On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, brought to you by Knoda.com, I started off the show by talking about the New York Yankees (63-59) taking two out of three from the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend. This series was huge for the Bronx Bombers, considering that they have had trouble taking series at Tropicana Field over the past couple of seasons. After being shut out by Alex Cobb on Friday, the team came up with timely hits to win the last two games of the series. That being said, this is a Yankees’ offense that still managed to only score seven runs over the course of the series. That being said, there was good news for New York over the weekend with Carlos Beltran playing games in right field and Brian McCann coming off the concussion list, two guys that will need to hit in order for the Yankees to make a postseason push.
With the team now three games behind of the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot in the American League, New York will be beginning a six-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros (52-73). While the Astros are in fourth place in the American League, this is still a team that beat the Yankees in two out of three games back at Minute Maid Park during the opening series of the season and that has already surpassed its win total from a season ago.
The Astros are coming into this series after getting a split of a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. It was a series where Bo Porter‘s squad scored a total of 24 runs. Two of the reasons why Houston’s offense is 15th in runs scored is due to guys like second baseman Jose Altuve and designated hitter Chris Carter. For Carter, he is having a standout season with 29 home runs in 109 games, already tying his career-high from a season ago. As for Altuve, the 24-year-old is leading the league in batting average at .339 and has 46 stolen bases on the season. One of their other young stars, outfielder George Springer, is still on the disabled list due to a quad injury.
As for Houston’s pitching staff, they did trade away Jarred Cosart to the Miami Marlins at the trade deadline, but got a good return coming back to them with guys like Colin Moran and Jake Marisnick, two young position players for their future. The “ace” of the team right now is 26-year-old Dallas Kuechel. Kuechel, the Astros’ starter on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, has a 3.11 ERA in 23 starts to go with his four complete games. Another pitching surprise has been Collin McHugh. The former Mets’ pitcher leads the team in strikeouts with 124 and has given up one earned run in each of his last four starts.
For this episode, I was joined by Greg Thurston, the senior editor of Climbing Tal’s Hill to preview the upcoming series. Greg gave his thoughts on some of the Astros’ players that could be on the team once the rosters expand September 1st as well as the Cossart trade. Here are the other topics that were discussed by Greg and I on the show:
- Biggest improvement from the Astros from last season to this season
- What has been behind Chris Carter‘s breakout season?
- Pitching Matchups
- Brett Oberholtzer (Tuesday’s Astros’ starter) with six consecutive quality starts
- Chris Capuano (Tuesday’s Yankees’ starter) with 15 combined strikeouts over his last two games
- Scott Feldman (Wednesday’s Astros’ starter) with a high amount of walks since the All-Star Break
- What to expect from Michael Pineda in his first home start since coming off the DL on Wednesday
- Greg’s scouting report on Kuechel and has he shown he could be the Astros’ front line starter in the future?
- Brandon McCarthy (Thursday’s Yankees’ starter) giving up two earned runs in each of his last two starts, both losses!
- Astros’ Players To Watch: (Greg: Dexter Fowler and Jake Marisnick Ricky: Jon Singleton)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch: Derek Jeter and Chase Headley