After winning the final game of their series at home against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Yankees (39-33) will play the first game of their four-game series in Houston against the Astros tonight at 8:10 p.m. EST. The Astros, whose 42-32 record is better than anyone could have predicted, lead the American League in homers (107) and are third in slugging percentage and total bases.
Adam Warren will start the first game of the series against the Astros. This could be his last start before going back to the bullpen because Joe Girardi said that he didn’t think the six-man rotation will go past the series against the Angels. Warren, who has a solid 5-4 record with a 3.62 ERA in 13 starts this season, has allowed three runs or less in his previous eight starts.
In Warren’s last start, he had his best performance of the season as he pitched a season-high eight innings while allowing two earned runs and striking out a season-high seven batters. However, he was not as effective in his start on June 14 since he only threw 4.2 innings while allowing three walks, six hits and three earned runs on 92 pitches. He has been an asset to the rotation to this point of the season, and can definitely give the Yankees another quality start against the Astros, but with Ivan Nova’s return he will be more valuable as an impact reliever in the bullpen.
Dallas Keuchel, who is the Astros ace and will get the start tonight, is a lefty who has an 8-3 record with an outstanding 2.35 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. His 2.35 ERA is third in the American League, his pitching WAR is tied for third in the AL and his 0.98 WHIP is tied for second in the AL.
His home ERA (1.62) is much better than his road ERA (3.14), but he has struggled in his previous two starts as he has allowed five and three earned runs, respectively. In his last start, Keuchel gave up a season-high three homers and three walks in his start in Seattle against the Mariners.
Brett Gardner is 16-32 (.500) in his last seven games with 12 runs scored, four homers, 10 RBIs. He is having the best month of his season as those outstanding numbers in the last week have given him a .326 average in June with a .607 slugging percentage, six doubles, 24 runs scored and 17 RBIs. His 55 runs scored are third in the American League and his 15 steals are tied for second in the AL.
Gardner has the game off tonight even though he has hit so well over the last seven games. Joe Girardi has given him the night off because Keuchel is lefty and Gardner has a .239 average against southpaws this season. Gardner has also started every game since May 16 and not had the game off since May 6 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees activated Stephen Drew from the paternity list today and recalled middle infielder Gregorio Petit from Triple-A Scranton. These moves complete their 25-man roster and will mean that the Yankees will have a back-up middle infielder and that Garrett Jones will be the only true back-up outfielder. Jacoby Ellsbury is close to returning from the disabled list, which means that Chris Young will return to his back-up role.
The Yankees lineup will be less powerful than normal because Girardi has also decided to give Brian McCann the night off against the lefty starter. McCann is hitting .421 with two homers and five RBIs in the last seven days and has a .328 (20-61) average with 12 RBIs in June. Jose Pirela, whose best position is second base, will replace Gardner in the outfield.
Here is the lineup for tonight’s game:
Chris Young CF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran RF
Jose Pirela LF
John Ryan Murphy C
Stephen Drew SS
Gregorio Petit 2B