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Game #32 Preview: Houston Astros (10-21) at Detroit Tigers (17-9)

Brad Ausmus Classic begins again.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers, May 5, 2014 6:08 PM CDT

TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Tigers SBNation Blog: Bless You Boys

Pitching Matchup:

RHP Jarred Cosart (1-2, 5.52 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (3-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)

You're going to hear me roar...

Houston heads north to face the Tigers and former Astros' catcher Brad Ausmus. Ausmus spent 10 season with the Astros, that includes starting in the 2005 World Series for Houston. It's not the only old familiar face, Dave Clark and J.D. Martinez will be facing their old team for the first time. The same goes for recently called up Darin Downs, who was claimed by the Astros this offseason from Detroit.

Everything has been clicking for the Tigers under Ausmus, expect for maybe the weather. The Tigers have had three games postponed already after one month of baseball. Detroit are winners of seven of their last nine games, and have swept their last two series.

The Tigers bats ranks first in the American League in OPS (.767), and in batting average (.283). Miguel Cabrera has a 10-game and Torii Hunter 11-game hitting streak coming into today's game. Over the teams last five games, seven players have an OPS over .800 - Alex Avila, Victor Martinez, Bryan Holaday, J.D. Martinez (ahhhhhh!!!), Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and Hunter. Avila has two hits in his last eight at-bats, both home runs. Victor Martinez is batting .500 over his last 18 at-bats with three doubles and five RBIs. Austin Jackson has struggled at the plate last week, but has made the most of his opportunities - stealing three bases.

The Astros seem to be working through Cy-Young award winners this season, they are a surprising 4-0 thus far. They will face the 2013 AL Cy-Young award winner - Max Scherzer. The right-hander has been cruising through his last three appearances - giving up just three runs over 13 innings, striking out 26 and walking six. There isn't much more to day except the Missouri product is one of the best pitchers in baseball at the moment, and the Astros will have their hands full.

A bit surprised to not see Carlos Corporan in the lineup, he has two home runs in five at-bats against Scherzer. Dexter Fowler (3-10 with 1 2B) and Alex Presley (1-6 with 1 2B) are the only other Astros with any all be it small success against the right hander.


The Astros have reached a season-high 11 hits in each of their last three games, and scored a total of 20 runs in the series with the Mariners. Houston did not see the fruits of their labor because the pitching staff had one of it's roughest weekends to date. The Astros have six players with an OPS of .750 over their last five games - Jonathan Villar, Marwin Gonzalez, Matt Dominguez, Alex Presley, Chris Carter, and Jesus Guzman. Villar has been lighting it up this past week, hitting two home runs and driving in five in his last 17 at-bats. Chris Carter has channeled his inner-dragon and all three of his hits this past week went for extra bases. Jose Altuve and Villar each have two stolen bases over the team's last five games.

Jarred Cosart has turned his season around after a rough stretch where he gave up 15 earned runs over 13.1 innings. Since he failed to get out of the first inning against the Mariners, Cosart has allowed only four runs over 12.2 innings. The Astros offense failed him twice in these efforts, as Houston failed to pick up the win in both games. I will keep going back to the wheel with Cosart - if he can control his stuff, he can win any game he starts.

Former Ranger, Ian Kinsler is 1-for-2 with a walk against the Astros righty. This will be the first the majority of the Tigers face Cosart.