The Astros begin the second half of the season with a big doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Thursday at Minute Maid Park, featuring arguably the two best teams in baseball.
Game 1 is at noon at Minute Maid Park, with the second game scheduled at 5:10 p.m.
Thursday was supposed to be an off-day as part of the All-Star break, but because of the early-season lockout that canceled the first week of the season, Houston and New York will play a doubleheader to make up for a cancelled three-game series in April. The Astros won a single home game over the Yankees, 2-1, on June 30.
Then the team heads to Seattle to face a red-hot Mariners squad who has won 14 games in a row to tighten up the divisional race a little bit.
So far, the Astros have fended off nagging injuries to key players to post a 59-32 record and a nine-game lead in the American League Western Division. But it was as much as a 13.5 game lead before Seattle started its big win streak.
The Astros are hoping to get some key players back from injury back this week, as designated hitter Yordan Alvarez was put on the injured list with a sore right hand. It still is a question mark when he will be back in the lineup.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are by far the best team in baseball with 64 wins and have arguably the best player in outfielder Aaron Judge. He is the AL leader in home runs (33) and has two game-winning hits over the Astros so far this season.
Houston will start right-handed pitcher Cristian Javier in Game 1 and right-hander Luis Garcia in Game 2. New York has yet to name their starting pitchers.