Jameson Taillon (4-4, 5.05) gets the ball for the Yankees, following a dominant outing from Gerrit Cole on Saturday. Houston counters with Framber Valdez (5-1, 2.86) as they attempt to head into the break with a win. The Astros are favored at -145 while the Yankees are +125.
Judge, Pitching Leading Yankees
The Yankees offense has been a letdown for most of the first half but has come alive with five wins in the last six games. They rank 25th in the Majors at 4.2 runs per game and are 20th with a .237 team average. Home runs have saved them as the Yankees rank seventh with 1.3 per game.
Aaron Judge launched his 21st home run of the season on Saturday for the only run of the game. He also had two hits, including a double, in Friday’s win. Brett Gardner homered Friday while DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela each collected two hits.
The starting pitching has not allowed a run in the series. Cole struck out 12 on Saturday in a three-hit shutout, his best outing since May. Nestor Cortes allowed two hits over 4 ⅔ innings on Friday in a spot-start, and the bullpen allowed just one hit the rest of the way.
Last time out, Taillon dominated Seattle on Tuesday with one run allowed on just four hits over seven innings. He struck out nine and walked one in a 12-1 Yankees win. Taillon has gone at least five innings in three straight starts, but he is just 1-3 with an 8.25 ERA on the road this season.
Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley are both 1-for-3 in their careers against Taillon. Martin Maldonado is 1-for-5 while no other Astros player has a hit against the right-hander.
Astros Limping Into Break
The Astros offense leads the Majors in runs per game (5.52), average (.270), OPS (.785), and least strikeouts (7.4 per game). They are 26-18 at home, and the over is 27-20 at Minute Maid Park this season.
The already hurting Astros played without shortstop Carlos Correa on Saturday as he hit the COVID-IL list and will also miss the All-Star Game. Altuve and Brantley are healthy but will also skip the ASG while Alex Bregman remains on the IL.
Houston has just six hits in the first two games of the series, with Kyle Tucker picking up two doubles on Friday. The other four hits are all singles from four different players. They have scored just one run on 12 total hits during the three-game home losing streak.
Valdez took a no-decision as the Astros beat Oakland 9-6 on Tuesday. He allowed six runs over five innings while striking out six. He is 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA in four home starts this season, with two home runs allowed in 23 innings.
Valdez pitching against the Yankees last year. He has never faced Judge but gave up homers to Torres and Gary Sanchez. Rougned Odor is 2-for-5, while Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton are both 1-for-2 against Valdez.
Astros ML -145 . Run Line -1.5 (+135)
Yankees ML +125. Run Line +1.5 (-155)
Total – 9 runs. Over +100. Under -120.
The Astros have the starting pitching advantage here, while the Yankees bullpen is well-rested after Cole’s gem on Saturday. The Astros are 6-2 in Valdez’s eight starts, but their offense hasn’t struggled like this all season. Umpire John Bacon has the plate on Sunday, and the under has hit in four of his last five games behind the plate, two of those being Yankees games.
FREE PICK: Under nine runs (-120).