This past week in Major League Baseball was perhaps the most eventful week of the season. From Freddie Freeman’s emotional homecoming to Atlanta, to a big Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels brawl. However, the most exciting series of the week was the four game set between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees. The two best teams in the American League met, and the series exceeded the hype. There were multiple walk-offs and a no-hitter en route to a 2–2 series split. After a passionate Astros/Yankees series, there are a lot of takeaways for both teams.
Going into this series, a 2–2 split would have been a perfectly fine result. However, it is the way that the Astros lost that feels as if they left some things on the table. In the games that they lost, they had the lead the majority of the game. The Yankees staged a couple of impressive comebacks culminating in walk-off hits by Aaron Judge. Houston very well could have swept New York in this series. While there is still a large gap in the standings between these two teams, the Astros showed that they can go toe-to-toe with the Yankees, even in the hostile environment of Yankee Stadium.
One of the big takeaways from this series is that the Astros could certainly use another bullpen piece. Currently, with Blake Taylor and Parker Mushinski on the IL, Houston doesn’t have any lefties in the bullpen. The addition of another reliever would add to the depth of the bullpen, and it could be the difference in a postseason run.
Another takeaway from the series is the success of the Astros’ starters. Framber Valdez gave up three early runs in his start and then shut the Yankees down after that. Justin Verlander did typical Verlander things. Cristian Javier had the best start of his career, throwing seven no-hit innings, and striking out 13. The bullpen went on to finish the no-hitter. Jose Urquidy, who has been the Astros’ most inconsistent starter, took a no-hitter into the seventh. The Astros’ starters out-pitched an incredible Yankees rotation.
While the Yankees very well could have been swept by Houston, they weren’t, and that is a testament to the strength of the lineup and Judge. New York has ten walk-off wins this season, and this series showed that they can come back on anyone. If they have good at-bats, they are never out of the game. Even though it has struggled a bit recently, the Astros have had one of the best bullpens this season. For the Yankees to come back against Houston’s bullpen twice, it truly shows how dangerous they are.
Another takeaway from the series is that the Yankees are a little home run dependent. New York scored one run in this series that wasn’t from a home run, and that was Judge’s walk-off single in game one. It hasn’t really been an issue to this point in the season, but it does make one a little nervous.
Yankees starters have been outstanding this season, but they did show a few signs of fatigue in this series. Jameson Taillon gave up six runs, Luis Severino gave up three runs, and Nestor Cortes also gave up three runs. It could just be the fact that they were playing a strong Astros team. Can they maintain the level of success that they have had to this point in the season? Should they add a starter at the trade deadline? These are questions that they face after this series.
Astros/Yankees Meet Again Soon
After an exciting series this past week, the Astros and the Yankees will meet again in a one game instance on Thursday, June 30th. The pitching probables were supposed to be Gerrit Cole and Verlander, but Houston has altered its’ rotation according to Astros reporter Brian McTaggart. The new matchup will likely be Cole vs Luis Garcia. This must-see game will take place at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
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