Series Preview: Houston #Astros vs. Seattle Mariners, June 12-14, 2015
Seven. The Astros have lost seven games games in a row. The wheels finally came off. The clock struck midnight and the Astros turned back to a pumpkin. The magic pixy dust wore off. The wizard Luhnow has lost all of his powers. Right? That's what happened, right?
Wrong. It's a 162-game season. Losing streaks will happen. Hopefully it's not of the seven game variety often, but losing streaks will happen. Before the streak, the Astros' largest losing streak this season was three games. The bats will get hot again, the rotation will settled down, and the bullpen will find its rhythm again.
Every break didn't go the Astros' way to put them in first place, they hit home runs, played good defense, pitched well enough, and the bullpen shut it down. The team has only gotten better with Carlos Correa on board.
Wait and watch, the Astros will be back to form - maybe as soon as this weekend.
The Mariners come into this weekend's series having lost seven of their last 10 games. They did collect a series victory over the Indians before heading down to Houston.
Over the last two weeks of April and the first week of May, the Astros played the Mariners seven times. Houston took home six wins in those games, including a four game sweep at home. The series sweep came during the Astros' high point of the season, winning ten games in a row.
Game 1 - LHP Brett Oberholtzer (0-1, 3.75 ERA, 2.08 WHIP) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (9-2, 2.51 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)
Game 2 - RHP Collin McHugh (6-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (0-1, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP)
Game 3 - RHP Lance McCullers (2-1, 2.32 ERA, 0.90 WHIP) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (3-3, 2.79 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
Houston didn't dodge the bullet this round. The Astros take on King Felix in game one. Felix Hernandez has been Dallas Keuchel's main competition for the AL Cy-Young award this year. Hernandez has been lights out, posting a 2.51 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. He came back down to earth, giving up seven run in 4 2/3 innings on June 1 against the Yankees. But, he rebounded by giving up only one run over seven against the Rays in his most recent start.
King Felix is 3-2 with a 1.84 ERA in 7 career starts against the Astros.
Life has gotten back to normal for Brett Oberholtzer, who is making his third straight start in a row after spending two trips on the disabled list this season. He's given up four earned runs over his last 9 innings. He labored in Toronto, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. He'll need to find his groove again and pitch into the sixth inning more often if he plans to say in the rotation for the remainder of the season.
Collin McHugh gets the start in game two. McHugh has been having trouble with the long ball lately, giving up 10 home runs since the start of May. More importantly, he's given up five home runs in his last four starts. He collected a quality start in his last outing in Toronto, giving up three runs on two home runs.
McHugh is 5-2 in his career against the Mariners with a 4.23 ERA in 44 2/3 innings.
On the bump for the Mariners in game two is Mike Montgomery. The M's acquired Montgomery before the 2015 season as part of a trade with Rays. Seattle recalled him on June 2 to make a start against the Yankees. He allowed only run through six innings in that game. In a follow up start, he allowed only two runs in seven innings against the Rays.
The Lance McCullers train come to town on Sunday. He makes his sixth major league start with the Astros on that day. He has yet to allow more than three runs in one start. McCullers has allowed four runs over his last 16 innings. At Minute Maid Park, McCullers is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three games.
Cuban Roenis Elias starts in the final game for the Mariners. Elias came up in late April to start for the M's, making one start against the Astros on May 1 - three runs allowed over six innings. Elias has been sharp in his last two starts, three runs allowed over 14 innings.
The Astros offense has been all George Springer and Carlos Correa lately. Springer has been red hot, batting .440 in his last six starts with two doubles, two stolen bases, and a walk. Notice there weren't any RBIs. With Springer at the top of the order, he gets on base but has no one to drive in. It's a pickle for A.J. Hinch for sure. Correa is batting .333 with one run, one double, one home run, and three RBIs in three games thus far in the majors. The kid is real.
Outside of that, the Astros offense has been a dumpster fire. Luis Valbuena, Preston Tucker, Jason Castro, Marwin Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Evan Gattis and Jake Marisnick are all batting under .200 in the team's last six games. Jose Altuve is just 6-for-26 with five strikeouts in his last six games.
Nelson Cruz continues to pay dividends, batting .429 in his last four games, but he has been battling back pain recently that has kept him out of the lineup. Logan Morrison is batting .333 with his last six games with two doubles and three RBIs. Newest Mariner, Mark Trumbo hasn't acclimated himself to his new team just yet, batting .083 in his last 24 at-bats.
The Astros FINALLY get back on track with a series win over the Mariners. Game one will be tough, but the bats will wake up this series. Astros take two of three from the M's.