MLB Baseball
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Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
NY Yankees2 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 490
Houston0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 051
  W: L. Severino (5-1)   L: D. Keuchel (1-5)
5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 PM CT, May 2, 2018
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 31,617

Astros' strong pitching to challenge Yankees hitters

According to STATS
According to STATS

New York Yankees at Houston Astros

  1. The Yankees and the Astros will meet for the first time since Houston defeated New York in seven games in the 2017 ALCS to advance to the World Series. New York went 2-5 against Houston in the regular season in 2017. In the two wins, the Yankees averaged 12.0 runs per game, while in the five losses, they averaged 3.4 runs per game.
  2. The Astros have won nine of 12, including taking two of three against the Athletics over the weekend. Houston's +66 run differential is the best in baseball this season.
  3. The Yankees have won nine consecutive games heading into this matchup, the longest winning streak by the franchise since winning 10 straight from June 8-18, 2012. During the winning streak, New York pitchers have allowed only 18 runs and have struck out 83 batters in 82.0 innings.
  4. Charlie Morton is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 29.0 innings pitched this season. Morton was the pitcher of record in Game 7 of last year's ALCS, pitching 5.0 shutout innings while allowing just two hits and one walk.
  5. Didi Gregorius has 10 home runs this season, tied for the third-most home runs by a Yankee before May in franchise history (2007 Alex Rodriguez -- 14, 1974 Graig Nettles -- 11, 2017 Aaron Judge -- 10). Gregorius has a 1.202 OPS which leads all MLB players with at least 80 plate appearances this season.
  6. Houston's pitching staff has 302 strikeouts this season. They are the only team since at least 1913 to have over 300 strikeouts before May. Houston has four starting pitchers averaging over 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings (Gerrit Cole -- 13.2, Lance McCullers Jr. -- 11.6, Charlie Morton -- 10.9, Justin Verlander -- 10.9).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/30/2018 thru 5/3/2018

HOUSTON - With the first month of the season in the books and Astros starters having completed six trips through the rotation, one overlooked aspect of their utter dominance is the impressive efficiency they displayed in April.

While right-handers Justin Verlander (1.36 ERA), Charlie Morton (1.72), and Gerrit Cole (1.73) entered May ranked second, third, and fourth in the American League in ERA, only Cole closed the opening month ranked in the top five in innings pitched with 41 2/3. Astros manager A.J. Hinch has watched with satisfaction as his starting staff posted the best ERA in the majors (2.54) on an economy of pitches.

Only Cole averaged more than 100 pitches per start, just eclipsing that plateau at 100.2. Verlander (99.2) and Dallas Keuchel (98.8) ranked just behind Cole, while Lance McCullers and Morton averaged 95.8 and 93.5 pitches per start, respectively.

"I'm more interested and excited that they've done it in a small number of pitches," Hinch said. "I don't really care what the inning totals are; keeping the volume down is very important over the length of the season.

"If I'm a reliever on this team I'm pretty happy with the number of innings the starters are taking off their plate right out of the gate because as the season gets underway and gets longer and as the appearances start to tally up, they're going to really feel it. I think they should enjoy the lack of work that April created for them. It's hard to argue that I couldn't be more pleased with our pitching at this point."

Keuchel (1-4, 4.00 ERA) will start for the Astros (20-11) on Wednesday. Keuchel has enjoyed rousing success against the Yankees, going 4-2 with a 1.41 ERA over six career starts in the regular season, and 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA over three career postseason starts. He faced the Yankees once last year during the regular season, allowing one unearned run on five hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over five innings in a 3-2 victory at Yankee Stadium on May 11.

Right-hander Luis Severino (4-1, 2.61 ERA) gets the nod for the Yankees (19-10). Severino is 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA over three career appearances (two starts) against the Astros, including 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA at Minute Maid Park. At 24 years, 37 days old, Severino was the youngest Yankees Opening Day starter since Lefty Gomez (23 years, 138 days) on April 12, 1932.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer caused an uproar on Tuesday when he intimated that the recent additions to the Astros rotation were benefiting from pine tar while on the mound. Bauer cited the correlation between pine tar usage and spin rate, implying that the drastic improvement in spin rates from Cole, Morton, and Verlander wasn't a coincidence.

Cole, in particular, has been otherworldly since joining the Astros, averaging 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings after posting just 8.7 per nine last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I think you also have to give credit where credit is due," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "This organization has been really good at taking talented guys and helping them get to another level or, in Verlander's case, a guy that was on a Hall of Fame track and pitching OK and then he got here and is reinvigorated and has pitched really well.

"I don't read much into it other than they're really good at game planning over here, they're really good at addressing deficiencies or enhancing things that guys do really well, and they've done a really good job of getting the most out of all their players."

Updated May 2, 2018

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