Houston Astros (+122) at New York Yankees (-127, 8 o/u)
After falling to second in the AL East yesterday, the New York Yankees (68-55, 36-24 Home) will look to get back on track tonight as they host the Cinderellas of the American League, the Houston Astros (69-56, 24-35 Away) at Yankee Stadium (7:05 PM Eastern Time). Nick Eovaldi (13-2, 4.24 ERA) will get the nod for the Bombers, while Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.05 ERA) counters for the Stros.
The Yankees, who had been stellar at home all season, just dropped three of four to the lowly Cleveland Indians in the Big Apple. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays swept the Angels in LA and vaulted half a game ahead of New York in the AL East.
Eovaldi is a prime candidate to get the team back on track. The righty is 7-0 in his last nine starts, tossing seven innings of four-hit, three-run ball en route to a 4-3 win over the Twins last time out.
The problems for New York, generally, hasn’t been the pitching. It’s the bats that have cooled off. The team managed just ten runs over the four-game set against Cleveland. The absence of slugger Mark Teixeira has been noticeable. The switch hitter, who leads the team with 31 homers, is likely to miss his third game in a row with a shin injury tonight.
“Obviously, it’s a good sign that we have him on the field to do some stuff, but it’s still not where it needs to be,” New York manager Joe Girardi said to the Associated Press. “My hope was it was going to be [today, that he returns]. I’m not sure about that now.”
And there’s more bad news for the Yankees, as the Astros are coming to town hot. Houston has won four of its last five games, including taking two in a row from the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. Last night, they walked it off for the fourth time in eight games thanks to a solo shot by Jason Castro in the tenth inning that broke a 2-2 tie.
While much of the league is still surprised by the Astros’ quicker-than-expected turnaround (the team finished tied for second-last in the AL in 2014), don’t count the players among them.
“We are a first-place team and the atmosphere here [is] we are the best team in baseball,” said rookie Carlos Correa to the AP.
Houston currently holds a four-game lead over the Rangers for top spot in the AL West, and look poised to make the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
With respect to Feldman, the 6’7 righty is improving as the season goes on. He is 2-1 in his last seven starts with an ERA of 2.68. He gave up nine hits, but just two runs, in his start against the Rays last week, taking a no-decision
Without Teixeira in the lineup, taking the hot Astros to upset the Yankees on the road looks like the play..
Pick: Houston (+122).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)