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Yankees on path to be like Astros, but far from matching them right now

HOUSTON -- When the Baby Bombers are all grown up, they might be the 2017 Houston Astros. That is their potential -- whether it happens this year, next year or 2019, these young Yankees have already shown that their time is coming, maybe still sooner than later.

The Yankees have five guys going to the All-Star Game, including the favorite for the American League MVP. A sixth could be headed as the fans' internet-voting choice.

Not one of the team's All-Stars -- among Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino and Starlin Castro -- has turned 30 yet. Twenty-nine-year-old Betances and 27-year-old Didi Gregorius -- who was not on the announced AL team but is in the internet-voting round -- are the oldest among the core. Even if the fast-forward button has been paused on the Yankees’ reload, they are still building something that might be special. There still are more prospects on the way.

One day, the Yankees might be like the incredible Astros, who improved to 56-27 after their 8-1 beatdown of the Yankees on Sunday. After losing on Friday and trailing by three runs in the eighth on Saturday, the Astros went on a 12-1 run against the Yankees through Sunday to take 2 of 3 in the series. The Yankees are reeling as they head back to the Bronx for the final six games before the break.

The Yankees are a little limp, injured and unable to stop the ugly pace of losing they are enduring. They have lost 14 of their past 19 games. They have not won consecutive games since June 11-12. They were four games up in the division on June 12, but now, just three weeks later, are three games behind the Red Sox.

The bullpen has imploded, though on Sunday it was on Severino, who didn’t look like an All-Star in giving up six runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The Yankees' record (43-37) is suddenly more commensurate with what optimistic prognosticators thought it would be. One game from being halfway through 162, they are on pace for 86 to 88 wins. That would be good enough to contend for a wild card, but at that pace, they would likely never catch Boston.

There is a lot of season to play, so it would be ridiculous to write off this team now. No one should do that by a long shot. Manager Joe Girardi certainly thinks the Yankees can be like Houston.

“I believe that we have a lot of young talented players, and we have some veteran players that are mixed in,” Girardi said. “They have the ability to also do a lot of damage and lead. I’m excited about this club. I’ve been excited since what I saw in spring training, and I’m still excited. We are going through some difficult times right now. We went through a lot of injuries the past three weeks, but that is no excuse. We are going through a lot. You find out how your club handles it, and we keep fighting back.”

The Yankees are expected to get four-time All-Star Castro back by the end of the week. On Tuesday, starter CC Sabathia and reliever Adam Warren should return. After the break, Aaron Hicks, Matt Holliday and possibly Greg Bird will be back.

Help is on way, while the ebb of a baseball season figures to flow in their direction soon. For now, though, they are losing a lot more than they are winning, but that is the case for everyone when they come to Minute Maid Park.