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New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros: Series preview

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The world champion Astros come to the Bronx for a three-game series.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It was less than a month ago that the Yankees took three out of four games from the Houston Astros. Now they can show it wasn’t a fluke, as the reigning world champions are in town for a rematch.

The Astros have played well of late, winning seven of their last 10 games. They dropped a stunner to the Cleveland Indians yesterday, however, losing in walk-off fashion. Wouldn’t it be a real shame if that carried over into the next series?

Game One: Domingo German vs. Justin Verlander

After a brilliant debut start, German crashed back down to Earth. The rookie right-hander owns a 5.59 ERA with a 4.65 FIP. His command, in particular, has been worrisome. The good news is that German already faced the Astros and has had success! He tossed four innings of shutout ball on May 1st. More of that, please.

Verlander’s resurgence with the Astros has continued into 2018. The power right-hander has an absurd 1.08 ERA with a 2.03 FIP. He’s also working with an 11.21 K/9 rate, well above his already good career norm. He stifled the Yankees earlier in the month, hurling eight scoreless innings. Aaron Boone’s squad might best be served waiting him out and targeting Houston’s bullpen.

Game Two: CC Sabathia vs. Charlie Morton

The good times came to an abrupt halt for Sabathia. The big left-hander owns a 6.05 ERA over his last four starts. His peripherals aren’t much better, as Sabathia’s pitched to a 5.02 FIP and 1.86 HR/9. He received no-decision for his last start, but allowed seven runs over 4.1 innings against the Rangers. The Yankees need CC to bounce back and quick.

Morton, on the other hand, has been a revelation for the Astros. He’s pitched to a 2.04 ERA over 61.2 innings. If you look below the surface level, his advanced metrics are pretty solid. He has a 3.31 FIP with a 10.95 K/9 rate. Morton tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Yankees last month, so the Bombers know how effective he is. Hopefully they have an answer for him this time around.

Game Three: Luis Severino vs. Dallas Keuchel

By now it’s common knowledge that Severino is the Yankees ace. His 2.28 ERA is nearly identical to his 2.26 FIP. Most indicative, however, is the fact he can turn in a strong outing without his best stuff. If anyone is looking forward to facing the Astros, it’s Severino. He threw a complete game shutout last time around!

Typically, the Yankees would be fearful of a Keuchel start. Lately, however, they seem to have his number. The 2017 squad got to him in the ALCS, and this year’s squad tagged him for three runs over seven innings. Giancarlo Stanton took him deep — twice! He’s still a strong pitcher, with a 3.39 ERA (4.04 FIP) to show for it. They can’t take him for granted, but I feel better about facing him now than I used to.