Astros Live Game Feed: Game 48 Preview – Orioles

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Jun 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) reacts after getting the final out during the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Orioles 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) reacts after getting the final out during the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Orioles 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Will the Houston Astros Finally Be Able to Get Their First Sweep of 2016 Tonight?

Back to back games of one-run victories have put the Houston Astros in place to take their first series sweep of the season.  It is a much-needed boost after just getting swept at home by the Rangers, and hopefully, will be a spark heading into June.

Collin McHugh delivered a gutsy performance before exiting in the sixth inning.  The Astros bullpen clocked into work again last night and delivered another outstanding performance.  Pat Neshek came in the sixth inning and earned his second win of the season.

Ken Giles struck out three batters in the seventh, Will Harris continued his dominance and lowered his ERA to 0.42 with a scoreless eighth, and Luke Gregerson picked up his 10th save while striking out two.

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Offensively, Evan Gattis had a two-run shot to left in the fourth inning, and Luis Valbuena again found his power stroke and hit, what would end up being, the game-winning home run in the sixth.

GAME 3: Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.70) vs. Lance McCullers (0-1, 5.91)

McCullers will look to deliver a series-sweeping performance to notch his first victory of 2016.  His last outing against Texas was a good one.  He was a victim of poor run support, and only allowed two runs in six innings while striking out seven Rangers batters.

Last season, McCullers pitched his first career complete game shutout against Baltimore, including 11 strikeouts.  It was a dominant performance by the rookie, and he will look to replicate that again at Minute Maid Park.

The only hitter to have success against McCullers was Adam Jones, who went 2/4 that game with a triple, however, he was also struck out twice.  Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty were also double strikeout victims.  The Astros have yet to record a series sweep this season, and the Orioles have yet to be swept.

The 25-year-old Gausman was the fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft out of LSU. After two seasons of around 110 innings, Gausman looks to be ready for a full year in the majors.  So far this season, after spending about a month on the DL, he has looked very sharp.

He sports a mid-90’s fastball and then relies heavily on a splitter that is his strikeout pitch, averaging 84 mph.  Gausman’s splitter is most effective against left-handed batters which drops away from them. If Gausman can develop a true third pitch, he could become the ace of this staff.

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Gausman, a right-hander, is actually tougher against left-handed batters.  So far this season, RHB have an average of .302, and LHB are hitting .132 against him.  So far, Gausman has pitched better at home in his young career, with a 3.19 ERA in Camden Yards versus 4.88 on the road. Valbuena and Colby Rasmus are the only Astros that have faced Gausman, with Valbuena homering off him.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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