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Astros vs. Yankees MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Houston’s Bullpen Has the Advantage (Saturday, June 25)

Astros vs. Yankees MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Houston’s Bullpen Has the Advantage (Saturday, June 25) article feature image

Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Astros pitcher Cristian Javier

  • The Yankees are short home favorites on Saturday against the Astros in a highly anticipated matchup.
  • Gerrit Cole is on the mound for the Bronx Bombers, but the Astros have the stronger bullpen behind Cristian Javier.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Astros vs. Yankees Odds

Astros Odds+110
Yankees Odds-130
Over/Under9 (+100/-120)
Time1:05 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Cristian Javier has flown under the radar among the baseball media this season. On Saturday, he and the Astros face off against Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees.

The 25-year-old Houston Astros pitcher has put together an encouraging start to his 2022 campaign as he owns a 3.07 ERA and 3.17 xERA, so expectations are right in line with results. His one problem has been issuing walks (9.9%), but as long as he can find the zone, he will induce weak contact and get a quality start.

Cole is shockingly similar. He has a 3.14 ERA and 2.94 xERA, so the two are neck-and-neck. Cole’s issue has been permitting Hard Contact at times. He ranks in the bottom half of the league in Average Exit Velocity, so the Astros might be a tough matchup for him.

Given this, does taking the Astros on the moneyline present good value in this matinee matchup?

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Javier and the Astros Bullpen Are Surging

Cristian Javier is a promising young arm. His xBA is only .204, so the Yankees have a tough matchup in store. Still, they do own a MLB-best 151 wRC+ in June off of right-handers. Luckily, Javier only has a 35.3% Hard Hit Rate, so he could mitigate the damage from the Yankee lineup.

The Yankees have 10 hitters over a .330 xwOBA. They are stacked top-to-bottom, and being at home will definitely help them. At one point, someone in this lineup will have to struggle. Astros manager Dusty Baker has not been shy to pull the plug on a Javier start if he cannot locate the strike zone, so the bullpen needs to be taken into consideration for this handicap.

Houston has the third-best xFIP in the MLB out of the ‘pen this month. They average over 10 K/9, so they should miss plenty of Yankee bats, as well. Blake Taylor and Parker Mushinski were having some trouble, but both have landed on the Injured List. Ryan Pressly, Hector Neris, and Brandon Bielak are above a 4.00 xFIP, so this is concerning for the back-end of the bullpen, but the Astros have multiple relievers to fill in after Javier leaves the ballgame.

Yankees Are Vulnerable Behind Cole in the Bullpen

Cole has been rock solid this season for the Yankees. He has been consistent, hovering around the same ERA for three months now. That said, Houston owns a 140 wRC+ off of righties this season, so he is in store for a potentially brutal matchup.

Jeremy Peña is out for the Astros, but this lineup has not skipped a beat. Mauricio Dubón has a .384 xwOBA off of righties in June in Peña’s absence, and Yordan Álvarez has a .674 xwOBA in that same span. Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley, and Alex Bregman are all above the .400 mark, and José Altuve is above .330. This is a difficult top of the order to navigate for Cole. There is a decent chance he could leave this game early due to troubles against these boppers.

The Yankee bullpen has some noteworthy injuries. Jonathan Loáisiga is on the 15-day IL, while Stephen Ridings, Domingo Germán, Zack Britton, and Chad Green are on the 60-day IL. The Yankees have succeeded without these arms, but sooner or later, they will have some issues. They own a 4.06 xFIP as a team, so this is one glaring weakness for an otherwise untouchable New York roster. The Astros have a strong lineup, so if they force Cole out of this game early, they should take advantage of a hobbled Yankee bullpen.

Astros-Yankees Pick

Both of these starters are great, but they have their issues. Javier is about equal to Cole, and that is all a bettor needs to know going into this game.

The Astros bullpen has fewer injuries and weak spots, so they get the edge if Javier leaves early versus Cole. Since the Houston lineup is so potent at the top, taking them at +110 and playing to -110 is the right call.

Pick: Houston Astros Moneyline (+110 or better)

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