The Houston Astros and New York Yankees begin a three-game series tonight at Yankee Stadium at 6:05 pm CT. It’s the first time the two teams have met since the Astros took the season-opening series, 2-1, back in April. Before that, the Yankees had won 13 of the previous 15 meetings between the two teams.
On the mound for Houston tonight is southpaw Brett Oberholtzer who is looking to continue his hot streak and impressive season against new Yankees pitcher Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.13 ERA). It will be Capuano’s 12th career start against the Astros and fifth with the Yankees this season (0-2 with a 4.13 ERA).
Obie is 4-8 with a 3.87 ERA this year and has done a very nice job for the Astros lately. He has thrown a quality start in nine of his last 10 games and is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his last six outings. Now, in 30 career games and 27 career starts, Oberholtzer has a 3.42 ERA in 176.1 innings pitched with 35 walks and 111 strikeouts. Not bad for just his second season. Tonight will be his third career start vs. the Yankees (0-2 with a 4.09 ERA) and first start in New York.
I didn’t have very high expectations for Obie heading into this season, so I’ve been very impressed with his performance. He is looking for his seventh consecutive quality start and has done a terrific job staying consistent for Bo Porter throughout the year. The organization already had a lot of pitching depth, so the surprise emergence of Oberholtzer allows for even more options and flexibility this offseason when dealing with trades and free agency.
Before tonight’s game, the Astros also decided to activate Jesus Guzman from the disabled list and place left-handed pitcher Darin Downs on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain. Guzman is returning from back spasms that have kept him out since August 1st, but went 8-for-13 with three doubles and five RBIs in a rehab stint with Triple-A Oklahoma City. This season with the Astros, he is hitting .200 with two home runs, four doubles, eight RBIs, 46 strikeouts, and 15 walks in just 60 games.
Downs is 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA in 40 games with the Astros this year. The team also announced outfielder Alex Presley will rejoin the Astros in New York tonight, but not be active for the game. Presley was on a minor league rehab assignment, but experienced a setback with his oblique on Saturday. He is hitting .252 with five home runs, 13 RBIs, five doubles, 34 strikeouts, and 11 walks in 70 games played. Astros pitcher Jesse Crain, who’s been on the disabled list all season, also met the team in New York.
After Sunday’s win, the Astros have now surpassed last season’s win total (they were 51-111). All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, who hit his first career grand slam on Sunday, is hitting .339 and just four hits shy of his career-high total of 177 that he set last year. He is 15 for 35 in his last eight games and has a major league-best 53 multi-hit games.
Since the All-Star Break, the Astros are averaging an AL-best 4.6 runs per game and slugger Chris Carter leads the majors with 29 RBIs to go with an AL-best 10 homers in that span. He’s batting .341 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in his last 11 games.
Yankees haven’t scored more than 4 runs in any of its last 7 games. The Astros are averaging MLB-best 4.6 runs PG since the All-Star Break
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 19, 2014
Here is a look at the Astros lineup tonight. The team enters the game 52-73:
2B Jose Altuve
DH Chris Carter