Justin Verlander did everything he could in his start the other day, as he went 8 innings striking out 14 Yankees and allowing just 3 hits. However, Ken Giles got roughed up for 4 runs and they had to take a hard loss. Verlander got zero run support in what was a dominant performance for him. The Yankees came back the following night and picked up another 4-0 win, but this time, the offense got going in the 1st inning. Same result, just a different way of accomplishing it.
Last night provided the Yanks with another win to advance to 20-10. Boston’s hearing footsteps, and it’s likely only a matter of time before the Yankees overtake the Red Sox. It doesn’t really mean much this early in the year, and I suspect the more talented team eventually wins out in the American League East. The Red Sox lost to the Royals a couple of nights ago and then barely edged them out, 5-4, a night ago.
The Astros head into Thursday with a record of 20-12. Not bad at all, but they’re going to face more pressure later in the season. The Yankees were not this good last year. The ‘Stros had a fairly easy path to the World Series. It likely won’t be as simple this year. Lance McCullers, who has looked good of late, will attempt to get a split in this series for the Astros on Thursday afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka will counter for the Yanks. Head below for our free Yankees vs. Astros pick.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Houston Astros Pick
Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 4.37 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1, 3.71 ERA)
The Yankees have just one loss on their resume in the last twelve outings. They started the year out with a record of 5-6, but have really turned it on of late. Severino earned the shutout last night, along with Giancarlo Stanton having the best game of his career in the Bronx. Stanton went deep twice to give the Yankees some offense. He’s had a slow start, all the while the Yankees are 11-1 in their last twelve. A team that can go 11-1 without one of their stars performing is a dangerous club. We’ll see if he can build off that this afternoon against McCullers. Stanton and the Yankees face another stingy test in McCullers. He’s been nearly perfect with an ERA of 0.90 and 0.65 WHIP in his last three outings. That includes just 2 runs allowed in 20 innings pitched. McCuller has also been best suited at home, with a 1.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP at Minute Maid.
Tanaka will try again against the Astros, a team he hasn’t had a nice experience against. The current Astros’ hitters as a group, are hitting him for a batting average of .340. George Springer and Carlos Correa have both taken him deep twice, with a total of 7 dingers allowed against this lineup. McCullers hasn’t allowed a home run against the Yankees up this point. Tanaka owns a 3.57 ERA in his last three starts, his last two much better than the third, as he gave up only 2 runs in his last two starts. This should be a good afternoon matchup between the Yanks and Astros. After getting blanked in the last two games against Yankees’ pitching, I like to think the Astros come to life on Thursday. It’s not a monster play by any means, but the Astros should have a successful outcome this afternoon.