Yankees open series against Astros

The Yankees go for their fourth straight win as they take on the Astros.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

If the New York Yankees were experiencing any lingering feelings toward the Houston Astros, they were keeping their comments somewhat close to the vest.

Yankees fans, however, are unlikely to hide their feelings.

For the first time since their cheating scandal was fully revealed, the Astros visit the Yankees for the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

It is the first meeting since Jose Altuve sent the Astros to the 2019 World Series with a two-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. A few weeks later, details of their 2017 sign-stealing scheme became public.

In the 2017 ALCS, the Yankees were on the other side of Houston's sign-stealing shenanigans, and the Astros went on to win their first World Series by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Last season, the teams were set to meet in New York in September, but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped away the original schedule and the clubs never met. This time about 20 percent of regular capacity will be there to offer their views on the Astros while watching the Yankees try to get over .500 for the first time since winning three of their first five games this season.

"I don't think there's any question about how the fans are going to react to them coming into the Stadium," New York catcher Kyle Higashioka said. "As to whether they deserve it, I mean, I think the fans will let them know."

New York is 14-14 and on an 8-3 run since April 21. The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with Sunday's 2-0 victory in which Corey Kluber fanned 10 in eight dominant innings.

"There's nothing better, nothing sweeter than putting up some runs against them and getting some wins," New York's Aaron Judge said. "That's the most important thing."

The Astros have experienced their share of negative reactions so far. During a series in Anaheim last month, a few blowup trash cans wound up in the outfield.

"You can't expect to get a very warm welcome," Houston manager Dusty Baker said. "It will probably be a rather cold welcome, actually. You can't do anything about that."

Most of the jeers could be generated toward Jose Altuve, who edged Judge for the 2017 AL MVP, and had previously weathered rumors about cheating when he homered off Chapman to win the 2019 ALCS.

Altuve struggled with a .219 average last season and is hitting just .260 this season, with one hit in his last 20 at-bats.

"I think we're just trying to play our game and trying to win," Altuve said. "Sometimes, yes, you hear what the people in the stands say. But once in a while, that kind of encourages me to keep winning games."

Houston is 8-3 in its past 11 games after taking two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros were unable to get the sweep when they took a 5-4 loss on Sunday.

New York's starters own 2.38 ERA in their past 14 games, and Domingo German (2-2, 4.05 ERA) enters Tuesday with a 12-inning scoreless streak. The right-hander last pitched Wednesday in Baltimore when he allowed three hits in seven innings of a 7-0 win.

German is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three appearances (one start) against Houston.

Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.44 ERA) starts for Houston and is coming off his shortest outing of the season. On Wednesday, he took a no-decision against the Seattle Mariners when he allowed four runs on four hits in four innings.

Greinke is facing the Yankees for the first time since pitching 4 1/3 innings in Game 4 of the ALCS on Oct. 17, 2019. The veteran right-hander is 4-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 15 career appearances (12 starts) against New York.