Seattle at Houston, 7:10 pm (CT)
RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-1 / 5.44 ERA / 1.35 WHIP) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (6-6 / 5.15 ERA / 1.50 WHIP)
The road was tough at end in Chicago, but the Astros are heading home to the Juice Box. This time around, the 'Stros welcome the Mariners to town. At one point the M's occupied the third spot in the American League West, enjoying the worse team and the most underperforming team in baseball beneath them. The Mariners now sit one game behind the Angels in the standings, while the Astros were the first time eliminated from the playoffs this season with 30 games left to play.
Sound the trumpets Astros fans, Houston will miss Felix Hernandez this go-around. Today, for the M's, Erasmo Ramirez makes the ball in game one. The right-hander had been on the shelf for three months with elbow soreness. Erasmo's main two weapons are a low-90's fastball and a change up. This will be his fourth start since returning from the disabled list, after facing the Rays, Rangers, and Angels. In those three starts, he pitched 19 innings with a 4.26 ERA.
In his eight appearance thus far, Ramirez has been hit hard by left-handed batters - 28 hits in 100 at-bats with twice as many walks (9) and extra-base hits (9) when compared to right-hander batters. This could be helpful for the Astros' buzz-saw, Jason Castro. Castro is batting .400 (12-30) with 12 runs scored, four home runs, seven runs batted in, and 10 walks over his last ten games. The switch-hitting, Robbie Grossman has been hitting .256 (43-168) with 12 extra-base hits from the left-side of the plate. Brett Wallace has a hit in seven of his last 10 appearances - batting .286 over his last 35 at-bats with five runs batted in.
Jordan Lyles' season thus far has been an adventure to say the least. The wonder-kid failed to make the big league roster at the start of the season. He gives up two runs or less in seven straight starts during one stretch of the season. Now, this month he has made two relief appearances and picked up a save. In his four starts this month, Lyles has a 2-2 record and a 5.84 ERA.
We have seen the best and worse of Jordan Lyles in his two starts against the Mariners this season. On June 12 in Seattle, the right-hander held the M's scoreless over seven innings and struck out 10. On July 21, in Houston, Seattle put up nine earned runs on Lyles over four innings.
Mariners second baseman Nick Franklin, has feasted on the Astros right-hander- 3-6, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI this season. Michael Morse also checks in with a home run in his career against Lyles, but Mr. Morse may soon be heading out of town on a waiver claim. Kendrys Morales,who just had his waiver claim pulled back by the M's, is 2-for-3 with an RBI off Lyles. Michael Saunders is 0-for-2 in his career but has three walks against tonight's Astros starter.