Two of the best teams in the American League conclude their four-game series today as the (49-27) New York Yankees host game four against the (48-30) Houston Astros (2:05 PM ET Sunday at Yankee Stadium, NY).
When this series began on Thursday night, both the Astros and Yankees were leading their respective divisions. That said, the two teams had entered the four-game set heading in slightly different directions. The Yankees got hot, winning five in a row, including a crucial sweep of the (44-33) Tampa Bay Rays, who had been nipping at their heels in the AL East. Following New York’s recent winning streak however, the Rays are now 5.5 games back. In Houston, thanks to their early season success, the Astros held a huge lead over the second place (41-36) Texas Rangers in the AL West. That lead is now down to just 6.5 games.
It was a battle of top-tier AL teams set for this four game series, but unlike the Yankees, the Astros entered having lost four in a row.
Such was the story after game one as rain began to have its impact on the East Coast. After the Yankees had taken a 6-0 lead thanks to a trio of home runs in the fourth inning, rain caused a brief delay. When the game resumed, the Astros found some offense, but so too did the Yankees, who won the game 10-6. It was a slugfest as the Astros and Yankees combined for eight home runs. That type of game was befitting for two teams who rank fifth and sixth in MLB in home runs (3rd and 4th in the AL).
The second game of the series was affected by storms as well, causing a delay. The real delay was just that of the inevitable as once again, the Yankees defeated the Astros, 4-1. Aroldis Chapman got his 21st save in the win. Game three held much of the same fate for Houston. Both pitchers had been pitching well, keeping the Yankees and Astros off the board until the fifth inning where New York got a pair. The Astros answered with two of their own in the top of the sixth as both teams found their stride. There were no scoreless innings again until the top of the eighth, and no more runs scored for the rest of the game. Giancarlo Stanton had four RBI for New York, the Yankees streak of hitting home runs each game continued and New York won again, 7-5.
That brings us to today’s game four where the Yankees enter having won eight in a row and the Astros enter having lost seven in a row. New York is surging but Houston is struggling. Fortunately, it’s a four-game series and the Astros still have a chance to salvage things in game four and avoid the devastating sweep. They’ll need to get back on track soon though. Yes, their divisional lead is still strong but heading into the second half of the year on this kind of skid won’t be good for the team. As it turns out though, game four could be just the situation for the Astros to start getting back on track. They’ll send their ace and one of the MLB’s best pitchers to the mound in Justin Verlander. He’ll be opposed by J.A. Happ for the Yankees.
Probable Pitchers: (HOU) Justin Verlander vs (NYY) J.A. Happ
The 36-year-old Justin Verlander has been in the league over 14 years now and in that time, he’s accomplished a tremendous amount. The second overall pick by the Detroit Tigers, Verlander is an MVP, a stat worth noting as pitchers don’t tend to win the award. He’s also the Rookie of the Year from 2006, the ALCS MVP from 2011 and a Cy Young Award winner. Verlander spent much of his career with Detroit, only coming to Houston in 2018. He finished the season with a 2.52 ERA, the third best ERA of his career. This year, Verlander has continued that success, posting an ERA of 2.59, 133 strikeouts in 107.2 innings and a record of 9-3. There aren’t many pitchers in baseball better this year as Verlander ranks top six in ERA and is tied for third in wins, just one behind the league co-leaders. There might not be a better person for Houston to have on the mound as they look to get back in the win column.
J.A. Happ has been in the league for over 12 years and while he’s been good at times, he’s not at the level Verlander is. Starting with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, Happ has been a journeyman. The Yankees are the sixth different team he’s played for in his career. Happ came to New York in 2018 and pitched well for the team, posting a 2.59 ERA in 11 starts. 2019 marks his first full year with the team. His ERA is 4.59, which is his worst such mark since 2015. He does have seven wins on the year, however, Happ is actually a worse pitcher at home this year, posting an ERA of 5.13 at Yankee Stadium compared to 4.05 away from it. His ERA is 4.50 in day games.
Our Betting Preview’s Houston Astros vs New York Yankees Predictions for Game 4 with Picks Verdict
It’s hard to pick against the Yankees at this point but four game sweeps really are rare to come by, especially with two teams as good as these are. Earlier in the year, the Yankees dealt with some really tough injuries but they never fell out of the chase. Now, they are getting healthy in the worst way. And by worst way, I mean for all other teams in baseball. Their lineup is dangerous, especially the way the team is playing right now.
On the opposite note, the Astros went from hitting their stride to not hitting at all. This four-game series is taking place in New York as well, where the Yankees are 28-13. Verlander is an X-Factor and a difference maker. He’s pitched against the Yankees 21 times in his career and has a 3.15 ERA against them. So the Houston Astros vs New York Yankees predictions for this game four are, taking account of all odds available with the United States’ top recommended, offshore sports betting sites, as follows:
- Backed by Verlander, take the Astros to win on the moneyline @ best odds of -127 with BetOnline. This preview also expects the team to cover the -1.5 runline spread.
- With both pitchers doing well ERA-wise, take the under on the 9.5 run total @ -101, and that is the best betting line, once again with BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.