Game 3 – Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 3.38) vs. Mike Fiers (0-1, 6.55)
In two games Sanchez has pitched well and taken advantage of great run support to start the season 2-0. Victories in two interleague games against Miami and Pittsburgh have seen Sanchez exit both games before the sixth inning, and giving up two earned runs in both games. So far this season Sanchez’s fastball velocity average has not gotten above 90 mph yet, so it appears he may not be fully up to par, but the key to him being successful is keeping the ball in the ballpark.
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Last year Sanchez gave up a ridiculous 29 home runs, good enough to lead the American League. In two starts this season he has given up one long ball. Minute Maid Park could definitely pose a challenge to Sanchez in that aspect, however in four career starts in Houston, he has yet to give up a home run.
Fiers has had a rough start to the year. He got rocked in New York, and then did not pitch well enough against Kansas City in a low scoring game. He has simply given up too many hits. In 11 innings he has allowed 15 hits, including three doubles and three home runs, and the majority of those hits are well hit. It may be in Fiers’ best interest to change things up a bit, and pair him with Jason Castro behind the plate in this game, as Erik Kratz has caught both of his starts this year. In two career starts, Fiers has done well against Detroit, giving up only two earned runs in 11 innings pitched.
Game Prediction: Tigers 5 – Astros 3
2016 Prediction Record (4-6)
I cannot see the Astros winning their first series until they can put some complete games together. Until that happens, either Houston won’t get the hits they need, starting pitching will get behind too early, or the bullpen will blow a lead. The Astros had better turn it on quick as they have already taken a seat in last place after ten games.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**