Opening Series Preview: Yankees vs. Astros
It’s finally here, baseball fans. After a long winter, baseball is back. We can once again begin to look forward to games every day and most importantly, Yankees baseball. The same foe that crushed the Yankees postseason hopes in 2015 will be in town to kick off the new year, the Houston Astros.
|Photo Via Sporting News|
Keys for a Series Victory
- Contain Jose Altuve. He is the kickstarter of the Astros offense and when he gets on, he’s a threat to steal and can be scored quickly thanks to the powerful lineup he has behind him.
- Jump on Keuchel early. He is a true ace and the Yankees cannot allow him to get in a rhythm, something he did much too often against them last season.
- Ellsbury and Gardner. When Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner go, the Yankees go. They will need the pair to start off the season on the right foot with their good contact ability and base stealing prowess.
Game 1: Dallas Keuchel vs. Masahiro Tanaka
In a wild card rematch, the Yanks will send out Masahiro Tanaka to make his 2nd consecutive opening day start. After a disastrous spring training that saw him give up 9 earned runs and 3 HR’s in 11 innings, the Yankees have to be hoping their that “ace” can find his form. Tanaka will have to limit giving up home runs against a potent Houston lineup.
On the other side, Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will look to replicate the success he had against New York last season. Keuchel dominated the bombers last year, racking up 21 K’s in 16 innings and limiting the lineup to a .161 batting average.
Considering Keuchel is a lefty, manager Joe Girardi will likely make the lineup lefty heavy. This means that newcomer Aaron Hicks will likely get the start in left field over Brett Gardner, as Hicks has a proven track record of success against Keuchel and lefties in general. As a whole lineup, the Yankees will need to forget the wild card game that saw them produce a lackluster 3 hits if they want any chance of beating Keuchel.
Game 2: Colin McHugh vs. Michael Pineda
Big Mike will take the mound in game 2 after an up and down spring. Obviously the biggest thing with Pineda is his consistency. When he is in a groove, he can be dominant and overpower hitters. When he’s off, he looks nothing more than a 5th starter. A solid start against the powerful Astros would be a step in the right direction in his long journey of finding a rhythm.
Colin McHugh surprised many when he went 19-7 last year. He was another Astros pitcher that did well against the Yankees, crafting a 1.88 ERA in 2 starts.
Game 3: Mike Fiers vs. Nathan Eovaldi
The final game of the series will see Nathan Eovaldi take the mound, where he’ll look to build on a solid first year in pinstripes. After a good spring, Nasty Nate will hope to continue his stretch of good pitching against Houston, as their projected lineup has .208 career batting average against him. In 2 starts against the Astros in 2015, he had an ERA of 1.29.
Mike Fiers was acquired by the Astros last season and pitched well as middle to back end member of the rotation. Despite tossing a no-hitter, he is by no means a dominant arm and the Yankees offense should be able to hit him.
Who do you think will be the MVP of this series?
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Article: Phil Akre
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