Astros, Yankees plan ahead for likelihood of rainout

NEW YORK — As their teams prepared for Friday’s game, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch spent their time with the media discussing a game that might not get played.

While the forecast was fine for Friday night, the outlook does not appear good for Saturday afternoon when the Astros and Yankees are scheduled to continue a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.

The outlook appears so bleak that it’s about as close to actually canceling a game 24 hours in advance without doing so.

“The thought process is that we’re going to have a lot of rain and it doesn’t look good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

According to various forecasts, there is a high chance of heavy rain on Saturday, starting early in the morning and lasting through the afternoon. Unlike last season when the team had a rainout, there is not the buffer of a day off for a makeup game.

“They have not made a determination if we do get rained out,” Girardi said. “There’s been nothing etched in stone.”

If the game gets postponed, the possibility of a day-night doubleheader exists Sunday. The teams are already slated for a nationally televised Sunday night game that starts after the Yankees retire the number of former captain Derek Jeter.

“Not officially,” Hinch said Friday afternoon when asked what he heard about Saturday. “There’s been some contingency plans put in place and some what ifs. Complicating matters is the Jeter ceremony and Sunday Night Baseball with ESPN.

“So I know there’s a lot of people working on it. I’ve never talked this much internally about a rainout almost 24 hours in advance but I know the forecast doesn’t look good. I know they’re making contingency plans but they haven’t given me word.”

If the game is played, the Astros will be looking to get their sixth straight win while the Yankees will be looking to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss.

Houston has held the Yankees to two runs in the series and recorded 27 strikeouts. The Astros are 10-2 and, at 25-11 are off their best 36-game start in team history.

The Astros clinched at least a split of the series with Friday’s 5-1 win as Lance McCullers Jr. allowed four hits in six scoreless innings while Brian McCann slugged a three-run home run.

The Yankees followed up their 18-inning thriller in Chicago on Sunday night by scoring 10 runs Monday in Cincinnati. Since then, they are batting .204 (20-for-98) with 34 strikeouts.

“You’re going to go through that,” Girardi said. “You’re not going to hit home runs every game.”

If the game gets played Saturday, Mike Fiers (1-1, 4.88 ERA) will get the start for the Astros and is coming off his first win of the season. In Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, he allowed three runs and four hits in five innings of a 5-3 victory.

Fiers will be facing the Yankees for the second time. In Houston’s 8-5 loss in New York on April 7, 2016, he allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings while taking a no-decision.

Luis Severino (2-3, 3.40) takes the mound for the Yankees and he hopes he does not pitch in another marathon. Severino was on the mound for Sunday’s 18-inning win at Wrigley Field over the Chicago Cubs.

He was in line for a 4-1 win after allowing one run and four hits while striking out nine in seven innings. He held right-handed hitters to a 1-for-10 showing and struck out at least nine for the third time this season.

Saturday will be Severino’s first start against the Astros. He pitched two scoreless innings in Houston last July in relief of Masahiro Tanaka and struck out three.