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The Astros and Yankees split their epic series in the Bronx over the weekend, but Houston proved the Bronx Bombers are beatable, even in New York.
After Thursday’s Aaron Judge walk-off it appeared the Yankees might sweep the Astros as they continued to roll through their schedule. The Yankees came into the series 51-18 on the season, had won fourteen straight at Yankee Stadium and there was talk about the greatest team of all time and breaking the Mariners 2001 record of 116 wins.
Yet, despite another Judge walk-off Sunday afternoon leaving the Yankees and their fans elated, it’s the Astros that walk away knowing not only can they play with the Yanks on their home turf, but that they were very close to sweeping the team that many have anointed as favorites to win not only the American League, but also the World Series.
Diving deeper into the numbers, Houston has served notice the Astros are real contenders in the American League and here’s three reasons why.
Astros: Historic starting pitching shut down Yankees
The Yankees sit atop the American League in ERA, but the Astros are right behind and their starters of Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander, Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy held the vaunted Yankees lineup to a .080 batting average while accumulating a 1.67 ERA over 27 innings, including a stretch of 16.1 where the Yankees were hitless.
It’s one thing to the also rans of the American League, but quite another shut down a Yankees team that is averaging over 5 runs a game.
The Astros starters struck out 27, walked only 8, gave up only 2.33 hits per nine innings and induced a groundball rate of 40.3%.
The Houston rotation is so deep Javier wasn’t deemed good enough to begin the season as a starter, yet he baffled the New Yorkers with 13 strikeouts over 7 no-hit innings on Saturday.
Waiting in the wings for the late summer and fall is the rehabbing Lance McCullers, Jr. who should add even more juice to the Astros rotation that completely shutdown the Bombers.
If not for failures in the Astros bullpen, this group of starters could have easily led the Astros to a sweep.