Yankees set to take on Astros in a no-strings-attached push for win

Yankees vs. Astros

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After earning the first series win after 10 losses, the New York Yankees are set to face their most hated playoff rivals, the Houston Astros. This 3-games series is scheduled to take place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, where the Yankees are visiting for the first time this season.

The Yankees are still stuck in the bottom of the AL East with a 65-69 season record, while the hosting Astros have a 77-58 record. The Yankees are 10.5 games further out of the playoff race. The Astros are fighting for the Wild card spot after being taken over from the first place in the AL West by the rampaging Seattle Mariners last week.                                     

Even though the Yankees are coming off a 3-1 series win over the Detroit Tigers, the truth is that after the All-Star break, the current Bronx Bombers have lost all the series in which the opposing team is over the .500 mark.

In terms of the record of series (wins-losses-ties), each team:

  • The New York Yankees are faring a 2-10-2, carrying a recent series win.
  • The Houston Astros are 9-2-3, with a two-series win streak.

The all-time record of the New York Yankees versus the Houston Astros is 40-32. The New York Yankees have won most of those 72 games, cumulating a 4.09 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .238 AVG, .318 OBP, .384 SLG and .703 OPS against the Astros.

The Astros are 35-31 with 4.04 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and .255 opp. AVG when playing at home this season. On the other hand, the Yankees are 29-36 with a 4.17 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and .231 opp. AVG.

The Yankees and Astros are even (2-2) this season after playing just a 4-game series in which the Astros won the last game and outscored the Yankees by 3 runs, in a series where New York scored 17 runs and Houston scored 20 runs.

The Astros are 5th in runs average scoring 5.1 runs per game, 10th in runs allowed, 5th in hits average with 8.9 hits batted per game, and 12th in hits allowed with 8.2 hits per game. The Bronx Bombers are 23rd in runs average scoring 4.2 runs per game, and made a better job allowing fewer runs, cutting from 14th to 10th in the rankings with the 4.3 runs allowance the team has. Regarding hits allowed, the Yankees average 7.7 hits per game, which is ranked 1st in the MLB. Moreover, the Yanks continue as 29th in the average of hits with 7.4 hits per game.

The New York Yankees have made some moves in the roster aiming to get a better display of baseball skills and a higher level of commitment and effort coming from the players to get things going in the remaining games of this 2023 season without letting the big picture affect the team’s game. The release of Josh Donaldson (then signed to a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers), RHP Spencer Howard, and placing CF Harrison Bader on outright waivers (later claimed by the Cincinnati Reds) are part of the adjustments in the franchise focused on shaking the things up and opening space for younger talent with proven potential like Jasson Dominguez.

The Yankees are on a mission to at least finish this season above the .500 mark to avoid falling into a losing season for the first time since 1992, but the Astros are also seeking a way to keep their playoff aspirations alive by winning as many as possible while playing catch behind the Seattle Mariners. Therefore, this series will for sure be one of the most interesting and entertaining, considering that the rivalry of these two teams will be fueled again in a moment where the situations of each are extremely valuable.

Yankees vs. Astros Game 1 on September 1, 2023, 8:10 PM ET

Carlos Rodon’s statistics:

2023 Regular Season145.9788037.2331.41
Career Regular Season57503.701601550885.09801.25
Source: MLB

In his last outing, Rodon recovered from a shaky first inning to provide 4 2/3 innings of two-run ball, limited to 84 pitches. Making it, the second game in in a row in which this lefty pitcher allows less than 3 runs.

Carlos Rodon has a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 2.39 and 49 strikeouts in 8 appearances against the Astros in his career. However, when playing as part of the visiting team against Houston, his ERA is 1.86 with 18 strikeouts against 9 walks in 3 appearances, in which he allowed 16 hits and 4 earned runs.

Regarding Rodon’s performance against the Astros batters, here are the statistics of those previous encounters:

 Rodón, Carlos10294162032524.521.976.90.170.2870.2330.1460.220.286.515.9
 Brantley, Michael32323000618.818.5000.0940.0940.0830.0910.1130.0928411.1
 Altuve, Jose26237101519.220.427.70.3040.4780.3760.2420.3820.31985.518.6
 Alvarez, Yordan109300133021.71100.3330.6670.4460.1960.2710.25292.410
 Bregman, Alex109210022014.31100.2220.3330.2820.2280.3360.2829014.4
 Maldonado, Martín11100000545.527.319.1000.0630.0740.1130.13582.811.4
 Tucker, Kyle54000012010120000.1390.0620.150.20796.737.7
 McCormick, Chas44000025033.3000000.0640.0760.0648725.5
 Abreu, José110000110060000000
 Peña, Jeremy1000000011000.6960.696
 Meyers, Jake2210010033.3000.521.0030.0930.380.1993.446.5
Source: Baseballsavant

Considering those numbers, the Yankees starter will have to bring an effective strategy that can help him to hold the Astros batters as players like Altuve or Alvarez have figured out his pitches and made solid contact. Therefore, ground balls, foul outs, or any other way to put out these will be the best approach since the strikeout percentage these batters had is quite low. Nevertheless, the expected batting average favors Rodón, but he still has to be careful with his deliveries against players like Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, Chas McCormick, and Jose Abreu.

The pitcher who will start on the mound for the Astros is veteran RHP Justin Verlander.

Justin Verlander’s basic statistics:

2023 Regular Season1063.0621210123.11101.17
Career Regular Season2541393.2350350303286.133081.12
Source: MLB

Justin Verlander has an ERA of 2.25 in his last 3 games he pitched. The current AL Cy Young Award winner is on a 3-game win streak. This veteran right-handed pitcher has a 10-8 record with an ERA of 3.21 and 154 strikeouts in 26 appearances versus the Yankees in his career.

Here are the numbers of the active New York Yankees players that had the opportunity to face Justin Verlander at home plate before this game:

 Verlander, Justin174162314084324.729.1105.70.1910.3640.260.2470.4510.31990.717.9
 Judge, Aaron353440021028.631.312.90.1180.2940.180.2820.6140.37994.927.4
 LeMahieu, DJ3228910239.47.5412.50.3210.5710.410.3740.6540.46890.40.6
 Torres, Gleyber3029610062025.413.30.2070.2410.210.1650.2280.18784.524.9
 Stanton, Giancarlo27244202103750311.10.1670.50.3210.2220.4740.34597.50.4
 Bauers, Jake18174001633.329.515.60.2350.4120.2970.340.5960.41493.424.6
 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah17164001529.425.9000.250.4380.3170.1840.280.23288.122
 Volpe, Anthony7600000031.3000000.1970.2820.18185.317.1
 Higashioka, Kyle55000024040000000.0120.0180.01486.753.3
 Rortvedt, Ben330000133.320000000.0410.0770.04791.233.5
Source: Baseballsavant

Considering the shown effectiveness that Verlander had when facing the Yankees players, this matchup will be a big challenge for the Bronx Bombers.

Yankees vs. Astros Game 2 on September 2, 2023, 7:10 PM ET

Luis Severino’s statistics:

2023 Regular Season486.641716081.1711.66
Career Regular Season54373.751391230719.17801.18
Source: MLB

This Yankee right-handed pitcher has finally bounced back to his dominant form flipping over the script. Luis Severino has an ERA of 1.53 in his last 3 games this season, with a record of 2-1 over 17.2 IP and 0.85 WHIP. 11 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 HR, and 4 BB. He was able to earn his first win on the road in the last appearance against Detroit.

The Yankees starter has lost the last 3 games he started against the Astros and holds a 1-2 record when playing at Minute Maid Park.

Regarding Severino’s performance against the Astros batters, here are the statistics of those previous encounters.

 Severino, Luis153138359063422.221.7117.20.2540.4490.3360.2530.430.3388.814.3
 Bregman, Alex26234201519.22027.70.1740.3910.2920.2180.3390.29189.519
 Altuve, Jose33339101721.221.7000.2730.3940.2830.2280.3760.25685.77.3
 Brantley, Michael21185101314.312.529.50.2780.50.3790.3130.4920.3948915
 Abreu, José19187300315.815.4000.3890.5560.420.3390.4120.34989.79.7
 Tucker, Kyle118200119.112.5327.30.250.6250.4570.2550.6970.47593.931.6
 Maldonado, Martín13122100538.534.8000.1670.250.2170.1890.3270.25685.611.9
 Alvarez, Yordan1192001436.430218.20.2220.5560.3880.2630.6040.42692.614.4
 Meyers, Jake661100466.735.7000.1670.3330.210.2080.4850.291105.819
 McCormick, Chas43000012527.3125000.1740.080.0880.22869.739
 Peña, Jeremy54200012033.31200.50.50.4920.3040.430.39289.30.3
 Dubón, Mauricio220000000000000.20.2370.19389.643
 Diaz, Yainer221001000000.521.0030.4521.3040.72597.92
Source: Baseballsavant

The pitcher that will start on the mound for the Houston Astros is no other than the rookie RHP Hunter Brown.

Hunter Brown’s basic statistics:

2023 Regular Season1094.4725240133.01521.33
Career Regular Season1293.9932260153.11741.30
Source: MLB

Hunter Brown has an ERA of 7.45 and a record of two wins and one loss in the 3 most recent games he appeared on the mound. He has faced the Yankees once before this scheduled game, allowing 5 hits with 2 runs on 2 home runs, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts in 6 innings. He was credited with the win.

Brown’s experience against the players in the Yankees lineup:

 Brown, Hunter19175002210.56.5210.50.2940.6470.4230.2170.3080.27688.25.7
 Stanton, Giancarlo320000133.333.3133.3000.2320.0240.0240.24686.5-38
 Bauers, Jake332001133.320000.6671.6670.9630.1960.2240.183100.624
 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah331001000000.3331.3330.6680.2120.5250.30588.1-3.7
 Higashioka, Kyle221000000000.50.50.4410.4210.5260.41596.133
 Volpe, Anthony220000000000000.1390.140.12962.51.5
 LeMahieu, DJ220000000000000.2830.3920.28986.2-15.5
 Torres, Gleyber331000000000.3330.3330.2940.2420.2770.22793.716.3
 Cabrera, Oswaldo1000000011000.6890.689

Both pitchers have similar statistics based on their performances, but 27.1 K% of Hunter Brown is higher than Severino’s, which turns out to be huge for the Astros because the Yankees pitcher will have to rely on more situations of batted balls to record the outs.

Yankees vs. Astros Game 3 on September 3, 2023, 7:10 PM ET

Michael King’s statistics:

2023 Regular Season352.96433673.0871.15
Career Regular Season12143.54109137216.02421.20
Source: MLB

Michael King has an ERA of 3.38 in his last 3 outings. Two of those three were the starts. Michael King has a 2-1 record with an ERA of 3.38 and 8 strikeouts in 5 appearances versus the Astros in his career. King did not start any of those Yankees games but tallied a 2-1 record with 6 hits, only 2 runs, a home run, and 3 walks over 5.1 IP. Michael King has never earned a win decision on the road when facing Houston.

Regarding King’s performance against the Astros lineup, here are the statistics:

 King, Michael21194001628.626.729.50.2110.3680.290.2250.360.29886.313.6
 Altuve, Jose44100112516.7000.2510.5180.3150.7940.4788012.7
 Bregman, Alex311000000266.7110.7540.9311.1410.76593.313
 Maldonado, Martín331000266.757.1000.3330.3330.2940.3050.3480.28595.212
 McCormick, Chas22000015066.7000000.0110.0290.01788.134
 Abreu, José22000015033.3000000.0070.0110.00989.969
 Meyers, Jake1100001100000000
 Peña, Jeremy110000000000000.0910.0940.08290.2-23
 Dubón, Mauricio110000000000000.2110.3320.22888.123
 Diaz, Yainer11100000000110.8820.3340.3530.30157.432
 Brantley, Michael110000000000000.2630.2630.24101.2-7
 Tucker, Kyle110000000000000.0030.0030.00391.960
 Alvarez, Yordan11000000000000-74

Christian Javier’s basic statistics:

2023 Regular Season924.6625250131.11191.31
Career Regular Season29143.53103692435.24971.12

Cristian Javier has a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 7.24 in his last 3 games this season. This right-handed strikeout machine has dealt with difficulties in his command of the pitches as he granted 10 walks against 9 strikeouts in 13.2 IP in the span of those three games. Allowing also 12 runs on 19 hits.

His experience against the players in the Yankees lineup:

 Javier, Cristian625181031727.435.91016.10.1570.3530.2980.210.40.33591.230.9
 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah16143001318.820.7212.50.2140.4290.320.2650.4170.3418727.1
 Torres, Gleyber1110200019.131.319.
 Judge, Aaron1290000541.744.8216.7000.1750.0340.0470.20382.154.3
 Stanton, Giancarlo88210167557.9000.250.750.4080.2320.6550.364112.520.5
 LeMahieu, DJ421001125752500.520.8620.1260.470.46797.633
 Bauers, Jake330000000000000.0980.2420.14494.917.3
 Higashioka, Kyle210000000150000.3460.320.3530.49593.10
 Volpe, Anthony210000000150000.3480.7662.1740.965103.522
 Rortvedt, Ben2100000025150000.3480.0830.1150.38879.231
 Cabrera, Oswaldo22000015066.7000000.4050.4730.38210210

Michael King looks superior in most statistics, but putting in display the huge strikeout capacity King has will be a key in this matchup. Moreover, the 30.9 hard-hit percentage and 86.1 mph EV of King’s arsenal place the Yankees as the favorites based on the starting pitching matchup.

Figuring out early how to hit Javier’s arsenal, especially his Fastball and Slider is crucial for the Yankees.

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