Bronx, NY- The playoff intensity was in full force at Yankee Stadium this weekend as the Houston Astros and New York Yankees battled in a 4-game series. What’s clear is that the Astros and Yankees are shaping out as the two top teams across the American League, which leads me to believe this could be a crash course come October. This series contained everything a baseball fan could ask for out of a bitter rivalry. Walk off endings, a ton of home runs, and even a combined no-hitter were just a few of the many sensational highlights in Astros Yankees.
Whenever these two franchises face off, baseball fans show up. Take a look at the Yankee Stadium attendance in this series.
Thursday, June 23rd @ 7:10pm – 44,071
Friday June 24th @ 7:10pm – 47,528
Saturday June 25th @ 1:10pm – 45,076
Sunday June 26th @ 1:35pm – 44,028
The LatinoMVP is one of the most prestigious awards and has been thought of as a “Latino Grammy.” To add to the incredible matchup, three former recipients of the LatinoMVP played key roles in this Astros Yankees series, thus being Giancarlo Stanton (2014 NL LatinoMVP), Jose Altuve (2017 AL LatinoMVP) as well as Gleyber Torres (2019 AL LatinoMVP).
On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the series finale, Altuve put Houston on the scoreboard early with a lead-off solo-HR to left field. With 15 total on the season, this marked Altuves 7th lead-off HR of the year. He is now tied with former teammate George Springer (Toronto Blue Jays) for the most lead-off HR across MLB this season. With constant boos from the New York crowd, Altuve fed off the energy by going 5-14 in the series with two HR, two RBI, and two stolen bases.
Altuve gave his thoughts on the playoff-like atmosphere. “There were good games for both teams. There was a lot of energy, a lot of intensity from the first game to the last run. We did everything we could. I’m happy with the way we played.” The 2017 AL LatinoMVP from Maracay, Venezuela leads AL second basemen in OPS (.895) and Slugging Percentage (.536) this season.
Prior to the start of Sunday’s game, the Astros reinstated infielder Jeremy Peña from the 10-day IL (Left thumb discomfort). Out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Peña has shown to have his talent ingrained in all aspects of the game.
Consistently making an impact, whether on the field with his throwing ability and or in the same fashion on offense due to his quick wrists, Peña is the perfect fit for this Houston ballclub. He currently ranks 1st among all American League rookies in OPS (.804) and Slugging Percentage (.472). On Sunday afternoon, Peña finished the day 1-4 with a double and 1 run scored. In 55 games played on the year, the 24-year-old is batting .277 with 27 RBI, 54 total hits, and a .332 OBP.
Pitching Line on Sunday afternoon between LHP Nestor Cortes and RHP José Urquidy
NYY – Nestor Cortes (Surgidero de Batabanó, Cuba)
5 IP, 3 ER, 1 HR, 5 Hits Allowed, 2 BB, 7 K – 85 pitches, 56 strikes
HOU – José Urquidy (Mazatlán, Mexico)
7 IP, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 Hit Allowed, 3 BB, 3 K – 100 pitches, 63 strikes
From Friday night in the 9th inning until Sunday afternoon in the bottom of the 7th, Astros pitching held the Yankees hitless, totaling 16.1 consecutive innings without a hit. This tied for the longest streak since the expansion era (1961); LA Dodgers vs Houston Astros in 1981, as well as Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers, and Minnesota Twins in 1973.
This team is “unphased” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. He added, “It’s a great tough room with a lot of resolve and knowing what the mission is… They’re equipped to handle it. They do a good job of whatever situation we’re in, just keep playing. They’ve shown each other that they can win games in a lot of different ways.”
With that being said, Houston seemed to have their foot on the gas all afternoon until the 7th inning when the Bronx Bombers bats suddenly woke up. Stanton broke up the Astros no-hit bid with a deep shot to center field for his 17th HR of the season to cut the score, 3-1. The 2014 NL LatinoMVP has three HR in his last four games.
The Yankees cashed in on a game-tying two-run homer from DJ LeMahieu in the bottom of the 8th inning. This marked LeMahieu’s seventh HR and 31st RBI of the season. LeMahieu has totaled 53 HR since joining New York in 2019. 26 of his home runs have either tied the game (9) or given the Yankees the lead (17). With the score at 3-3 a piece, the stadium was going berserk during each and every pitch.
Nine innings wasn’t enough to determine the Sunday showdown between Houston and New York. With the Astros knocking on the door in the top of the 10th, Yankees reliever Michael King got out of a bases-loaded jam.
Walk Off Heroics from Aaron Judge – Two Walk Offs in Last Four Days
In the bottom of the 10th, with two outs and two on, Judge crushed a 0-1 slider from Astros RHP Seth Martinez for a 3-run walkoff HR. With Judge doing the “famous griddy” dance as he crossed home plate to celebrate the 6-3 victory with his teammates, Yankee Stadium was roaring. Judge leads all of MLB in HR with 28. Get this? No other player in MLB has more than 22 HR on the season.
To end this hard-fought 4-game set between Houston and New York, Judge stated during postgame, “It could be anyone one through nine in that lineup to do something good for you. This kind of reminds me of some postseason games… big clutch hitting, moving runners over, great defensive plays all around. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Well, Judge and the Bronx Bombers are one of the top teams in the clutch with a league-leading 22 comeback wins on the season and an impressive +141 run differential (1st in MLB). The Astros stand on top of the American League West division by 10.5 games with a +62 run differential (3rd in AL).
Along with the Yankees season, the MVP campaign from Judge continues in the Bronx on Monday night, with the Oakland Athletics in town for a 3-game series.
Injury Note – Gleyber Torres diagnosed with Mild Ankle Sprain
During the 9th inning of Sunday’s game, Gleyber Torres appeared to slip up on his right ankle on a pickoff at 3rd base. Torres left the game and was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain. “I don’t expect it to be serious,” said Boone. The 2019 AL LatinoMVP, Torres has been off to an incredible start this season with 13 HR, 57 total hits, and a .302 OBP.
Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports and NY Sports Day
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