The marquee matchup of the weekend got started with a 4-1 Yankees’ win on Friday night. The Yankees rode a strong pitching performance by James Paxton to get the victory. There was no booing aimed at Paxton Friday, as he went 5 strong innings with just 1-run allowed. The bullpen took care of the rest and the Yankees continue to inch forward in the NL East.
Tampa are being forced to keep pace, but this looks like a lost cause for the Rays. They suffered a hard loss on Thursday night by blowing a 3-run lead late, with Friday night currently pending. I said this when they were way closer, in fact, the Rays had the lead at that point.
The most realistic scenario for Tampa is a wildcard. Competing with the Yankees, and maybe even the Red Sox who are currently behind, later in the year is a lot to expect. We’re not even into July yet, so we have a while until the finish line approaches.
The Astros winning the AL West looks like a foregone conclusion, though. Texas and Oakland are both over a touchdown away from them, and even if they go on a mini run, don’t be surprised if the Astros fight right back and fend them off. The Rangers don’t have enough pitching and the Athletics don’t have the firepower to match the Astros’ pitching.
The Astros are getting by fine without the crew all together as one. However, they’ve been showing signs of distress recently. After another loss Friday, the Astros have gone 0-5 in their last five games. Jose Altuve recently made his return, but they’re still waiting on Carlos Correa and George Springer.
Springer has been looking strong in his rehab assignment, and Correa is scheduled to return following the All-Star break. Their weak play recently hasn’t been ideal, but the Rays and A’s still haven’t put a dent in the lead. Head below for our free Astros vs. Yankees pick.
Houston Astros vs. N.Y. Yankees Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
While the Astros look to avoid a six-game losing streak Saturday, the Yankees are seeking an eight-game winning streak. The Yankees wasted little time in executing a trade to add another slugger to the mix. They were already stacked offensively, and bringing in Edwin Encarnacion makes them even scarier. Now, with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back in the lineup, there is a lot of fun that Aaron Boone can have in putting his daily hitters together. It isn’t an offense that any pitcher is going to want to navigate through. Pitching around one elite bat is just going to produce another at the plate.
There isn’t anything bad that can be said about Brad Peacock’s performance for the Astros on Friday. He did all he could to help his team get out of the funk they’re in. Peacock allowed 5 hits and 2 earned runs across 6 innings of work. That’s a major win for Peacock at Yankee Stadium. The Astro offense could do nothing to bother Paxton, though, and that was the difference. Wade Miley will get his crack at the Yankees on Saturday. Miley has struggled about pretty much everyone on the Yankees, so it could be an interesting day for him.
There are nine players on the Yankees’ roster that are hitting greater than .300 against Miley. Seven if we exclude Troy Tulowitzki, who of course will not be playing today. As a team, the Yankees are hitting .330 with a .407 OBP in 188 at-bats against him. That includes 4 home runs and 18 RBI’s. Encarnacion has bashed Miley in for a .368 average and 3 long balls, so his arrival will be welcome for this contest. Miley has pitched well this season, with an ERA of 3.30, but has struggled on the road with a 4.68 ERA as opposed to 1.91 in Houston.
The Astros have had success against Tanaka, so even if Miley has a rough day, the offense might be able to help them. They’ve been cold recently, though have found a lot of runs against Tanaka in the past. The Astros have hit 9 long balls against him in 103 at-bats for 19 RBI’s. They are also hitting .311 with a .366 OBP in that stretch.
Tanaka was out of sorts with 4 runs allowed in three straight games, before snapping that with a dominant performance against the Rays in his most recent outing. Houston have proven they know how to frustrate Tanaka, and this total at 10 looks like the oddsmakers are trying to trap people in on the UNDER. Miley and Tanaka both have nice overall numbers, which could be enough to get people to bite at 10, which is at even money right now, mind you. However, I expect us to see some runs here on Saturday, with at least enough to push the final score over double digits.