Series Preview: Astros vs. Nationals, April 29-30, 2014

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Nats come to Houston for a quick two-game series with the Astros.

Houston Astros (9-17) vs. Washington Nationals (14-12)

Keep the ball rolling...

The Astros actually won more game then they lost last week, taking a three-game series with the Mariners and splitting a four-game series with the Athletics. This will be the first time that Bo Porter will face the Nationals, since leaving the coaching staff to the join the Astros.

The Astros offense has come to life some what this past week. Chris Carter leads the team in OPS (1.217) over the past week, he blasted three home runs and collected six RBIs. Four of the last seven hits by Jonathan Villar have gone for two bases. Dexter Fowler comes into the game with a eight-game hitting streak.

George Springer has yet to take off this season, with 2 hits in his last 21 at-bats.

The paradox of hustle...

Matt Williams was brought in to bring discipline to a young, inexperienced - much like Bo Porter. Like Porter, WIlliams has had his bumps in the road thus far. He pulled Bryce Harper from a game for not running a comebacker to the pitcher. Harper had been nursing a quad injury. Once back in the lineup, Harper ran the bases like he always does with his hair on fire. It may have cost Washington, earlier this week it was announced that Harper would need surgery on his thumb after sliding into third head first. Harper will likely be back in July.

Former Rice standout, Anthony Rendon will make his first start in Houston as a Nat. He is batting .298 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.

Adam LaRoche has been making noise at the plate, batting .350 (7-20) with four RBIs this past week. Jose Lobaton has two double and home run in his last 18 at-bats. Jason Werth is 10-for-27 in his last seven games with three doubles and three RBIs.

Pitching Matchups

RHP Jarred Cosart (1-2, 6.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)

Jarred Cosart has been exactly what the laws of averages said he would be. A pitcher will electric stuff that has yet to put those skills under control. He rebounded nicely from his 0.1 innings pitched against Oakland with a arguably his best outing of the season - 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO against the Mariners. This will be the first time that any Nationals hitter will face Cosart .

Gio Gonzalez is nothing short of workhorse since being traded to the Nats from Oakland. He is coming off his shortest outing of 2014, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO against the Angels. He left the game earlier with some tightness in his throwing shoulder.

Dexter Fowler and Jose Altuve are both 3-for-6 against Gonzalez, each with a extra-base hit. Jesus Guzman checks in with two hits in five at-bats against the lefty with a double.

LHP Brett Oberholtzer (0-4, 4.61 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 4.05 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

Before his last start, Oberholtzer had strung together some solid outings, lasting into the fifth inning each of his first four starts without giving up more than three runs. He fell apart in said last start, giving up six runs on eight hits through 3.2 innings against Oakland. Nate McLouth is the only Nationals hitter to face Oberholtzer before tonight's game, he is 0-for-3.

Jordan Zimmermann has been another quality arm in a rotation full to the brim with excellent pitching. He has pitched three straight quality starts - pitching through the seven inning in two of his last three starts. He is posting 28 strikeouts to seven walks in his first 26.2 innings.

Marwin Gonzalez (1.000 OPS) and Jesus Guzman (1.667 OPS)  have been able to hit the Nats' right-hander. Jose Altuve and Jason Castro are a collective 0-for-5 against Zimmermann.

Predications

  • Astros will split the two game series
  • George Springer will hit his first home run this series (keep going back the well)
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