Are the Yankees better than the Astros?

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Dontrelle Willis and Frank Thomas join Kevin Burkhardt to discuss whether the Yankees have surpassed the Astros as the best team in baseball.

- The Yankees. They sweep the Mariners. Big statement series, I think. I mean, they really kind of owned them in this series, and now they have 50 wins. The Red Sox have 50 wins. The Astros have 50 wins. Big Hurt, I'm asking you-- are the Yankees the best team in Major League Baseball?

- That's a tough one. The Houston Astros are the defending world champions. They're playing like it. But when you look at this Yankees team, who'll want to face this in October, with these guys, one through nine, swinging the bat like this. And now, they're getting their pitching and their bullpens together. They're going to be hard to beat, come October. I know the Houston Astros still, in my mind, could be, by splitting hairs, the best team in baseball. But I'm telling you right now, no one's going to want to face this team in October.

- With Andujar and Torres playing out of their minds, this arguably could be one of the best Yankee lineups of all time, and that's saying a lot, especially with their deep, rich, history.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: It really is.

- And now their bullpen, especially Betances, has calmed back down and really focused themselves. The only edge I see the Astros have, really, is the starting pitching. But if they give up a lead, and then the Yankees be able to relish that lead and get it to the bullpen, I see them being able to beat it. But this lineup is a daunting lineup, and I don't see a lot of starting pitchers being able to go through it three times and keep them at bay.

- What's going to be key about this playoff race is who gets home field advantage.

- Right.

- I think that's going to be the biggest key with these two teams-- who can get game seven at their home park? You saw Houston win last year-- a game seven. This year, the Yankees need game seven.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: Yeah, their offense in that park-- unbelievable, right? I agree with you there. Let's discus this bullpen. We thought-- go back to March. We thought the Yankee bullpen was going to be the best in baseball, and then, first six weeks, it just wasn't. They were off. Guys were not right. Betances-- well now, all of a sudden, literally everybody in that pen is delivering. They've been simply phenomenal.

- And it helps, managing-wise, shortening the ball game. Now, your starters do not have to be great. They just have to be solid and keep that lead, and if they'd be able to get it to the sixth and seventh, you see they have Robertson, Betances is out of bullpen jail now, and then you have Chapman right there. It doesn't matter who's up in the lineup. All three of those guys-- they've had saves and above. They've been in high pressure situations, and more often times than not, they get the job done. So I like this bullpen, the way it's shaping out.

- Well, just to have three closers. Any bullpen that has three closers-- got a chance. It takes a lot of pressure off the starting staff, and this starting staff might get better because I know the Yankees are going to do everything possible to strengthen their starting staff because they're thinking about October and the Houston Astros. They know they've got to be able to pitch with these guys.

KEVIN BURKHARDT: Yeah, you're right. Jonathan Holder's been kind of the surprise of that pen. Second year guy, he's really found his own. And then you have Betances and Chapman-- two and three, strikeouts per nine in relievers. Only Josh Hader of the Brewers is better.