The Houston Astros had their six-game win streak come to a close on Thursday afternoon, but they hope to get going again when the New York Yankees visit Minute Maid Park for a three-game series starting Friday night.
The Astros pulled off a four-game sweep in Cleveland and won the first two against the visiting Oakland A’s before losing 2-1 on Thursday.
New York took two of three from Houston when the teams met at Yankee Stadium May 4-6.
The Yankees also saw a winning streak come to a close on Thursday as they had won three consecutive games before being one-hit in a 4-0 loss in Seattle.
Before that, however, New York had lost seven of eight. The Yankees left Seattle nine games back of Boston for the AL East lead and 4 1/2 games behind Oakland for the final wild-card spot.
“It’s always big when the Yankees come to town. There’ll be probably a number of Yankee fans. Probably be a sellout, heightened security,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said Thursday.
“They’re fighting for their lives. I read some things before I got here, they didn’t like us too well. They didn’t really receive us well in New York so it should be a heck of a series.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone was asked if this trip to Houston held any significance since it will be the team’s first return since the 2019 ALCS in which the Astros won in six games.
The Yankees were very vocal about what they suspected was cheating by the Astros, something MLB would investigate later.
“Last time we were there was the ultimate heartbreak,” Boone said. “There were some amazing battles. I guess thoughts of going there, we need to play well … we need to try to win some ballgames to get ourselves in position coming out of the (All-Star) break to make a run. These are really important games for us against a really good team that is playing well. That is the focus.”
The Astros will start righty Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.70) who gave Houston six strong innings in his last outing Saturday in Cleveland.
Odorizzi, who has had injury issues over the past two seasons, pitched into the seventh against the Indians and has allowed just two runs (one earned) over his past four starts.
“It’s nice to get a little deeper into the game,” Odorizzi said after allowing one earned run off four hits in six innings on a season-high 91 pitches against the Indians. “I am fully back.”
Odorizzi is 7-9 with a 4.71 ERA lifetime against the Yankees although he has not faced them this season. In 99 1/3 innings against New York, Odorizzi has 93 strikeouts.
The Yankees will go with a spot start on Friday with Boone saying that lefty Nestor Cortes Jr. (0-0, 1.29) will get his second start of the season and this week.
Cortes got the start in the second game of a doubleheader against the Mets on Sunday, going 3 1/3 innings and giving up a run off two hits with four strikeouts. Cortes now has 29 strikeouts in 21 innings of work this season.
One New York pitcher who will not be going this weekend is righty Michael King who was placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to July 5) with a right finger contusion.
Houston also made a roster move on Thursday, placing lefty Brooks Raley on the IL due to health and safety protocols. The Astros called up Ralph Garza Jr. to take his place on the roster.
–Field Level Media