Once again, the Astros find themselves in position to sweep a mini-series with the Diamondbacks. On Thursday, Houston will attempt to win for the fourth time in the last five games. Scott Feldman gets the start, hoping to even his record of 3-4 on the season.
Feldman has gotten rocked in his last two starts, but has had success against Arizona in the past. Tonight will mark the fifth time Feldman has started against the Diamondbacks in his career. His last start, in August 2013, saw Feldman throw 5 1/3 innings with two runs (one earned). Feldman still has a lower ERA in 2014 than his career ERA of 4.59, but needs to pick up his strikeout rate. So far, he's only struck out 27 in 54 innings this season.
He should be supported by the offense, which contains the very hot Chris Carter. In his last 13 games,Carter has six home runs and a .743 slugging percentage. Wednesday marked his fifth career multi-homer game and gives him two in 2014. Meanwhile, Dexter Fowler leads the American League with a .431 on-base percentage since April 18 while hitting .304 in 184 at-bats. For the season, Fowler is third in on-base percentage and tied for third in walks.
Closer Chad Qualls extended his streak Wednesday, throwing 17 2/3 scoreless innings. The streak began on April 19 and has been over 19 appearances. Qualls has gone 7-for-7 in that stretch in save opportunities and has the third-longest active scoreless streak in the majors. He's been a big reason why the Astros bullpen has turned around so dramatically in the past month, though he's gotten less attention than Tony Sipp or Jerome Williams (ducks!).
Today, Qualls tweeted this out about his inning against the Diamondbacks Wednesday night: