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New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros: Gerrit Cole vs. Cristian Javier

Round three of this heavyweight bout comes Saturday in the Bronx.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

This series against the Astros was one of those you circle on the calendar all the way back in April, and it’s lived up to expectations so far. An absolute classic on Thursday night was followed up by a great pitchers’ duel Friday, and while the series has been very exciting, I think we’d all take an 18-run game again, like we got last week against the Blue Jays.

Cristian Javier currently stands in the way of that happening. The 25-year-old is in the middle of a real breakout season, with a 3.07 ERA entering play. Unlike his previous two campaigns, that ERA is backed by better peripherals, boosting his K-BB% but more than a full percentage point and cutting his home run rate in half compared to last year. His 3.13 FIP and 3.17 xERA cement the strides he’s taken this year, and he’ll be a tough matchup for the Yankees’ lineup.

Of course, the Yankees get to counter with Gerrit Cole, fresh off a no-hit bid earlier this week against the Rays. It’s been a wonky little season for Cole — when he’s been on, he’s been everything you could ask of an ace, but he’s had two or three dreadful starts that keep him from the very top of the leaderboards. Still, a 3.14 ERA and 3.17 FIP will play, and there’s always the chance we’ll see a repeat performance of his famous 2021 start against these same Astros.

How to watch

Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY

First pitch: 1:05 pm ET

TV broadcast: YES, AT&T SportsNet Southwest

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1380

Online stream:

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