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New York Yankees @ Houston Astros: Jordan Montgomery vs. Cristian Javier

The Yanks will look for payback against Cristian Javier in Houston.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

What a way to open the second half of the season. After closing the first half with two big wins to cap off a series victory against the Red Sox, the Yankees are in Houston to battle Cristian Javier in the matinee edition of a day-night double header. There aren’t many games on the ledger today, but the Yankees have two of them due to the lockout sending the planned first week of the season into disarray.

If you don’t recall the last time the Yankees faced Javier, it wasn’t too pretty. That was the wonderful day of the combined no-hitter. Javier was outstanding in his way to carving up the Yankees lineup for 13 strikeouts while leading his team to no-hit the Bronx Bombers.

This is beautiful pitching and execution —a steady dose of high fastballs and slow sliders spread from the middle of the plate to Javier’s glove side. You may think these sliders are misses, but Javier was tunneling the two pitches with ease all day, and that means letting some sliders end up closer to the middle of the plate when you’re spotting fastballs in this area of the zone. Expect the same exact approach this time around.

Jordan Montgomery will toe the rubber for the Yanks today. He is the lone primary Yankees starter who has yet to face Houston this year. His last start came against them on May 5, 2021, when in true Monty form, he delivered a quality start with six innings pitched and three runs allowed.

I’d expect a similar approach from Montgomery today. He is a different pitcher and the Astros have a different lineup, but other than an increased sinker usage, the big lefty’s repertoire isn’t too different. Perhaps that sinker will allow him to approach the team differently (he at least doesn’t have to face Yordan Alvarez, who was activated off the IL but is not in the Game 1 lineup).

I’m specifically thinking of All-Star Kyle Tucker, who Montgomery has yet to face in his career. Tucker’s swing path is a bit longer because of the depth he creates. If Monty could command his sinker inside to Tucker, it’ll keep Tucker from getting his arms extended and out in front of the plate. That’s my matchup to watch.

Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa will be out of the lineup for the first game. The outfield will be Matt Carpenter, Aaron Hicks, and Joey Gallo from left to right with Aaron Judge at DH, and the infield will feature DJ LeMahieu at third and Marwin Gonzalez at shortstop, and as usual, Gleyber Torres at second and Anthony Rizzo at first. Jose Trevino will do the catching this afternoon before likely giving way to Kyle Higashioka in the nightcap for the soon-to-be-activated Domingo Germán. Pitcher JP Sears is up with the team as the doubleheader’s 27th man.

At this point of the season and with the Yankees’ advantage, this isn’t exactly a must-win game, but they would be lying if they said this one didn’t mean a little more. The team has struggled to get anything going offensively this season against the Astros and having a bounce-back performance against Javier would be a nice morale booster. Let’s see what happens.

How to watch

Location: Minute Maid Park - Houston, TX

First pitch: 1:10 pm EDT

TV Broadcast: YES Network, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, MLB Network (out of market only)

Radio Broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 (NYY), KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3 / KLAT 1010 (HOU)

Online stream:

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