Opening Day is almost here, Houston Astros fans!
Monday, April 4th, at specifically 12:05 pm CST cannot get here soon enough if you are a Houston Astros fan. Most of us have brackets that have long since busted, are overdone with talking about the NFL Draft possibilities, and are tired of seeing exhibition baseball box scores with many names you don’t know, and even the Google search results are a toss-up.
The Astros open the 2016 season in New York to take on the Yankees. It seems like yesterday that Dallas Keuchel was flat-out dominating Yankee hitters in the AL Wild Card game, and that is likely fresh in the minds of the players. Both teams have made significant moves over the offseason, specifically acquiring closers. New York signed Aroldis Chapman, who will be serving a 30-day suspension thus inactive for this series, and Houston traded for Ken “One-Hundred Mile” Giles.
The Yankees also traded for Starlin Castro with the Cubs, giving them youth in the middle infield between him and Didi Gregorious. Other than those two players, the Yankees are still true to form in having a lineup consisting of under contract, veteran players. Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann are the usual suspects to face opposing pitchers.
Ricky Keeler of Yanks Goes Yard (Fansided) joined Talking Stros to talk series preview.
The Yankees starting pitching is actually a relatively young staff, minus CC Sabathia, if he even makes the rotation. Their bullpen, on paper, is one of strongest in baseball. To the Astros advantage, Chapman will be serving his suspension, and Andrew Miller, New York’s interim closer, took a line drive off his right wrist in his most recent game against the Braves. This will be a huge blow to the Yankee bullpen if Miller has to miss any amount of time, although he has stated he wants to play through it in order to be available for opening day. Next in line is hard-throwing Dellin Betances.
The Astros lineup will consist of mostly the same players that faced New York last year, with the exception of possibly Tyler White at first base in replacement of Chris Carter. Many of the Houston hitters are very young, and have had another off-season and spring training to improve their craft, and this team is picked by many to win the AL West and recently picked to win the World Series by Sports Illustrated.
The Astros have released their three starting pitchers in order of Keuchel, Collin McHugh, and Mike Fiers. New York has not released theirs yet, but we can see almost certainly pencil in Masahiro Tanaka as the opening day starter, and then a mix of Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, and Nathan Eovaldi. So let’s take a look at the possible pitching matchups coming up.
Next: GAME 1 – Dallas Keuchel vs Masahiro Tanaka