The All-Star Game is done and dusted, and the New York Yankees are all set to begin the second half of a dominating season so far. The Bombers lead the American League East table with an incredible 64-28, and their competition has been with their franchise history so far. However, the Yankees will start the second half of the season with a crucial doubleheader against their top AL rivals Houston Astros. The Pinstripers hit a bit of a rough patch entering the All-Star break with an 8-7 record in their last 15 games. The New York team is going with a game pace for 113 wins. However, their dominating form does not guarantee them the no. 1 seed in the American League, with the Astros catching up quite quickly.
The Astros have a 59-32 record this season and are just 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees, entering the doubleheader at their home ground in Houston. The doubleheader is expected to set the course for the second half of the season. However, the Bombers cannot afford to take the encounter seriously as they risk conceding the home-field advantage in a possible ALCS matchup.
Talking about the upcoming encounters, Aaron Judge said that the two best teams in the AL would play two back-to-back games right after the break would be exciting. The four-time All-Star shared that every time the Yankees go to Houston, the crowd is always into it, and the stadium is packed. Judge was looking forward to leaving a mark during the competitive encounters on Thursday.
Could The Astros Pull Of An Upset Against The Yankees?
The Houston Astros have certainly got the firepower to take down the Yankees on Thursday. They seem to have a perfect match for every successful Yankee player this season. Judge is headed towards creating a homerun history with a .982 OPS. However, he is still behind Houston’s Yordan Alvarez, who has an MLB-best OPS of 1.058. Meanwhile, the Yankees rotation has been surprisingly dominating with a team ERA of 3.20. However, the Astros have the AL_best ERA of 3.15. The Yankees’ Gerrit Cole has gone 9-2 with a 3.02 ERA. But, the Astros have Justin Valendar, who has gone 12-3 with a 1.89 ERA, outsmarting Cole.
Further, the Yankees have a defensive efficiency of .725 while the Astros are right behind with .722. The Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole shared that the team knew how tough the Astros were. Cole admitted that it was not like just another game as there would be more adrenaline and great players on the opposition team. He added, “They match us well, and they pitched well against us. So, there’s some competitive juice in there.”
The Pinstripers have lost only two series during the first half against the Reds and the Astros. The Reds beat the Yankees by a 2-1 last week, while Houston won three of the five matches. The Bombers will now face the Astros after the doubleheader for the rest of the regular season. However, the Yankees lead their division by 13 games and do not have much to worry about. As per Tankathon, the Bombers are the 10th hardest schedule remaining. They will be facing teams with a cumulative win percentage of .510. And the Astros are the seventh-easiest team to beat, with a win percentage of .489. Thus, it will be interesting to see who comes on top after the doubleheader on Thursday.