In opening up a three-game set against the Astros in Houston, the Yankees will do their best to avoid creating an on-field representation of the 2019 American League Championship trophy replicas being handed out to fans in Minute Maid Park today. In addition to the giveaway today, the Astros will deliver fans replica 2019 ALCS rings (?) tomorrow, and José Altuve jerseys on Sunday.
After missing out on the opportunity to match up even a single time in last year’s COVID-shortened season, the Yankees took two-of-three in the Bronx to open up this season’s string of games against the Astros.
After Jake Odorizzi opens the top half of the first for the Astros, Nestor Cortes Jr. will toe the slab in the bottom half. The former 36th-rounder has pitched his way to the best first-half of his career, outperforming his 2020 ERA of 15.26 to the tune of a 1.29 ERA in 21.0 innings. With his newly minted array of kooky deliveries, he seems to be making the most of his athletic abilities, taking the unorthodox toolbox of a Johnny Cueto or Marcus Stroman to the next level. He even incited a chuckle from the American League’s presumptive MVP — at least at the end of the first half.
Odorizzi’s been no world-beater, but he’s done enough to give baseball’s best offense an opportunity to win more often than not. After allowing at least three runs in five or fewer innings in four of his first five starts unmarred by injury, he’s permitted just a single earned run in his last 20 innings, good for a pair of wins and no decisions, and now sports a solid 3.70 ERA.
The streaky Yankees offense will need to find a way to get things done early and often, at least enough to earn an opportunity to attack the lesser arms of Houston’s pen before running into the buzzsaw that is their second-time All-Star closer, Ryan Pressly (who hasn’t allowed a run to score since May).
The Yankees will opt for a pairing of Tyler Wade and Brett Gardner in left and center, inserting defensive prowess in lieu of the more offensively-able Miguel Andújar. Also, Odor enters at second with DJ sliding over to first in Voit’s absence after going hitless on Thursday following seven hits across the first two games of the club’s series against Seattle.
How to watch:
Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
First pitch: 8:10 pm, EDT.
TV Broadcast: YES, MLB Network (out of market)
Radio Broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280, KLAT 1010, KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99/1 FM HD-2
Online Stream: MLB.tv