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Game #49 Preview: Houston Astros (17-31) vs. Seattle Mariners (23-23)

Rudy Owens will make his major league debut tonight for the Astros in Seattle.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (17-31) vs. Seattle Mariners (23-23)

TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Mariners SBNation Blog: Lookout Landing

Pitching Matchup

LHP Rudy Owens (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (5-1, 2.94 ERA, 1.10 ERA)

Thanks to the late stretch of Brad Peacock, this preview was rewritten with a new narrative. Rudy Owens will make his major league debut for the Astros tonight. The schedule hasn't been kind to Owens as will square off against Felix Hernandez. Whom the Astros are 2-0 in games he started this season. Before we get to full speed on the preview, take a look at the stories about Owens' call up and Subber10's breakdown of what to expect from Owens.

Now, back to the preview.

Long live the king?

There is no question of the quality of King Felix isn't in question, he is in the top ten of the American League in innings pitched (67.1, 3rd), strikeouts (65, 7th), and WHIP (1.10, 8th). He currently has the 2nd lowest xFIP* in the majors at 2.17, only behind Masahiro Tanaka at 2.15. But, the Astros have played the kingslayer when Hernandez is on the mound this season. In two starts against the Astros this season, Hernandez has given up nine earned runs over 12 innings. The Astros have collected 12 hits and four walks during those starts. Have the Astros figured out King Felix? Maybe, but probably not - just enjoy while it lasts.

He is coming off his strongest start of the season, only needing 97 pitched to hold the Twins to two runs over eight innings. He has a 2-1 record with a 3.71 ERA in 26.2 innings pitched at home. He is sporting at 3.81 ERA in his starts in May.

In support of his King, Michael Saunders continued his hot streak going 2-for-4 in yesterday's game. Outside of that, the Mariners left 19 runners on base yesterday, scoring runs on a sac-fly and a infield single. The Astros hurt themselves more then they were out slugged yesterday as they gave up six walks in the game.

On a knife's edge...

The Astros left little room for error last night as they were only able to put one run on the board. It was the twelfth time the Astros had been held to one run or less  in a game this season. A miscommunication between the first baseman Jesus Guzman, pitcher Tony Sipp, and second baseman Jose Altuve on a grounder in between first and second was enough to allow a base-loaded infield single - ultimately the loss. The Astros haven't been able to put together a stretch of games were all three facets, offense, defense, and pitching, have clicked.

Houston once again will be without George Springer in the lineup, he resting a right hip flexor. Jose Altuve is in the lineup tonight after going 2-for-4 with a home run on the first pitch of the game yesterday. Altuve is 5-for-12 against Hernandez in his career with two doubles. Matt Dominguez is 2-for-4 with home run against King Felix in his career. Jason Castro checks in with two doubles in nine at-bats. Dexter Fowler is 2-for-7 and Marc Krauss is 3-for-8 in their careers against Hernandez.

As previously noted Rudy Owens will make his major league debut tonight. Through 41.2 innings in Triple-A Oklahoma City, Owens has a 6.05 ERA and 1.416 WHIP.

*Stats courtesy of FanGraphs