New York Yankees: Win streak on the line

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 21: CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees reacts after giving up a solo home run to Evan Gattis #11 of the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 21, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 21: CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees reacts after giving up a solo home run to Evan Gattis #11 of the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 21, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Previewing the New York Yankees series against the Astros with the winning streak on the line.

The New York Yankees are on a nine game win streak and everything is going right for them. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are on pace for a collective 108 home runs which would be three down from their collective total last season, but pretty damn impressive none-the-less. Didi Gregorius looks like he should be crowned MVP now, C.C. Sabathia looks like he stumbled upon the fountain of youth, and Aaron Boone looks like he’s been around for years.

All of that has combined for a nine game win streak and 64 runs in those nine games, to go along with just 18 opposing runs. That’s a +46 run differential for those of you trying to figure that out. In nine games they have outscored their opponents by 46 runs… To put that into perspective, baseball’s best team at the moment, who will remain nameless has scored 33 runs in their last nine games and has given up 40 runs, a -7 run differential. That same team is currently 20-7 and sits atop the American League East.

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After a sluggish start the Yankees have finally found their way and it doesn’t look like they can play much better. Aaron Judge leads the team in hits and OBP with Didi Gregorius leading in batting average, home runs and RBIs, and is tied for the MLB lead in home runs and is the outright leader for RBIs. But all of that will be put to the test as they face the team that beat them in game seven with a World Series berth on the line last season.

The Astros have won seven of their last ten and like the Yankees, they look pretty dang good. Justin Verlander has reversed the clock and looks as good as he has in years, boasting a 1.36 ERA and four wins. Long story short, you’re gonna want to tune in for this series that will pit two dominant forces against each other.

Game One Matchup and Prediction:

Pitching Matchup:

Sonny Gray: 1-1, 7.71 ERA, 19 Strikeouts, 2.14 WHIP

Charlie Morton: 3-0, 1.86 ERA, 35 Strikeouts, 1.10 WHIP

Based on the pitching match-up alone you’re probably a little scared, and you probably should be. In his last two starts Sonny Gray has combined for a total of eight innings pitched, 3.1 innings in one outing, 4.2 in the other. Not quite the numbers to feel confident in, especially against the guy who slammed the door shut in game seven of the ALCS last year.

Charlie Morton is playing the best baseball of his career and he doesn’t plan to make any revisions to that for the Yankees. In four of Morton’s five starts he has gone at least six innings, with the lone exception being the four inning outing against the Angels his last time out when he let up four earned runs. Other than that lone exception, Morton has looked incredible for the Astros and has become a feared pitcher among MLB teams.

Prediction: Astros 5 Yankees 3

The pitching matchup simply makes this game very hard to win for the Yankees. Sonny Gray has been horrible this season and I don’t see that changing tonight against one of the best teams in baseball.

Game Two Matchup and Prediction:

Pitching Matchup:

Jordan Montgomery: 2-0, 3.76 ERA, 23 Strikeouts, 1.41 WHIP

Justin Verlander: 4-0, 1.36 ERA, 48 Strikeouts, 0.73 WHIP

Game two looks to be more of the same from game one. Another dominant pitcher for the Astros, and this time he’s even better. Verlander has been one of the best pitchers in the MLB this season letting up only seven runs the entire season and going over six innings per start.

Montgomery on the other hand has been pretty good. The Yankees have lost only once this season in Montgomery’s five starts. On average Montgomery has gone over five innings per start before handing it off to the bullpen. Montgomery gives the Yankees a serious chance to win against the Astros tomorrow night in Houston.

Prediction: Yankees 3 Astros 2

In game two the tides will shift and the Yankees will get the job done. Verlander and Montgomery will both go deep into the game before handing it off to their respective bullpens and the Yankees will take game two.

Game Three Matchup and Prediction:

Pitching Matchup:

Luis Severino: 4-1, 2.61 ERA, 42 Strikeouts, 0.89 WHIP

Dallas Keuchel: 1-4, 4.00 ERA, 28 Strikeouts, 1.31 WHIP

Game three should belong to the Yankees. The Yankees ace will take the bump Wednesday against a struggling Dallas Keuchel. Severino has been fantastic this year going over six innings per game on average with an ERA of only 2.61. With this being said you can expect him to come out strong against the reigning champs.

Dallas Keuchel has struggled thus far and the Yankees should eat up on the former Cy Young winner. Keuchel does go deep into games normally but still has an ERA of 4.00 and fails to strike batters out. The Yankees will come out strong on Wednesday and eat up Keuchel.

Prediction: Yankees 7 Astros 3

With Severino on the mound the Yankees should be able to get the job done Wednesday in Houston. Sevy will go deep into the game before handing the ball over in the seventh inning boasting a large lead.

Game Four Matchup and Prediction:

Pitching Matchup:

Masahiro Tanaka: 4-2, 4.37 ERA, 37 Strikeouts, 1.03 WHIP

Lance McCullers Jr. : 4-1, 3.71 ERA, 44 Strikeouts, 1.21

Game four will come down to a battle of the bats rather than a pitchers duel. Both pitchers have struggled this season and from the looks of it, this will be a high scoring game. It will ultimately come down to which pitcher is worse, rather than which pitcher is better.

Next: Yankees all-time starting lineup

Not to say either of these pitchers are bad, but they simply have not been as good as the other pitchers on their staffs this season. With that being said expect the Yankees Big Four of Judge, Stanton, Gregorius and Sanchez to have big games. Likewise expect the same from George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.

Prediction: Yankees 11 Astros 7

I think we will see a lot of balls hit into the stands Thursday night. McCullers and Tanaka will both struggle leading to a big night for offense and a slow night for defense.