HOUSTON – The dragon is still alive, strong and still living here in Minute Maid Park. The Yankees brought the best record in baseball here to begin the second half of the season, and they received a stark reminder that the Astros were still the biggest obstacle in their path, even in their first World Series since 2009. There is also a chance to win. The Astros swept the Yankees in a doubleheader to start the second half on Thursday.
“October is a different ballgame. Things are completely different, teams are different. So it’s just kind of a practice test,” said Aaron Judge. “Every time we play, it’s a little practice test. See how we stack up and take your notes and then we’re on to the real thing. will be ready for.”
The Astros used their own formula for success in the first half on Thursday: versatility. He won the walkoff 3–2 on a single from JJ Matijevi in the first game. Houston scored a home run and piled up early to face a late three-run bomb by the judges to secure a 7–5 win in the Nightcap.
With the sweep of the doubleheader, the Astros (61-32) are three wins behind the Yankees (64-29) in the American League race for the best record. The Astros went 5-3 against the Yankees this season, a poignant reminder of their past in Houston.
The Astros Yankees have been a playoff kryptonite, with the Bombers losing the AL Championship Series in both 2017 and 2019 and the Wild Card Game in 2015.
“Eventually we may have to kill the dragon. Right?” When asked if the Astros have the mental edge, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you ask the question, it doesn’t matter if my answer is correct. If it comes by October, the proof will be in the pudding.”
What the Yankees can take from Thursday, with less than two weeks to trade deadline, do they have room to improve.
Luis Severino went down with a tense lat muscle just before the All-Star break. Domingo was his insurance plan coming into the German season, but he didn’t look sharp on Thursday night. In his first start since July 31, 2021, the German scored five earned runs on six hits in three innings. He walked one and hit two. The German first released back-to-back homers to Alvarez and Bregman. JP Sears, who allowed a two-run homer to McCormick in the sixth, missed a batsman and was dismissed in one of three innings of work.
Judge’s 410-foot bombing in the top of the ninth, their major league run in their 34th major league run of the season, cut the Astros’ lead in two and tied the Yankees to the plate when Matt Carpenter took the field in a game-ending double-play. Gave. ,
In the first game, Alex Bregman led with a first-pitch single to ninth and Aldmi Diaz doubled Michael King to put the runners in the scoring position for Matijevi. The Yankees had to rally to the top of the ninth to reach that point.
DJ Lemahieu scored his ninth home run of the season in the fifth inning off Christian Xavier. It broke 11 innings that the Bombers were kept scoreless by the Astros’ right hand. It was one of just two hits that the Yankees dismissed Xavier in five innings of work.
Jordan Montgomery stopped the Astros for two runs in seven hits. He walked one and hit eight. It was his 17th debut in which he scored three or fewer runs, the most runs this season.
He conceded an RBI-single to Bregman in the first and a run-scoring double in the second to catch Corey Lee.
Yankees can take a lesson from this series. They were already looking for pitching in the trading market before Thursday, this makes it more of a priority. There may be one more bat he needs to overcome this hurdle to withstand good pitching.
Judge and Boone weren’t afraid to face the Astros yet again.
“I’m kind of focusing on one last thing you said; that we have the best record in baseball,” Judge said when asked about the Astros hanging over the Yankees’ head. “Like I said, they’re great, they’re a great team and I’m not going to sit here and dwell on things that happened in the past, whether good or bad. So we’ll see what happens, down the stretch. What happens, but I am focused on this year and this team. We have a good ball club here, we have to stay within ourselves and focus on ourselves.”