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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners, August 31 - September 2, 2015

Back to the American League West.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners, August 31 - September 2, 2015

The Astros weren't able to keep their series winning streak going in Minnesota but a .500 road trip is nothing to sneeze at. It could be worse, they could be the Seattle Mariners -- who had big dreams of making the playoffs these past two season but haven't found a way to get out of the middle of the pack in the American West.

Only to watch both the Astros and Rangers turn their fortunes around and jump the Mariners in the standings in just one season. Now the M's are selling off parts left and right, including today sending Austin Jackson to the Cubs for player to be named later, while Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez wonder what's next for the boys in teal.

Houston is 6-4 in their last ten games, the M's are 4-6. The Astros are 45-21 at home and the Mariners are 32-34 on the road in 2015.

Pitchers

Monday: LHP Dallas Keuchel (15-6, 2.28 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) vs. LHP Vidal Nuno (0-2, 2.88 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) 
Tuesday: RHP Scott Feldman (5-5, 3.75 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (4-7, 4.20 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) 
Wednesday: LHP Scott Kazmir (7-9, 2.45 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) vs. RHP Taijuan Walker (10-7, 4.53 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

Keuchel's Korner is back. The beard takes the mound in game one. He is 11-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 14 starts at Minute Maid in 2015. Need I say more? Vidal Nuno is filling in for Felix Hernandez, who is skipping a start.Or he said what's the point? This is Nuno's fifth start for the M's this season, all in August, he has a 4.58 ERA in his previous starts.

Even with Keuchel and Scott Kazmir on the roster, Scott Feldman maybe pitching the best of all the Astros pitchers right now. He is 1-1 with a 2.36 ERA in seven starts since his stent on the disabled list. At Minute Maid this season he is 2-4 with a 5.16 ERA. Roenis Elias is making his second start since July 2. -- he gave up three runs over 6 2/3 on nine hits against the white Sox on Aug. 27.

One Scott, now two Scotts. Scott Kazmir takes the ball on Wednesday. He has been struggling his command in August -- he has a 1-4 record with a 3.94 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 29 2/3 inning this month. He still has the ninth best ERA in baseball and the fourth-best in the American League. The force is not strong with Taijuan Walker this season. But he has six quality starts in his last seven outing.

Batting

Jose Altuve has been going off in August. He is currently batting .375 (9x24) with a home run and three RBIs in his last six games. Marwin Gonzalez continues to hit and checks in with a .370 average over his last 27 at-bats. Evan Gattis 7-for-22 with three home runs in his last six games, and Jake Marisnick is coming around -- batting .313 in his last 16 at-bats.

Austin Jackson who was batting .40 in the M's last seven games is now a Cub. Robinson Cano is batting .444 with two doubles and two RBIs in his last 27 bats. Ketel Marte is 21 years old and batting .333 with three doubles and home run in his last 27 at-bats.

Prediction

I struggle to think of a reason the Astros can't sweep this series, but I'll take two out of three. Keuchel and Feldman take game one and two. Kazmir continues his tough-luck run.

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