MLB - US Sports: Houston Astros @ New York Yankees Preview
Houston Astros travel to New York in a good mood having faced the New York Mets at Minute Maid Park and sweeping the side over two games becoming the first team to do that to the Mets this season.
Houston will face off against their city rivals the Yankees in a four-game matchup at Yankee Stadium, with the first game starting on Thursday evening in New York.
Houston managed to restrict the free-scoring Mets to just five runs over the course of a couple of matches, while scoring 13 runs themselves.
Big hits from Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, Jose Altuve and Jose Siri were enough to help the Astros to extend their lead at the top of the American League West Division.
The Yankees meanwhile were in a divisional battle against the Tampa Bay Rays. New York won the first game 4-2 before being pegged back by the Rays in the second match, losing 5-4.
They are still in first place in the American League East Division, leading back 12 games with a 50-18 record. They have lost two out of their last three games though, but prior to that they held a nine-game winning streak.
Houston Astros vs New York Yankees, Game one of four.
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
00.05 BST, Friday, 24th June, 2022
How to watch
BT Sport or bet365 Live Streaming
HOU Astros 2.20, NY Yankees 1.71
There appears to be an expectancy amongst the Astros' supporters that hasn't always been there.
Houston are 43-25 this season and they have won the American League West Division four times out of the past five seasons, and they have reached the playoffs in six out of the past seven campaigns.
This group of players have reached the World Series three times since winning the Championship in 2017. The group has also seen changes, losing star players such as Gerrit Cole, George Springer and Carlos Correa in recent seasons.
This hasn't stopped the Astros achieving most of their goals. They, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers (nine consecutive years) are the most consistent of teams reaching the end-of-season playoffs in the past ten seasons.
Owner Jim Crane purchased a mess of a roster and front office with the Astros in 2011.
Houston lost 107 and 111 games in 2012 and 2013, Crane's first two seasons as owner. They went a little bit better in 2014 only losing 92 games. In 2015 they reached the playoffs, from there the Astros haven't looked back.
Speaking to the press back in 2021, team manager Dusty Baker said about the group: "Everything this team has been through: highs, lows, ups, downs, ins, outs. We've lost some. They just keep on stepping. They expect to win.
"I don't hear them doing a bunch of talking. They just go out and play. These kinds of guys I like to be around, because talk is cheap, you've just got to play."
Despite losing their star players, outfielders Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker have replaced those that have left the ballclub and have arguably played even better than Springer and Correa since they left.
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On the Mound
Houston will send Framber Valdez to the mound against the Yankees. The 28-year-old has a 7-3 record with a 2.78 ERA including 68 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched.
Valdez last pitched on 17th June against the Chicago White Sox. He pitched six innings, giving up eight hits and three earned runs with seven strikeouts and despite that got the win.
New York will have Jameson Taillon, who was only announced late on Wednesday for the start on Thursday evening, pitching against the Astros. The 30-year-old has an 8-1 record this season, with 60 strikeouts in 73.1 innings pitched.
These sides meet for the first time in seven encounters over the course of the season, starting with four games at Yankee Stadium.
The past ten meetings between the two sides in the regular season going back to 2019, has seen the Yankees dominate with seven wins over three.
Houston has only won twice at Yankee Stadium during that time with a win last season. The All-time record sees the Yankees lead the head-to-head 36-25 over the Astros.
Let battle commence
This should be a cracker of a series, the two ball clubs don't like each other following incidents in the 2017 American League East Championship series, which the Astros won on their way to winning their first ever World Series Championship.
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