Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees Pick & Prediction MARCH 31st 2024

The New York Yankees have received a bit more clarity regarding veteran third baseman DJ LeMahieu, who was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture in his right foot following an MRI taken on Friday.

LeMahieu opened the season on the injured list after sustaining the injury on March 16 by fouling a pitch off his foot during spring training. He was diagnosed with a bone bruise before additional imaging revealed the fracture. Given the uncertainty surrounding when he might return, the Yankees acquired Jon Berti from the Miami Marlins on Wednesday to address their infield depth.

Oswaldo Cabrera, meanwhile, started his third consecutive game at third base Saturday in the Yankees’ 5-3 victory over the Houston Astros. The win was New York’s third straight in the four-game series in Houston. The Yankees will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, Cabrera hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the seventh inning and is 7-for-13 with two homers, three runs and six RBIs in the series.

As for LeMahieu’s timeline to return, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: “It doesn’t really change much. It’s tolerance as he builds up and the last two days have been good. He actually hit in the cage (Friday), and I know he feels a lot better. They’ll reimage it in two weeks and see where he’s at, but it shouldn’t stop him from progressing now as we go.

“It’s not something that he’s going to play through. He’s going to be 100 percent, and I think the sense is that it should be, over time, fine.”

Right-hander Clarke Schmidt (9-9, 4.64 ERA in 2023) will start the series finale for the Yankees on Sunday.

Schmidt allowed three runs or less in 25 of his 32 starts last season. His lone appearance against the Astros came Aug. 3, when he allowed two runs on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts over five innings. He did not factor into the decision of New York’s 4-3 victory.

Right-hander J.P. France (11-6, 3.83 ERA in 2023) is the scheduled starter for the Astros as they attempt to avert the series sweep.

France led all American League rookies last season with 13 quality starts and was tied for first in wins while ranking third in ERA, fourth in opponent OPS (.737) and fifth in WHIP (1.36). France faced the Yankees on Aug. 6, working 3 1/3 innings of relief and allowing one unearned run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts while earning a 9-7 victory.

Astros reliever Bryan Abreu had a rocky season debut in a 5-3 loss on Saturday, allowing three runs on two homers and two walks. He missed the first two games of the season while serving a suspension tied to the 2023 AL Championship Series.

“He did not look as sharp as we’ve seen (him) look in the past,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “Just working on his mechanics, and I don’t think he’s quite there yet. Just not the usual Bryan Abreu when it comes to execution.”

Following the offseason signing of five-time All-Star closer Josh Hader, the Astros were eager to deploy their trio of high-leverage relievers for the first time: Abreu, former closer Ryan Pressly and Hader. The Yankees tagged Abreu and also scored a run in the eighth off Pressly.

“I take that process,” Espada said. “That’s exactly how we drew it up. Things didn’t go our way. That’s just baseball.”

–Field Level Media

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