Houston at Minnesota , 7:10 pm (CT)
RHP Jarred Cosart (1 - 0 / 0.86 ERA / 1.14 WHIP) vs. RHP Samuel Deduno ( 7 - 4 / 3.18 ERA / 1.27 WHIP)
Houston and Minnesota are two once prominent franchises in the '00s that have taken a step back in recent years. At least for the Twins, they can count how many years since they made the playoffs on one hand. The 2012 draft will link the Astros and Twins until Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton's careers are completed. Minnesota still has a few faces of the franchise left in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (stats aside - they remind of the modern day Biggio and Bagwell). At this point, Mauer must rank up there with Paul Bunyan in Minnesota lore. The St. Paul native was draft first overall in 2001 MLB draft, won the 2009 MVP, and his wife gave birth to twins this season. Mauer returned to the Twins after six games away to be with his family after the birth.
For the third straight year, the Twins have no chance at the American League Central crown but at least they are five games against out of the basement. The Minnesota offense is almost mirror image of the Houston offense expect for the strike outs and stolen bases. To be fair, no one will touch the Kstros when it comes to strikeouts. The Twins pitching staff ranks dead last in the American League when it comes to strikeouts by a staff (621 almost a hundred less then team ahead of them), and also have the highest batting average against in the AL (.279).
Mauer has been hot in the seven games he has played in since the All-Star break, batting .423 with four runs batted in. Ryan Doumit has collected five doubles and nine walks in 13 starts since the break. Third baseman, Trevor Plouffe is batting .119 (5-42) over his last 42 at-bats. The rest of the Outside of Doumit and Mauer,Twins offense is batting under .250 over that same stretch. But, nothing curse offensive ailments like Astros' pitching.
On the mound tonight for the home team is Samuel Deduno. Deduno has finally broken through on his third team in his young career. Since joining the rotation in May, Deduno has had eight quality start in 12 chances. He has given up only three earned runs over his last 21 innings. Deduno has great movement on his fastball, but he has no idea where it's going at times. Thus, just as many walks as does strikeouts (1.5 K/BB).
The same could be said of tonight's Astros starter Jarred Cosart. Cosart has dazzled in his first three starts, giving up only two earned runs over his first 21 innings in the majors. His only detraction is his strikeout-to-walk rate, which currently stands at .64. This is Cosart's third road start, he currently has a 0.64 ERA on the road.
Jose Altuve is once again of the lineup for rest. Robbie Grossman is back in the lineup, batting .583 with three extra base hits since being called up this week. Matt Dominguez and Brett Wallace both have three home runs since the All-Star break. Jason Castro, Dominguez, and Wallace have a total of 24 runs batted in since the break.