Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees Series Preview

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Jun 22, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher

Masahiro Tanaka

(19) blows a bubble in the dugout during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

CTH: How are the Yankees fans treating Arod? Opposing fans?

Keeler: Yankees fans have embraced Alex Rodriguez because he has been able to produce this season and has been one of the difference makers on this team. When he had his 3,000th hit Friday night, he got a standing ovation in the Bronx. As for opposing fans, he is getting booed loudly and I would expect fans at Minute Maid Park to do the same this weekend.

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CTH: Are most fans surprised the Yankees are good again?

Keeler: A lot of people were down on the Yankees going into the season because they needed a lot of things to go right in order to be a 90-win team. It’s been frustrating to watch this team at times because they will go on a four or five game win streak and then they will lose four and five in a row. For example, the Phillies have dominated them in the Bronx this week and that has been disappointing after taking two of three from Detroit over the weekend. This New York team has been good at times, but they need to show some consistency if they want to be a playoff contender.

CTH: Who do Yankees fans see as their biggest competition for AL East?

Keeler: The AL East is a four team race with the Boston Red Sox being the only team I don’t see getting back into the race because of all their issues. For me, the competition is the Tampa Bay Rays. I was down on the Rays coming into the season because of all their injuries, but Kevin Cash has done a good job in his first year as manager. Matt Moore is expected to be back in the rotation next week, which will be huge for them. Chris Archer has carried the rotation and is having a great season. Their offense is still a concern, but Souza Jr. has been a good addition for them. However, if Toronto does trade for Jonathan Papelbon to go with their firepower on offense, they are a serious threat as well.

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CTH: Would it be weird to see a Yankees Astros matchup in the first round of the playoffs?

Keeler: It would be a little weird, but an intriguing matchup nevertheless because you would have the veterans of the Yankees going up against the inexperienced Astros. However, if it was Tanaka-Kuechel, Pineda-McHugh (which will be the matchup Sunday), those are two good pitching matchups to watch. Plus, it will be interesting this week to watch more of Carlos Correa, who has been compared to Alex Rodriguez.

CTH: What is an outsiders view of the Houston Astros?

Keller: To me, the Houston Astros are legit. The Seattle Mariners don’t look like they will be the contender everyone thought they would be, Oakland has been a disappointment, and the Angels have been hovering around .500 all season long. I like Correa, Springer, Gattis, and the firepower that Houston has in their order. While they didn’t get Andrew Miller, Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek have been a solid duo at the back end of the bullpen. While Houston won’t get Cole Hamels, can they get one more arm to add to the rotation? If Jeff Lunhow can do that, their chances for an AL pennant run look that much better. This four game series will be a huge test for the Yankees this weekend.

Thanks to Ricky Keeler for answering my questions about the Yankees. You can follow him at @Rickinator555 or @YGYRadioShow. I returned the favor and joined his podcast to talk Astros baseball, the link is bellow.

Yankees-Astros Preview Podcast featuring Eric Huysman

Next: Alex Bregman set to sign with the Houston Astros

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