Nothing like an Astros home game on Sunday to close out the weekend!
Iwakuma turned in his best performance of 2016 in his last game. Going seven innings against Oakland, Iwakuma gave up one run and earned his first victory of the year. His last appearance against the Astros, resulted in the only defeat for the M’s in that series. Iwakuma gave up seven hits and five earned runs in five innings against the Astros. He just simply hasn’t been as sharp as he was the previous four seasons with Seattle, giving up more walks and hits per start, and less strikeouts. He is a veteran, and his last start could be a sign of things to come. Over his career against the Astros, Iwakuma owns a 4-5 record with a 4.18 ERA.
McHugh so far this year has benefited from ample run support like he did in 2015. Last year the Astros provided six or more runs offensively in 14 of McHugh’s 32 starts, and this year that his been the case for three of five outings. As long as McHugh can get the run support, he will take it, but if he wants to showcase himself as a true #2 starter, he will need to limit the runs allowed to win the lower scoring ball games. In his most recent start against Minnesota, he gave up seven hits in 5.2 innings pitched, while striking out six and walking two.
Two of those hits were home runs, and luckily for McHugh, both were solo shots. Byung-ho Park‘s deep shot to right field in the fifth inning could have easily been a 2-run homer, if not for a nice defensive play at second base to get Miguel Sano out before Park’s blast. McHugh historically has pitched extremely well in wins but horribly in losses. While this may seem like an insignificant statement, the disparity of his ERA in victories and defeats varies greatly, as McHugh is carrying a 2.37 ERA in wins and a 7.52 ERA in losses.
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He also has a 6.56 career ERA in the first inning, so fans watching should get an early idea of which McHugh is showing up that night. Over his career, he is 6-3 with a 5.30 ERA against the M’s, and his recent start in Seattle saw him notch his second win of the year, giving up two runs in five innings.
**Statistics provided by MLB.com & Baseball-Reference**