The Houston Astros will remain at home still in search of their first series victory of 2016. The competition does not get any easier as the 6-2 Detroit Tigers come into Town.
Houston has lost three games in a row and is now 3-7 on the year. The Astros simply cannot put a full game together, either struggling to get runs or struggling to get pitching. Offensively, production is solely coming from Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Tyler White and Colby Rasmus. Carlos Gomez and George Springer have looked absolutely terrible at the plate, and Gomez has also made base running errors. As far as pitching, Keuchel and Feldman been mediocre, McHugh had a nice bounce-back game after getting shelled, and both Mike Fiers and Doug Fister have had one decent and bad outing. Starting pitching has been nothing spectacular, to say the least.
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The bullpen has been inconsistent except for Luke Gregerson, Will Harris, and newcomer Chris Devenski. Ken Giles has gotten off to a terrible start. He has given up three home runs in 3.2 innings of work, whereas last season he gave up two long balls in 70 innings. Josh Fields and Tony Sipp have also been very shaky to start the year.
Detroit’s hot start has been fueled by outstanding hitting from both J.D. Martinez (ex-Astro) and Ian Kinsler. Miguel Cabrera is only hitting .241 to start the year, so he is still waiting in the wings to cause some damage as well. Jordan Zimmerman has been the ace of the staff thus far going 2-0 in 13 scoreless innings. Anibal Sanchez and Shane Greene have also had nice starts. The bullpen has been average but has not lost any games for the Tigers.
The Tigers lead the AL with an incredible .295 team batting average, and 49 runs scored, in only eight games; Houston is sixth and fifth in those categories respectively. The Astros do lead the AL with 15 home runs, but also 102 strikeouts, which is similar to last season’s story. Astro pitching is sported the league’s worst team ERA at 5.44 and has given up the most home runs at 16. The solution is simple, and Houston will need to start getting more timely hits, and get better pitching to have a chance at cooling of the Tigers in Minute Maid.
Next: Game 1