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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Houston tops Seattle, Tampa slaps around Oakland

Jeremy Peña’s moonshot highlights our recap of the Yankees’ possible playoff opponents.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees took care of business last night against the Blue Jays, coming into Toronto and quieting a powerful lineup to take a 3-2 win in the first game of the three-game series. Any time you win, you don’t have to worry quite as much about what the rest of the league is doing, but let’s take a look anyway.

Minnesota Twins (14-9) vs. Baltimore Orioles (8-15)

We saw a pitcher’s duel in Toronto, and the arms were the story at Camden Yards as well. The two pitching staffs combined for 15 strikeouts against just three walks, in a game the Twins ended up coming out on top 2-1.

Chris Paddack had another solid outing, working into the sixth inning and allowing just a single run, while Carlos Correa delivered the big hit, an RBI single that turned out to be the difference:

Like a lot of guys, Correa got off to a real cold start this year, but in the last week has posted an .830 OPS and driven in six, much more like the type of player we saw all those years in Houston.

Seattle Mariners (12-11) vs. Houston Astros (12-11)

Speaking of Houston, their pitching was the difference in their 3-0 win over the Mariners as well. Jake Odorizzi notched 6.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing just five baserunners as the Astros continued to claw back towards the Angels in the early AL West race.

Offensively, it’s funny we just talked about Correa above, because his replacement has been everything the Astros would have wanted and more:

Jeremy Peña has fit in just fine since becoming the team’s starting shortstop. Although his prospect standing was divisive — BA had him at #72 while Baseball Prospectus was much higher at 16 — he’s managed a 112 OPS+ with the big league club. He’s been just a shade better than Cleveland’s Steven Kwan in the early Rookie of the Year race, but big home runs like that will widen the gap to be sure.

Tampa Bay Rays (12-10) vs. Oakland Athletics (10-12)

If you didn’t catch this game, don’t worry, most people in Oakland didn’t either. Under 2,500 fans spun through the turnstiles at RingCentral Coliseum as the Rays clubbed the A’s, 6-1.

The top three hitters in the Rays order reached base five times and drove in three runs, and the pitching staff took over from there, surrendering just two hits all game. One of the Rays runs came around on one of Oakland’s two errors, and it’s never a good sign when you have the same number of errors as you do hits.

Really though, this one was really over from the word go, as Yandy Diaz led off the game with a bomb to left field:

Editor’s note: As a reminder, we are going by FanGraphs playoff odds to determine our AL Central and AL West picks, so while the Angels continue to lead the AL West, we will be focusing on the Astros for the time being. This disclaimer will remain in all Rivalry Roundup posts as the series gets underway.