Interleague Series Preview: Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks, June 9-10, 2014

Hannah Foslien

Last year the Astros played a home-and-home with the Rockies, this year it's the Diamondbacks.

Houston Astros (28-36) at Arizona Diamondbacks (28-37)

The Astros play against their Interleague 'rivals' for the next four games. Without the interleague matchup between the Astros and Rangers,  Major League Baseball has predetermined Houston's 'rival' in the National League West. Well I can think of a few reason to make them an actual rival. One, grit vs. sabermetrics - Diamondbacks lead by Kirk Gibson were the first gritty team in the west. By proxy, I'll vent my anger over the treatment of Dexter Fowler as he left Colorado (another gritty team) through the D-Backs. Two, Arizona may have played a direct hand in the Astros moving to the American League West, they refused to be an American League team when they entered the league in 1998. Thus a second team in the central time zone plays regular away games at 9 PM. Finally, they copied the Astros brick and gold colors. Sure, they made it look better - plagorism is still plagiarism. One more thing, I had one of my worst experiences in baseball at Chase Field. An old man pushed me out of the way as I was standing in front of Mark McGwire during his 70-home run season to get his autograph. Clearly I'm grasping for straws, but so is Major League Baseball calling this a rivalry.

The teams appears to have one thing in come, the rumors of their individual demises have been greatly exaggerated. The D-Backs were 4-21 in April, 14-13 in May, and 5-2 thus far in June. The Astros also on an upward trajectory at 23-22 in the last forty five games, 18-12 in the last thirty, and 11-4 in their last fifteen.

D-Backs have struck Gold...

The face of the Diamondbacks is Paul Goldschmidt. The former Texas State Bobcat morphed himself from projected platoon player to a bonafide star in a matter of a few years. Posting a 7.4 WAR last season for Arizona. He is currently second in RBIs (46) and runs scored (47) in the National League. He is also seventh in slugging percentage (.535), eighth in OPS (.898) and home runs (12). He leads Arizona in tonights' game hoping to build upon their series win over the Braves this weekend.

The D-Backs have been knocking the cover off the ball, averaging 7.14 runs this month. Leading the way for Arizona, along side Goldschmidt, is Miguel Montero, Chris Owning, and David Peralta. In Montero last 19 at-bats, he has three home runs and eight RBIs. Owings has 5 extra-base this in 21 at-bats with nine RBIs. Petralta is 10-for-24 in the team's last six games with six runs scored. Martin Prado is batting .440 in his last 25 at-bats with five runs scored and five runs batted in.

Happy Days are here again...

Life is pretty good right now as an Astros fan. They are no longer the team with the lowest winning percentage in the majors. There actually ahead of the Diamondbacks at the moment, having played one less game than Arizona. The Astros had two grand slams yesterday, one by Jon Singleton and one from Chris Carter. George Springer hit a home run for the icing on the cake. The Astros are currently tied for fourth (3rd in the AL) in the majors with 69 team home runs. As CRPerry13 mention in our internal email thread, the team has a BABIP of .313, and while pitching is posting a .295 BABIP over the last 30 days. The team xFIP is 3.60 compared to the team ERA at 3.24 over the same time period. We may be seeing the true Astros on the field now.

Dexter Fowler has done a little bit of everything over this past week, making plays left and right in the outfield, getting on base, and scoring runs. Fowler is batting .524 over his last 21 at-bats with six runs scored, four extra-base hits, three RBis, and six walks.

Pitching Matchups

RHP Jarred Cosart (4-5, 4.16 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (4-2, 3.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)

I am more impressed with this half season in 2014, then the previous half season in 2013 for Jarred Cosart. Why, might you ask? In 2013, he posted a 1.95 ERA in 10 starts before being shut down. The numbers haven't reflected it, but Cosart has shown more pose this season. He looks like professional on the mound and less a child having a temper tantrum. The Astros can win any game he start if he keeps his walks down. His most recent start was not a reflection of that, Cosart posted a quality start against the Angels on June 4 - 6.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K.

This will be the first time the Diamondbacks will have faced Cosart. This will also be the first time Cosart gets a major league at-bat.

Josh Collmenter, a product of Central Michigan University, was a fifteenth round pick of the D-Backs in 2007. Collmenter seems best fit as a long relief man, he can neither strikeout or generate ground balls in high numbers. He works a high-80's cutter and high 70's changeup. That said he's been more than effective this season starting, the Diamondbacks have won 7 of the last 10 starts he has made.

He had one of his shortest outing of the year against the Rockies on June 4, lasting on five innings and giving up four runs on nine hits.

Astros career against Collmenter

RHP Brad Peacock (2-4, 4.82 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (5-4, 4.50 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)

D-Backs Career vs. Peacock

Astros Career vs. Arroyo

Prediction

The Astros sweep the two-game set in the desert. Cosart and Peacock hold back the surging D-Backs offense. While Jose Altuve and Dexter Fowler find the big gaps in Chase Field and run for days.

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