HOUSTON ASTROS (22-42) VS SEATTLE MARINERS (27-37)
SAFECO FIELD IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Since their six game winning streak, the Houston Astros have won just one of their last six and are losers of their last four. Now the Astros head to Seattle where they face the fourth place Mariners. Houston is 4-2 versus the Mariners this season, outscoring them 38-27 in the six games.
The Seattle Mariners’ disappointing season continues as they have lost six of their last ten games. They are fresh off of a series loss to the Yankees — dropping three of four. Other than their top two starting pitchers, the team has been a disaster. Starters not named Hernandez or Iwakuma are 9-21 with a 6.09 ERA. They also rank near the bottom in many offensive categories (currently 25th in batting average and 24th in OPS).
Dallas Keuchel has won three of his last four starts, and was especially strong in his last two outings. In his last two starts, Keuchel has gone 13 innings and allowed just three earned runs against the Orioles and the Angels. The soft throwing southpaw has shown improved command. We will see if his latest success has been a fluke or if we should credit Doug Brocail with turning him into an effective MLB starter.
Hisashi Iwakuma comes into the this game with a 21.2 innings scoreless streak. He currently ranks second in the AL in ERA, but has had some fortune on his side as evidenced by the -1.29 difference in his ERA and FIP. Iwakuma has had some issues with the long ball this season. He has allowed ten home runs, which is tied for the fifth most in baseball.
Bud Norris is having the best season of his career. In his last start, Norris threw seven innings and allowed three runs to the Athletics while striking out seven. Over his last four starts he is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA in 26 innings pitched. Norris hopes to reverse his road woes and lower his 5.84 ERA away from Houston.
Aaron Harang (AKA Lurch) has failed to go five innings in four of his nine starts this season. In his last outing, Harang was drummed by the Yankees, allowing six runs in 2.1 innings. Right-handed hitters are batting .316 with an .879 OPS against him. In 24 at-bats against Harang, Ronny Cedeno is batting .292 with two home runs.
Time for the weekly “If you take away the Rangers start” update. Jordan Lyles would now be 3-0 with a 2.44 ERA in seven starts. He continues to impress me and convince me that he is finally MLB ready. At only 22-years old, Lyles looks like he will be part of the Astros’ rotation the next time they are competing for a playoff spot (if things go as planned).
After getting hammered by the Twins in his first start with Seattle, Jeremy Bonderman was solid against the Yankees his last time out. He went six innings and allowed just one run on three hits. Bonderman hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2010, but his velocity is actually up a tick from that season. Ronny Cedeno and Trevor Crowe are the only two Astros’ hitters with any history versus Bonderman.