The New York Yankees (44-42, 21-20 away) and the Houston Astros (54-34, 28-17 home) begin a three-game series Friday night to close out the first half of the regular season. The two heavyweights have met just three times so far this year, with the Yankees owning a 2-1 advantage.
Friday night’s first pitch is slated for an 8:10 p.m. EST start inside Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. According to oddsmakers, the Houston Astros are the betting favorite (-145), and the run total is set at 9.5.
What to Know – New York Yankees
New York has won three of its last four games as they head into the weekend series. However, even with the recent wins, the Bronx Bombers are 4-8 over their last 12 games. The Yankees haven’t had the first half they expected, sitting in fourth place in the American League East.
Nestor Cortes (0-0, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) is penciled in to make the start for the Yankees. The lefty has worked out of the bullpen this year but made a spot start on Sunday. Cortes has been effective on the mound this season, throwing 21.0 innings while allowing three earned runs with 29 strikeouts.
The Yankees offense ranks 17th in batting average (.238) but ninth in on-base percentage (.324). Outfielder Aaron Judge paces the Yankees offense with 20 home runs, 46 runs batted in, and 49 runs scored. Judge will be representing the Yankees as a starter in the 2021 All-Star Game.
What to Know – Houston Astros
The Astros are tied with the Boston Red Sox for the best record in the AL and won six in a row up until a 2-1 loss to the A’s on Thursday night. Houston sits at the top of the AL West standings with a 4.5 game cushion over Oakland.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) is penciled in to take his final start of the first half Friday night. After a shaky first month, the 31-year has been a dominant force on the bump. Odorizzi hasn’t tallied a loss since June June 3rd, going 3-0 in six starts with a sub 2.50 ERA.
Houston has the best batting average in baseball, hitting .272 as a team. Six Astros batters have double-digit home runs, and four players have 50 RBIs or more. Second baseman Jose Altuve leads the way with 19 home runs and Yordan Alvarez with 56 RBIs.
The Pick is In
Odorizzi’s longest start was his last, which lasted six innings, so expect both teams to depend on their bullpens early in this one. The offenses will be able to take advantage of the pitching situation and plate runs early and often.
Houston on the money line is a safe bet, but the juice isn’t worth the squeeze here. Given these two batting lineups, expect a few home runs and a push to the over in the later innings. The Astros win this one 6-4.
The Pick: Yankees/Astros OVER 9.5