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Astros Series Preview: The Giants are in town

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 12: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros looks to complete the double-play over Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the six inning at AT&T Park on August 12, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 12: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros looks to complete the double-play over Matt Duffy #5 of the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the six inning at AT&T Park on August 12, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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A short mid-week series starts today for the Astros and the Giants.

Following an off day on Monday, the Astros hit the field again back home at Minute Maid Park. But this series will be a rather short one as the Giants come into town for two games.

Two-game series are weird.

Anyway, the Astros will be looking to improve their standing in the American League before another meeting with the Indians later this week. The Giants, though, aren’t the quite as dreadful as they were last season. For one, a 24-24 record isn’t great yet not terrible. Injuries have been a constant issue with the Giants this season. And injuries are the reason why Houston fans won’t be able to see former Astros like Hunter Pence and Mark Melancon make their return to Minute Maid Park. The Giants are also without the services of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Joe Panik along with others. Yes, injuries have been a constant thorn in San Francisco’s side all season.

Time to view the pitching match-ups.

Game 1: RHP Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.75 ERA) vs. LHP Andrew Suarez (1-3, 4.88 ERA)

Game 2: RHP Justin Verlander (5-2, 1.05 ERA) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 6.30 ERA)

For the first game, we get to see Cole take on Suarez, who is left-hander for the Giants. This game will be the first time that the Astros will see Suarez in action. This will be the Suarez’s sixth career start in his major league career.

The second game will feature a pair of baseball veterans in Verlander and Samardzija. Verlander has arguably been the best starter in baseball up to this point in the season. Alas, Samardzija has continued to struggle following his rough 2017 season in which he allowed 30 home runs and a 4.42 ERA. Regardless of the struggles, Samardzija can still strike out hitters in bunches.

The Astros enter this series with the third-best record in the American League, trailing the Yankees and Red Sox. The team has won seven of their past ten games and have looked more like a defending champion that people expected. Of course, the offense is still sputtering at various times, but I won’t delve too much into that detail today.

This series provides an opportunity for the Astros to create more separation between them and the rest of their AL West division mates. But like I stated earlier, the Giants aren’t a terrible team. If it wasn’t for the injuries to multiple key contributors, they could be leading the NL West. Seriously, they could be. The Rockies currently have the division lead with a 26-22 record. Since the Dodgers are struggling, the NL West is wide open for the first time in a while. Of course, the Dodgers could pull off another run of excellent baseball like last summer.

Next: Astros: Inevitably has caught up to Jon Singleton

In short, this quick series with the Giants will be an interesting test. While another showdown looms with the Indians, it is imperative that the Astros doesn’t overlook San Francisco. Again, two-game series are weird.

**Statistics and information courtesy of MLB.com**

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