The Yankees grabbed a much needed series win when they took two of three from the Mariners in Seattle this week. They got dominant pitching from Jameson Taillon who’s given up two runs or less in three of his last four starts. The bullpen stepped up big time in the Wednesday victory led by Luis Cessa who went 3.1 IP and allowed just one hit.

This weekend, the scene shifts to Houston where the Yankees visit for the first time since Jose Altuve walked them off in game six of the American League Championship Series in 2019. A lot has transpired since that time, in particular with the Astros. They were caught stealing signs using a trash can in 2017 and 2018 while the suspicion still remains high that something also went down in 2019. There is a lot of animosity between these two teams and fan bases.

These two teams met in May which was met with the hype and intensity of a playoff game although there were just 10,000 people in attendance. The most energetic game was the first one of that series where the Yankees won 7-3 behind a red hot Giancarlo Stanton. Altuve and Carlos Correa, the two players who just bowed out of the All-Star game, took the brunt of the heckling in the Bronx that week.

The Yankees took two of three in that series and that started a good month of May for them. Since the beginning of June, things have not been good. The Yankees are 14-16 since June 1. Going into the All-Star break against a team you can argue you hate more than the Red Sox and Rays. All three games will be on national television including Saturday where Gerritt Cole will face off against Zack Greinke in Cole’s first time returning to Houston since the 2019 World Series.

This is almost like a playoff series for the Yankees. I know it’s used way too often but this one feels different. If the Yankees go into the All-Star break losing three of their last four or worse, four in a row, then they have to sit on it going into their toughest stretch of the season. 11 of their first 13 games out of the All-Star break are against the Rays and Red Sox with just four of the 11 at home. They could be sellers already but we will have the final answer by July 29 as to if the Yankees will buy or sell.

First things first, they need to win this weekend’s series. The Mariners series was a starting point, now it needs to continue this weekend going into the All-Star break. 

PHOTO: Getty Images

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