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Game No. 122 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays

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Collin McHugh takes aim at Tampa Bay's young ace Chris Archer in today's get away finale of what's so far proven to be a thrilling four game series against the Devil Rays.

Carlos Correa and the Astros look to come back after walking off three of their last four games by putting up a more conventional win
Carlos Correa and the Astros look to come back after walking off three of their last four games by putting up a more conventional win
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (66-55) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (59-61) August 20, 2015 7:10 PM CDT

TV: Root Sports SW, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Rays SB Nation Blog: DRaysBay

Pitching Matchup:

RHP Collin McHugh (13-6, 4.09 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) vs. RHP Chris Archer (10-9, 2.93 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)

Preview:

The Astros have been walkoff winners in three of their last four games, including two in a row against these Devil Rays, both by virtue of 3-2 final scores.  The day before yesterday, Marwin Gonzalez took Tampa's closer, Brad Boxberger, deep to walk off with a home run...and last night, after Boxberger blew the game in the ninth by allowing a bloop double to Jed Lowrie, a wild pitch to advance Lowrie to third, and a weak single to Evan Gattis up the middle with the infield drawn in, Carlos Correa came to the plate in the bottom of the 13th with runners on first and third and, inexplicably to most Astros fans, saw pitches to hit rather than four straight balls.  And with his bat, Carlos Correa gave the Devil Rays his best Darth Vader impression in response.

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

<iframe src='http://m.astros.mlb.com/shared/video/embed/embed.html?content_id=389139083&topic_id=8879000&width=400&height=224&property=mlb' width='400' height='224' frameborder='0'>Your browser does not support iframes.</iframe>
Video courtesy of Astros.com video vault

Since you've likely only seen it 191 times or so since last night, it seemed appropriate to share it again.  It's a nice table setter for a preview of tonight's game, don't you agree?

It would be unwise to expect the Astros to score a massive number of runs tonight.  More likely, the Astros will again have a tough night (they've scored three or fewer runs in each of the first three games of this series) as they will be opposed by the young ace of a very good Tampa Bay Devil Rays staff, Chris Archer.  In four career starts versus the Astros, Archer has rarely missed the mark - he's the owner of a 2-1 record and a 1.09 ERA against Houston.  It is worth noting that Archer is only 1-5 in his last nine starts, and is coming off a very rough outing last Saturday against the Texas Rangers in which he allowed eleven hits, three walks and seven earned runs.  Given Archer's track record of excellence, however, it seems most prudent to assume his most recent start was an aberration and that he should return to form with a vengeance tonight.  The best approach, it would seem, against Archer tonight will be to attempt to work the counts in each and every at bat (he has allowed seven walks in his last two starts combined) and try to knock him out of the game early so as to feast on what must be an exhausted Tampa Bay bullpen.

The Houston Astros players have numbers against Chris Archer that look like this:

NAME AVG
AB
HR
RBI
.300
10
0
0
.000
8
0
0
.111
9
0
1
.200
5
0
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1.000
1
0
0
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
.286
14
0
0
-
-
-
-
.000
3
0
0

Chris Archer is regarded by many to be one of the more intelligent, introspective and well-spoken pitchers in baseball.  Opposing him - and coming off a very strong start in which he went toe to toe with Justin Verlander and met him pitch for pitch - is another of the more cerebral pitchers in baseball, Collin McHugh.  If McHugh can turn in another gem of a start tonight, the game could be quite a low-scoring affair indeed.  Here are the Tampa Bay players' career numbers against Collin:

NAME AVG
AB
HR
RBI
-
-
-
-
.000
3
0
0
-
-
-
-
.000
3
0
0
.167
6
1
1
.167
6
0
0
.400
5
0
0
.111
9
0
0
.250
8
0
0
.000
8
0
1
.333
3
0
1
.500
2
0
0
.333
3
0
0

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