The Astros open a four game series in New York tonight in a clash of two American League titans.
The Astros (23-11) are off to their best 34-game start in franchise history. The Yankees (21-10) have the best record in the AL East, the toughest division in baseball.
This is no ordinary series for the Astros. The Yankees are only the second team with a winning record team the Astros have faced this season. On Sunday their matchup will be featured on Sunday Night Baseball, and Derek Jeter's jersey will be retired prior to the game.
So this series is a big deal, not only for Houston but especially for New York.
How will the Astros fare? Lets look at the matchups:
Game 1: Dallas Keuchel (5-0, 1.88) v. Michael Pineda (3-1, 3.12)
The AL pitcher of the month in April, Dallas Keuchel has been dominant so far this season. Keuchel has quality starts in six of his seven outings, and has yet to have a start of less than seven innings.
Pineda has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees, bouncing back after going 6-12 with a 4.82 ERA last season. The Yanks have won the last five games he has started, and he has what might be the best strikeout to walk ratio in the Majors at 43/5.
Game 2: Lance McCullers (2-1, 3.40) v. Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 3.81)
McCullers is coming off his best start of the season, allowing 0 earned runs in seven innings against the Angels. The fiery young righthander has been good in his role as the #2 starter, logging quality starts in five of his seven outings. He has struggled away from home, however, going 0-1 with a 5.51 ERA this season.
In his first year in the majors, Jordan Montgomery has actually been very respectable this season. The young lefty has quality starts in three of his five outings, and has 26 strikeouts in just 28.1 IP.
Game 3: Mike Fiers (1-1, 5.64) v. Luis Severino (2-2, 3.40)
The long ball has been the achilles heel for Mike Fiers, who leads all American League pitchers with 14 home runs allowed. His 5.64 ERA is worst among Astro starters, and he needs to improve if he wants to keep his spot in the rotation.
At just 23 years old, Luis Severino has impressed in his third season with the Yankees. The Dominican right hander leads the team in strikeouts (45) and WHIP (0.91). He was impressive in last Sunday's start against the Cubs, limiting the reigning champions to just one run in seven innings.
Game 4: Charlie Morton (4-2, 3.63) v. Masahiro Tanaka (5-1, 4.36)
Charlie Morton finally appears healthy in his role as the Astros #3 starter, scattering hits and keeping runs off the board. He's displayed great depth with his breaking balls, inducing countless swings-and-misses. He is off to a great start in May, allowing just two earned runs in two starts this month.
Masahiro Tanaka is back as the Yankee's ace, and after a rough couple of starts has bounced back with quality starts in five of his last six outings. He delivered a complete game shutout of the Red Sox a few weeks ago, allowing just three hits. If Tanaka is on, it could be a tough Sunday night for the Astros.
Yankees to Watch For:
Like the Astros, there is no real weakness in the Yankee's lineup. They are led by Starlin Castro, who leads the team with a .354 average. Aaron Judge has also been a force, bursting onto the scene with 13 home runs (tops in the AL) and a team-high 28 RBIs.
Aaron Hicks has emerged as another offensive threat for the Yanks, gaining more and more starts as the season progresses. He's hitting .338 with a team high 17 walks. Ronald Torreyes has been another pleasant surprise, hitting .305 while filling in for the injured Didi Gregorius.
Matt Holliday has also solid in his first year as a Yankee, hitting .287 with 19 RBI in his new role as a designated hitter.
This series should be a good one, folks. Lets keep riding this wave. #OurYear