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New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros: Series Preview

The Yankees begin their second half with a doubleheader in Houston.

2022 T-Mobile Home Run Derby Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

While there’s still one more day in the All-Star break tonight, we are now fully into “second half of the season” mode. After an excellent first half, the Yankees will look to keep that going tomorrow when they make a stop in Houston for a doubleheader.

So far, the Astros have had a bit of an edge on the Yankees in the five games they’ve played. The two teams split a series in the Bronx, but the two Yankees wins required some extremely memorable comebacks, and one of the losses was, well, you know. They also played one game in Houston where the Yankees’ offense was held in check again. Thursday will be the last time that the two teams square off in 2022 — in the regular season, anyway.

This stop in Houston is a bit of an odd scheduling quirk dating back to the lockout. Back on the original schedule, this series was supposed to have happened back in April at the start of the campaign. However with the lockout, it had to be squeezed in elsewhere, and tomorrow, they’ll play two of the three games, with the third having come back on June 30th.

Before the second half gets started, let’s look ahead to what we may see in Thursday’s action.

Game One: TBA vs. TBA (1:10 PM ET)

Game Two: TBA vs. TBA (6:40 PM ET)

OK, so this is going to be become a bit of a theme with neither team having their pitching rotation set in stone at time of writing. Both have their options with most of their pitchers fully rested coming off the All-Star break. Considering that today’s another off-day around the league, we might not get confirmation on anything until later tonight or even tomorrow.

Although the Yankees didn’t ink anything in, they’ve at least given some hints as to where they might go. During last weekend’s series, manager Aaron Boone said that while it was still just written “in pencil,” the Yankees were leaning towards starting Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon in Thursday’s doubleheader.

Montgomery was the lone pitcher who didn’t face Houston when they came to the Bronx back in June. For his career, he hasn’t been great against the Astros, but in his lone meeting with them last year, he was solid, allowing three runs in six innings. Montgomery turned in a steady first half, pitching to a 3.26 ERA and 1.039 WHIP in 102 innings across 18 starts.

Taillon somewhat righted his recent struggles in his most recent start, a strong outing against Boston. His six innings, allowing just one run on two hits, was his longest effort since his perfect-game bid back on June 2nd. Since then, Taillon had been on a down note, including get clobbered for 6 runs on 10 hits against Houston in the Bronx.

Of the other rotation options, Gerrit Cole just went on Sunday. Although he didn’t pitch in the All-Star Game, he wouldn’t still won’t be on full rest, so it seems unlikely that he’ll go. Nestor Cortes threw an inning in the All-Star Game, so he’s likely out. With Luis Severino on the IL and today being a doubleheader, they could go with some sort of Domingo Germán spot start/bullpen game, but they seem unlikely to do that against their closest AL competition.

As for Houston, as of yet there have not even been any hints on who they might go with. Jake Odorizzi pitched on Sunday, so it’s unlikely to be him. Like Cortes, Framber Valdez appeared in the All-Star Game so it probably won’t be him, either. Ace Justin Verlander, however, did not appear and should be available. No-hit contributor Cristian Javier and José Urquidy, who also pitched well against New York in June, also have to be in the mix, too.

No matter what happens, there will be no easing into the second half for the Yankees and Astros when they take the field tomorrow night.