Yankees vs. Astros Thursday MLB injury report, odds: Yordan Alvarez, Jeremy Peña out as Houston rare home underdog

Houston will be without two key players for tonight's home game vs. the Yankees.
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Because the 2022 MLB season was delayed by a week due to the lockout, we are going to see some unusual scheduling to cram in all 162 regular-season games. Which brings us to tonight: The Yankees visit the Astros in a one-game series. Houston will be quite short-handed as AL MVP candidate Yordan Alvarez and AL Rookie of the Year candidate Jeremy Peña are out after they left Wednesday's game following a collision in the outfield. The Astros are rare home dogs at +105 with Caesars Sportsbook. (See tickets at StubHub

The Yankees and Astros split four games last weekend at Yankee Stadium; Houston easily could have swept the four, but New York rallied against the Houston bullpen in Games 1 and 4 with Aaron Judge having the walk-off hit in both. New York will visit Houston for its "official" series on July 21 – a doubleheader right out of the All-Star break, and then the teams are done until quite possibly meeting in the postseason for the fourth time since 2015.

In the eighth inning of Wednesday's win at the Mets, Alvarez was carted off the field after he collided with Peña on a Dominic Smith fly ball to shallow left field (that's the outfielder's ball). Peña, who caught the fly ball, struck Alvarez in the face with his left arm. Both players fell to the ground and Alvarez stayed there for a while. Both were being evaluated for concussions. 

Alvarez (+1000 to win AL MVP at Caesars) is a Triple Crown candidate as he ranks third in the AL in batting (.316), second in home runs (23) and third in RBI (56). He leads the majors with an OPS of 1.070. He was 3-for-12 last weekend vs. the Yankees with a homer and three RBIs.

Peña is a +400 second favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year behind Seattle outfielder Julio Rodriguez (-160), and that he was able to walk off under his own power Wednesday is obviously a good sign that he perhaps may miss just one game. He's batting .275 with nine homers and 27 RBIs. Peña was limited to one game vs. the Yankees last weekend as he was on the injured list for the first three.

With those two out (former All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley is on the injured list) and New York's excellent Luis Severino (4-2, 3.38 ERA) on the mound, the Astros are home dogs for only the third time this season and first since late April. Houston is 2-8 in its past 10 overall as a home dog. It was a home underdog only twice in 2021.  

This is the second official one-game series of the season so far. On April 25, Milwaukee lost at home to San Francisco 4-2. Since 2015, away favorites are 12-9 straight up in one-game series – but that includes series that were scheduled to be longer but had games postponed. For example, the Cubs were to play two in Baltimore from June 7-8, but the second game was postponed. 

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