Yankees, Astros clash once again in key AL battle

Following a dramatic four-game weekend series against the Houston Astros that resulted in a split, the New York Yankees resumed their business of dominating opponents by completing a three-game series sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 5-3 home victory on Wednesday.

It marked yet another win in a rousing season for the Yankees, who will embark on a four-city, 10-game road trip starting Thursday in Houston after matching the franchise mark for the best record (56-20) after 76 games. The Yankees improved to 16-4 over their past 20 games.

“It’s a good team,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of his club. “We talk about doing it a lot of different ways. If you want to be a complete team, you’ve got to be able to weather different storms and perform in a lot of different ways if you’re ultimately going to win a lot of games, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Right-hander Luis Severino (4-2, 3.38 ERA) has the starting assignment for the Yankees on Thursday. He took a loss against the Astros on Friday, when he allowed three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over six innings in a 3-1 defeat.

Severino has just one win over his past six starts despite pitching to a 3.13 ERA. He is 2-2 with a 3.98 ERA over six career appearances (five starts) against the Astros.

Right-hander Luis Garcia (5-5, 3.68 ERA) is the scheduled starter for Houston on Thursday. He has posted victories in consecutive starts after going 0-4 with a 4.44 ERA over the previous five starts. Garcia allowed three runs on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts over five-plus innings in a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets on June 22.

Garcia has faced the Yankees once previously, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings while not factoring into the decision of a 6-3 loss on May 5, 2021.

The matchup with the Yankees will represent the finale of nine consecutive contests for Houston against the New York teams, including a six-game road swing through the Bronx and Queens. The Astros completed that roadie with a 2-0 victory over the Mets on Wednesday, capping not only a 4-0 record against the Mets over the past week but a 4-2 trip.

“This was a road trip probably unlike any other where there was a swing of emotions from almost day to day,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “It was an emotional road trip, it ended up well.”

The positive vibes from the latest victory were muted because left fielder Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Jeremy Pena collided pursuing a popup in the eighth inning. Alvarez was carted off the field and Pena departed under his own power, but both were in the visiting clubhouse following the game.

Alvarez and Pena traveled back to Houston with the club and will be evaluated for concussions.

“I don’t want to think the worst. I want to think the best,” Baker said. “We have to wait to see what it is.”

–Field Level Media