If the Astros are going to knock off the Rangers this afternoon, they're going to have to do it without their ace.
Framber Valdez will miss today's start after suffering a sprained ankle.
Valdez shared that he hurt his ankle going down the dugout stairs in his start against the Mets. It didn't seem to impact him too much in that start. Valdez went eight innings, allowing only four hits and two runs, striking out nine. He did allow three of his four hits and both runs in the eighth, so if the injury occurred between the seventh and eighth innings, that could explain the loud contact Valdez surrendered in his final inning.
Valdez was back on the bump Tuesday against St. Louis. Against one of the worst teams he's faced this season, Valdez labored. He made it through six innings, but he did so surrendering eight hits and three walks, striking out six. He allowed four runs.
Though this four-game series against the Rangers is of the utmost importance, almost one-half of the season remains. If the Astros knocked off Texas today, but Valdez was injured further on the bump and had to miss more time, that one game would likely be detrimental down the stretch.
The front-runner for the AL Cy Young, potential AL All-Star game starter, and the Astros leader in bWAR has to be healthy down the stretch if the Astros are to accomplish their goals in October.
Instead, Shawn Dubin will make his first big league start. The Astros bats will need to pick up the young pitcher.
It remains to be seen if Cristian Javier will make his next start amidst concerns about his fastball and his AAV.
The Astros hope that their ace can make one final start before the All-Star break. Valdez said that he likely could start on Thursday or Friday against the Mariners.