Ace On The Mound: Keuchel Holds Advantage Over Warren At Minute Maid Park

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, June 25, 2015 2:21 PM GMT

The NY Yankees visit the Houston Astros for this 4-game weekend series & tonights pitching play of the day is supported by a HUGE home/road dichotomy.

NY Yankees (Warren) vs. Houston Astros (Keuchel)  8:10 ET
The NY Yankees visit the Houston Astros for this 4-game weekend series at Minute Maid Park. The 39-33 mark for the Yankees is no surprise. But, the fact that Houston, at 42-32, has more victories than any other American League team is certainly a surprise. Improvement was clearly expected from this Astros team, who after winning a combined 106 games in 2012 and 2013, showed improvement to 70 victories in 2014. Yet, today’s record exceeds even the loftiest expectations. This series is yet another proving ground for them against a traditional power team such as NYY.

The Yankees have been a streaky team this season with runs of 4-6, 17-9, 1-10, 16-8 and this week, 1-3. Two of those 3 defeats came at the hands of the lowly Phillies, who pounded the Yankees Monday and Tuesday by combined scores of 22-14. Though, the Yankees rebounded for a 10-2 victory in a strong start by Ivan Nova, who had a solid outing coming off the DL. But, that is not enough momentum to carry this team into today’s matchup against one of the top pitchers in MLB. On an extra day of rest, Warren takes the mound for the visitors. He comes off a strong outing against Detroit in which he worked 8 IP, allowing just 2 runs in a 7-2 victory vs. Detroit. Unfortunately, his work at home has been far superior to his 7 outings on the road.  In that timeframe, Warren is 2-3 with an inflated 4.91 ERA and a mediocre 1.36 road WHIP. The series saving victory against Philly, combined with Warren’s poor road form, is not enough to get me interested in the Yankees, even at this Big Dog price!

As we approach the halfway point of the season, the Astros appear to be for real.  A .736 batting OPS is enhanced by a .427 slugging percentage, which includes more than 100 HR, easily the best mark in MLB. Following a tepid start at home, in which they went 8-9, the Astros have made their mark at Minute Maid with a recent 15-5 mark. In those 20 games, the Astros have averaged 5.1 RPG with a .341 BA, while clouting 36 HRs in those 20 games. Tonight, they send their emerging ace, Keuchel, to the mound. The Astros have won 10 of 15 Keuchel starts, in which he has a 2.35 ERA. Yet, his best work has come from this mound.  Keuchel is 6-0 at home with a 1.62 ERA, a .188 BA and a 0.97 home WHIP. Combined with the Astros’ big bats and a .750 home W/L percentage of late, the Astros look to be a solid MLB pick in this spot.    

MLB PIck: Take Houston Astros