Given the fact that approximately half the regular pinstripers on the roster can be labeled the walking wounded, Joe Girardi has to feel fortunate heading near the first 5th of the season to be 6 games above the mendoza line. Some timely hitting and dominating pitching supports the fact that despite the Yankees (16-10) dealing with the injuries to some key players, they've weathered the early part of the storm. The young Houston Astros (8-19) would do well to learn that lesson going forward as the teams wrap up their three-game set Wednesday night in the Bronx.
Robinson Cano has been steady with team highs of a .327 batting average, seven homers and 17 RBIs, while veteran newcomers Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells each have gone deep 6 times apiece. After the Yanks swept Boston at the Stadium this weekend with each win by a run, so far this series has been squared with the rubber game taking place tonight. Hafner keyed Tuesday night's 7-4 win with three RBI singles, the first two coming over the first three innings to give Hiroki Kuroda all the cushion he needed for his fourth straight win.
Houston sends journeyman Erik Bedard to the hill this evening. The veteran southpaw after lengthy time away due to injuries and inefficiency may be pitching for his starting spot this evening. Bedard is winless in 2 decisions with an ERA just short of 8, and things didn't get much better during his last visiting start against Boston where he yielded 5 runs on 8 hits including 3 HR at hitter friendly Fenway Park. If Houston has hopes of taking this series, Bedard is going to need a lot of run support from the likes of Chris Carter (.227) who despite the low average leads the Astros with 6 HR and 14 RBI. Jose Altuve also has driven in 14 and leads the club with a .330 average. Rick Ankiel has gone deep 5 times but isn't hitting his weight (.189).
David Phelps makes his first start of the season this evening after netting 6 outings in relief. He helped pick up Ivan Nova from an ineffective start and eventual injury in Toronto yielding just a run an d a hit in 4 innings of work. Overall he is expected to replace Nova and could even challenge for a permanent spot in the rotation, though Phelps also seems to be comfortable no matter what role he is instructed.
In addition to the aforementioned three above, Lyle Overbay has picked his efficiency up at the plate as of late hitting his 4th HR of the season last night. He has driven in 12 as has Brett Gardner. Ichiro is off to a slow start, but even these Yankees who don't mirror anything without the likes of Jeter, Granderson, Teixiera and A-Roid have been doing plenty of damage which may not keep Bedard around for long.
We get another great price here, and we continue to expect balls flying above and out off the short porch in right field. The Yanks play 3 more over the weekend here before taking their success out west at Coors against the Rockies, another hitter friendly venue. Since the Astros move to the AL West when the season began, things haven't exactly gotten much better. However they do travel back home to Minute Maid where they play their next 10. Expect chances for both teams this evening on the base paths, as we look to win our second straight. Best of luck however you play!