Luis Gonzalez 366
29. Yordan Alvarez 360
30. Kyle Tucker 353
19. Lance Berkman 82
20. Kyle Tucker 79
44. Kazuo Matsui 40
45. Alex Bregman 39
21. Mark Portugal 52
22. Framber Valdez 51
44. Denny Lemaster, Greg Swindell and Brandon Backe 30
47. Cristian Javier, Charlie Morton and Jack Billingham 29
16. Tony Sipp 276
17. Ryan Pressly 275
46. Jim Deshaies, Ryne Stanek & Turk Farrell 181
35. Bud Norris 689 2⁄3
36. Framber Valdez 682
37. Justin Verlander 681
38. Roger Clemens 505
39. Cristian Javier 497
This is the perfect trap. Hopefully, the Astros don’t come in overconfident because the Yankees have faded. Make no mistake, the Yankees hate the Astros more than any other team, including all the AL East teams (except the Boston Red Sox). The Bombers are still dangerous enough to start Houston’s September on the wrong foot.
How many wins will the Astros take from the Tankees?
This poll is closed