Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees Pick & Prediction MARCH 30th 2024

Yankees left-hander Carlos Rodon didn’t deliver a dominant performance in the first start of his second season with New York, but the resilience he showed by pitching into the fifth inning played a role in the Yankees having an opportunity to rally for a second consecutive game.

Rodon gave up one run over 4 1/3 innings despite allowing five hits and three walks in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory on Friday. He proved adept at keeping the Astros in check despite the traffic, stranding seven baserunners, including four in scoring position.

The two teams will meet again Saturday night in Houston.

Rodon made just 14 starts during an injury-plagued first season with the Yankees in 2023, finishing 3-8 with a 6.85 ERA. While expectations remain high after Rodon signed a six-year, $162 million free-agent contract with the club, every start can’t be seen as a referendum on the signing.

“It’s just keep logging the workdays, and over time, if we do that, the talent is going to speak for itself,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And every fifth, sixth day if he continues to go to the post, he’ll be in a good spot. I feel like his stuff’s there, the work’s there, the foundation is there.

“Continue to focus on the work because he’s done that since the start of the offseason. His foundation is good right now.”

Right-hander Marcus Stroman (10-9, 3.95 ERA in 2023) will make his Yankees debut as their scheduled starter on Saturday. He was winless over his final seven appearances (five starts) last season, going 0-3 with an 11.00 ERA and a blown save for the Chicago Cubs.

Right-hander Hunter Brown (11-13, 5.09 ERA in 2023) is scheduled to start for the Astros on Saturday. He recorded a decision in 11 consecutive appearances (10 starts) — going 5-6 with a 7.11 ERA during that stretch — before concluding his rookie season with a scoreless inning of relief in the Astros’ 8-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Oct. 1.

After starting last season 5-1 with a 3.12 ERA, Brown dropped six of seven decisions with a 5.83 ERA over his subsequent eight starts. He finished 1-4 with an 8.74 ERA in six games (five starts) to end the season.

Astros reliever Bryan Abreu completed a two-game suspension Friday for throwing at Adolis Garcia during the 2023 American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers. Abreu’s absence was felt in both games against the Yankees, particularly on Friday with reliever Ryan Pressly also unavailable after working a 27-pitch seventh inning in the series opener Thursday.

Down two high-leverage arms in Abreu and Pressly, the Astros turned to relievers Tayler Scott, Parker Mushinski, Rafael Montero and Brandon Bielak, who combined to allow seven runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks while recording seven outs in the second game of the four-game series.

“It’s challenging, but some of those guys need to get outs,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “We can’t just pitch those same guys over and over again. At some point, they’ll need to step up and get a big out for us, and I have confidence that they will do that.

“It’s a long season and they’re getting opportunities, and right now things are not going our way.”

–Field Level Media

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