HomeTrending MLB NewsHouston Has a Problem. The Yankees are Back.

Houston Has a Problem. The Yankees are Back.

The New York Yankees might have suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday night, Yankees fans are still basking in the glow of opening weekend. Sweeping the Houston Astros in four games with the Yankees scoring the go ahead runs in the 7th inning or later three times, For Yankee fans of a certain age this weekend felt like the glory days of the late 1990s.

Between 1998 and 2001, with Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Co. it wasn’t a question of will the Yankees come back it was how. While we shouldn’t overrate opening weekend, you can’t help but see a bright future for this team. Houston has been a thorn in the American League for almost a decade. Despite the banging of those trash cans to a World Series, they showed that it didn’t matter because of their talent. But this weekend may have significant implications for the rest of the season for both teams. Here are a few.

  1. The New York Yankees have already won the season series against the Astros.

With three games left between both teams, the Astros have no way of making up for the four-game sweep. 

With another American League team (the Toronto Blue Jays) facing the Astros this week, it would behoove Houston to forget about this weekend and focus as much as they can on the rest of the month.

The Yankees are off to their best start since 2003. This is only the second time the Astros have been swept in a four-game series. The other one came against the Cincinnati Reds in 1978 when the team was still in the National League.

  • No Gerrit Cole, No Problem 

Nestor Cortes might have looked shaky in his first outing the Yankees bullpen shined in the opening game and this weekend overall. Ian Hamilton, Clay Holmes, and Jonathan Loáisiga both pitched three innings of shut-out ball (with Loáisiga dancing around a few hits and a 2.67 WHIP to do so). Luke Weaver posted 0.82 WHIP in 3.2 innings with an ERA of 2.45, and Nick Burdi and Caleb Ferguson both didn’t allow a run in 2.1 innings. With the possibility of Gerrit Cole not coming back from injury, the Yankees will have to rely on their bullpen more than ever. The rotation of Cortes, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodon, Luis Gil, and Clarke Schmidt is going to need help. If this weekend was a preview of what’s to come, they’ll have it.

  • No contributions from Aaron Judge, No Problem

Among several things, the Yankees showed in the first five games is that they can survive Aaron Judge contributing less than usual and still come out on top. As of Wednesday, Judge has a slash line of .208/.296./333. He’s not going to stay that way. But it should be considered a plus that New York would be successful without him offensively. 

  • The Yanks/Astros rivalry mirrors another rivalry from a different sport 30 years ago., 

Again, while we do have to slow our roll for 2024, the addition of Juan Soto has already paid dividends. This kind of acquisition could be the equivalent of the 1990s Knicks getting a player that can help them finally knock out Michal Jordan’s Bulls. There’s no way to demonstrate how important Soto is to the team. In the four-game sweep, Soto went 9-for-17 at the plate with four RBI. 

While  the Yankees have won the best of 7 in the regular season, the wait begins for how the Astros in a series again…in October.

Stephon Johnson
Stephon Johnson
Stephon Johnson is a journalist, reporter, and writer who's covered sports, politics, education, and labor issues. He’s written for The Athletic, The Sports Fan Journal, The Hardball Times, The Classical, The Cauldron/Sports Illustrated, Baeble Music, Polygon, City & State New York, the New York Amsterdam News, and THE CITY.


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