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Yankees-Astros could be preview for October playoff battle

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s not even July, however the Yankees and Astros each entered Wednesday with double-digit leads of their divisions.

Requested what he thought concerning the American League doubtlessly being “boring’’ due to the dearth of competitiveness — at the least up to now — within the AL East and West, Aaron Boone mentioned, “I hope it stays boring.”

The upcoming sequence between the 2 in The Bronx figures to be intense, though Boone mentioned he doesn’t contemplate it a postseason preview.

“I don’t get that caught up in it,’’ Boone mentioned. “It’s a staff now we have a rivalry with. You admire being concerned in a sequence like that. I don’t assume I put any extra into it. It’s not October. They’re essential video games towards an excellent opponent and I hope we play properly.”

Followers will undoubtedly take a look at the sequence in a distinct gentle than most different video games, as they proved a 12 months in the past, once they went after Houston gamers — particularly Jose Altuve — of their first probability to voice their displeasure about Houston’s sign-stealing scandal that value the Yankees in 2017.

Altuve obtained the worst of it, with chants of “[Bleep] Altuve” echoing on the Stadium all through the season — even when the Astros weren’t there.

MLB
Aaron Choose and Jose Altuve
USA Right now Sports activities

“I hope it’s civil and individuals are behaving,’’ Boone mentioned of followers’ habits. “No query after we get along with the Astros, it’ll be the summer time months and it’ll be intense, however hopefully it’s good, clear civil enjoyable.”

Good luck.

As a result of as basic supervisor Brian Cashman mentioned throughout spring coaching, the Yankees usually are not over the Astros’ dishonest in 2017, which the GM called “horrific.”

If the 2 division leaders proceed something near their present tempo, an October rematch of 2017 and ’19 could possibly be at hand.

“It’s like with Toronto and Tampa Bay, when Houston is available in, you need to play properly to beat them,’’ Boone mentioned. “They’re taking part in properly in each aspect of the sport.”

Others undoubtedly will contemplate it a take a look at what October may need in retailer, as they meet for the primary time this season, because the Yankees’ first sequence in Houston was delayed when Opening Day was pushed again as a result of MLB lockout.

Even with out Carlos Correa, the Astros have remained among the many finest groups within the recreation and haven’t skipped a beat regardless of dropping the star free agent shortstop to the Twins within the offseason.

A part of that sustained success is the efficiency of Jeremy Pena, the staff’s new shortstop who has been out with a left thumb harm.

They usually’ll see Justin Verlander on Friday, because the right-hander has seemed like the identical Cy Younger award candidate he was earlier than his Tommy John surgical procedure.

“Getting Verlander again within the combine fortifies a extremely good rotation,’’ Boone mentioned. “He’s spectacular, coming off his newest harm and leaping again in and basically being the Justin Verlander he’s been his whole profession.”

They usually’re getting MVP-like numbers from Yordan Alvarez (21 homers and a 1.064 OPS) and excellent pitching from Verlander and Thursday’s starter, Framber Valdez.

Whereas the Yankees have up to now stored properly forward of Toronto, Tampa Bay and the Purple Sox — who’re taking part in higher — the Astros are in an AL West that options the reeling Angels and Rangers.