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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles, June 1-4, 2015

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Astros are hoping to rebound after dropping two straight series.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles, June 1-4, 2015

Welp, the Astros haven't been in this situation often in 2015. They haven't won a series in their last three attempts. Now they face the Orioles, who they dropped two of three in Baltimore to start last week. Houston lost two out of three again this time to the White Sox. While the Orioles won one out of three against the Rays over the weekend and split a makeup doubleheader with the white Sox.

The Astros welcome back Brett Oberholtzer to get the Astros back on track in game one.

Season Series

Live by the home run, die by the home run. The O's blasts were the key to winning the first series against the Astros. Former Astro Steve Pearce put the O's in the lead late in game one for the 4-3 win with a two-run home run off Dallas Keuchel. Houston took game two and collected their 30th win of the season on the backs of Evan Gattis, Chris Carter, and Jason Castro timely hitting. Chris Davis two home runs were too much for the Astros in game three as the O's took it 5-4.

Pitching

Game 1: LHP Brett Oberholtzer (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 2.33) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 3.14 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
Game 2: RHP Collin McHugh (5-2, 4.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) vs. RHP Mike Wright (2-0, 1.40 ERA, 0.83 WHIP)
Game 3: RHP Lance McCullers (1-0, 2.40 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (5-3, 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)
Game 4: LHP Dallas Keuchel (7-1, 1.76 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) vs. LHP Wie-Yin Chen (1-4, 3.21 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)

Brett Oberholtzer returns to the Astros rotation after spending the end of Spring Training and the start of the season on the Disabled List for a blister on his throwing hand. He made one start against the Giants on May 13, allowing one run over three innings on five hits. He left that game early as a precaution because piece of skin fell off that was protecting the blister-prone area. Obe' was put back on disabled list shortly. He made one rehab start with Triple A Fresno, allowing four runs (one earned) over 4 2/3 innings against Memphis on May 27.

Ubaldo's most recent start was against the Astros, he gave up four runs on ten hits over seven inning. He has given up seven runs over his last 11 innings. It'll be interesting to see what happens when a team gets a second straight look at a pitcher or vice versa.

Doctor McHugh's ERA has ballooned after a solid start to 2015. Team may have finally found the book on McHugh, he's given up seven runs over his last two starts (13 innings). That most recent start was against the Orioles, he gave up four runs over six innings. That includes two home runs, one form Chris Davis and the other Steve Pearce.

MLB.com ranked Mike Wright as the O's no. 7 prospect in the system. He was a third round pick out of East Carolina. Wright pitched a scoreless 14 1/3 innings to start his major league career. He gave up three runs over five innings, including two home runs, against the White Sox on May 28.

Lance McCullers continues to roll along, giving up just four runs over 15 innings to start his major league career. His only problem thus far is the fact that he hasn't finished the fifth inning in two of his three starts this season.

Mike Gonzalez rebounded from back-to-back poor games (9 ER in 11 IP) by pitching one-run baseball through eight inning on May 29 against the Rays. Gonzalez is 1-2 with a 3.47 ERA in four career starts against Houston.

Dallas Keuchel anchors the Astros rotation in the final game of the series. He returned to form after giving up two home runs in Baltimore by pitch a complete game shutout against the White Sox.

Wei-Yen Chen faces the Astros on May 25, giving up 11 hits but only three runs.

Batting

Evan Gattis has been the driving force for the Astros offense, batting .417 (10x24) with six extra-base hits in his last 24 games. On the opposite end, Luis Valbuena has been struggling, batting .100 (2x20)) with a double in his last five games.

Delmon Young and Chris Davis have been killing the ball of late. Young is batting .444 in his last five games with two home runs and Davis 7-for-22 with six extra-base hits. Adam Jones is day-to-day with an ankle injury and he has missed the past few games.

Prediction

The Astros take three of four from the O's depending heavily on their top two starters and a happy return for Brett Oberholtzer.