Winners of five of the last six, the Astros look to continue their recent winning trend on Memorial Day.
The Astros needed 13 innings to win their second series in a row. Carlos Correa was given the day off, but was called upon to pinch hit for Tony Kemp in the 13th inning. Correa delivered a three-run blast over the left field fence to put the Astros up 8-5. Michael Feliz recorded his thrid win of the season, and Luke Gregerson earned his 12th save of the year.
The Astros now travel to Arizona for 2 games, and then host the Diamondbacks in Houston for two games. Arizona is 23-29 on the year, and are fifth in the majors in team batting average (.269) and runs scored (239). Their pitching has left much to be desired as they rank 26th in the majors in team ERA (4.76) and have given up 500 hits so far this year, which is the most hits allowed by any team this season.
GAME 1: Collin McHugh (4-4, 5.13) vs Edwin Escobar (0-0, -.–)
Collin McHugh will attempt to get his ERA south of 5.00 this outing. He has been pitching better than his numbers suggest. In his last outing he fanned 10 batters in just 5.1 innings of work against Baltimore. McHugh is still giving up too many hits, as his H/9 is up to 12.1, which is almost double his numbers from 2014.
Limiting hits against Arizona won’t be easy, but McHugh did have success versus the Diamondbacks last season. In two starts he went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Current Arizona hitters are batting .286 against McHugh, but he has pitched well against the vaunted Paul Goldschmidt, allowing only one hit in eight at bats to the slugger.
Arizona claimed Escobar off waivers from Boston of April 29th. The left-hander has only two innings of major league experience, and that was in 2014 with Boston in two relief appearances. He has a low-90’s fastball, a curve, and a change-up that are both listed as “average”.
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So far this season in Triple-A Reno he is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA in five starts. Look for the Astros to load the lineup with right handed batters, and give McHugh some early run support.
**Statistics provided by Baseball-Reference**