Yankees Astros Weekend Preview

EXPECT PLAYOFF ATMOSPHERE WHEN YANKEES VISIT ASTROS FOR 4-GAME WEEKEND SERIES

This should be a lot of fun! There's great baseball energy in Houston again as the Astros are very much in the thick of championship discussions after suffering through years of collapse. Nothing gets a city excited like rising from the ashes! Golden State and Cleveland both showed that in the NBA in recent weeks. Coming to visit...the hated New York Yankees. Fans across the baseball landscape loving rooting against the Bronx Bombers. The fact that this could be a playoff preview only intensifies the four-game attraction.

Before looking at the offensive stats and the probable pitchers, let's run through where these teams stand in the races to win the American League and World Championship. These are consensus Futures prices according to an assortment of offshore and Las Vegas betting locales...

Offshore Odds to Win American League
Kansas City +500
Detroit +650
NY Yankees +800
Houston +800
LA Angels +800
Toronto +800
Tampa Bay +900

Detroit is getting more respect in the Futures because Justin Verlander has returned to the rotation. Kansas City is still the betting favorite as defending champs who are playing great. The Yankees and Astros are right on their heels in a tie for "third best" with a few other contenders. This is a BIG series!

Odds to win the World Series
LA Dodgers +650
Washington +650
St. Louis +650
Kansas City +1000
Detroit +1400
NY Yankees +1600
Houston +2000

Even though the National League has been clearly inferior in Interleague action this season (overall, though not the past week!), the top three teams in the senior circuit would all be installed as betting favorites over the AL representative. If you believe in "rising from the ashes" narratives, either the Yanks or Astros could offer you a great return on a midseason investment.

Now, JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats for these offenses and this weekend's probable pitchers...

OFFENSE
NY Yankees: 4.78 runs per game, .325 on-base, .437 slugging
Houston: 4.52 runs per game, .310 on-base, .430 slugging

Slight edge to the Yankees across the board. Both offenses are helped home run-wise by their home ball parks. The Yankees do a better job of getting guys on base, which is why they're about a fourth of a run better per game thus far in 2015.

THURSDAY'S PITCHERS
Adam Warren: 3.62 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 5.8 K-Rate 5.9 IP-per-Start
Dallas Keuchel: 2.35 ERA, 0.98WHIP, 7.0 K-Rate 7.1 IP-per-Start

Warren has thrown six quality starts in last seven outings, which has knocked more than a run off his ERA. He's not an ace by any means. But, as we've said with him before...that level of effectiveness will get the job done in front of a decent offense as long as the bullpen isn't awful. Keuchel has looked mortal in last two outings...after posting an ERA below 2.00 in his first 13 starts! Possible sign of fatigue for a guy who had been throwing like a serious Cy Young candidate. Possible value on the visitor if Keuchel is getting tired.

FRIDAY'S PITCHERS
Nathan Eovaldi: 4.95 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 6.4 K-Rate, 5.4 IP-per-Start
Vincent Velasquez: 4.15 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 11.8 K-Rate 4.3 IP-per-Start

Might want to look at the Over here. Eovaldi remains inconsistent, though he did have a decent outing vs. Detroit last Saturday. Velasquez has only made three starts. His massively high per-inning pitch counts are making it difficult to even reach the fifth inning. Look at those WHIPS! We should see a lot of baserunners, and possibly a lot of relief pitchers too.

SATURDAY'S PITCHERS
Masahiro Tanaka: 3.17 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 9.5 K-Rate 6.0 IP-per-Start
Brett Oberholtzer: 2.81 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 6.5 K-Rate 5.3 IP-per-Start

Three good starts for Tanaka after his return from Disabled List, until Detroit hit him hard Sunday. Only six starts so far for Oberholtzer after he missed first six weeks of season. Very tricky game to handicap because Oberholtzer's ERA doesn't match his WHIP and IP per start numbers. Tanaka is likely to be the more dynamic force unless that Detroit outing suggested something was wrong with him again.

SUNDAY'S PITCHERS
Michael Pineda: 4.25 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.2 K-Rate 6.0 IP-per-Start
Colin McHugh: 4.80 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7.3 K-Rate 6.2 IP-per-Start

Pineda was rocked by Philadelphia this past Monday as a huge favorite. It's never a good sign when the phrase "rocked by Philadelphia" is by a pitcher's name! His ERA is up about a run over his last three starts. For McHugh, good outing in Anaheim put an end to five games of relative struggles. Either guy is capable of throwing a gem. But, if those were common, we wouldn't have a pair of ERA's over four. Will the Yanks stay focused in a getaway spot? Check the situational angle after you see how the first three games went in this series.

JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big play in this important AL series this weekend. You can purchase the final word for all daily baseball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. Remember to ask about early-bird football!

We head to the National League tomorrow to look at a renewing rivalry in the Central Division. Here's what's on tap in the NOTEBOOK...

Friday: MLB Series Preview...Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Saturday: College Football...Mountain West "East" Preview
Sunday: College Football...Mountain West "West" Preview
Monday: MLB Series Preview...Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview...Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers

Yes...college football coverage begins this weekend. Thanks in advance to all of you who always turn out for our summer series of conference previews. Keep building your bankrolls with baseball as you gear up for the fast-approaching football season. Whatever the sport...whatever the season...you're going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

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Aug

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