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Game 121 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins

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Astros hope to match 2013 win total with a month and half left in the season, today against the Twins.

Bob Levey

Houston Astros (50-70) vs. Minnesota Twins (53-65), 1:10 p.m. (CST)

TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Twins SBNation BlogTwinkie Town

Pitching matchup

LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-7, 4.05 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (10-9, 4.13 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Preview

It's only August 13, but the Astros may be able to match their 2013 win today. Yes, 51 wins is nothing to be proud of and last year's team could have had many more wins if they hadn't end the season on 15-game losing streak. But, at this point Astros fans will take what they can get.

Brett Oberholtzer is the man tasked with bringing home the win today, arguably he maybe the best man for the job at the moment. Obe is 2-0 with a 2.91 ERA in his last five starts. He has a quality start in eight of his last nine starts. In his last two outings he has held opponents to two runs on six hits over seven innings.

Of the two current Twins with any plate appearance against Obe-win, neither Eduardo Nunez (0-3) and Kurt Suzuki (0-2) has a hit off him.

Starting today for the Twins, is the 6'6'' tall Kyle Gibson. Gibson has been all over this place this season. For example, in his last ten starts - Gibson has six quality starts and four starts where he has given up five or more runs. He has been trending in the wrong direction, his ERA is a run higher post All-Star break  - 4.97 to 3.92. On the road, he has a 4.59 ERA compared to the pitcher-friendly redemptions of  Target Field with a 3.28 ERA. The key to Gibson success his location of his downward plane fastball.

Gibson had his shortest outing of 2013 when he faced Houston - allowing four runs over three innings of work on August 3. This season, he owned the Astros. Gibson held Houston scoreless over seven innings June 7. Both starts came in Minnesota. Both Matt Dominguez and Jose Altuve are 1-for-5 with a double against Gibson in their careers. Robbie Grossman, starting in left field today, is 2-for-2 against Gibson.

Today marks the return of Dexter Fowler after a month on the shelf with a back sprain. Fowler will be insert into center, pushing Grossman to left and Jake Marisnick to right.