Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins, September 4 - September 6, 2015
The last time these two teams, the Astros were riding high. Houston had won three straight series heading into Minnesota and the Twins humbled them by taking two of three.
The Astros have just two wins in their last six games including their series against the Twins. Minnesota on the other hand, rolled through Chicago and two of three from the White Sox.
Houston will hope to ride the arms of McHugh, McCullers, and Keuchel to get back into the win column. It doesn't hurt that George Springer returned to the big club today.
Friday: RHP Collin McHugh (14-7, 3.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (6-8, 3.85 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
Saturday: RHP Lance McCullers (5-5, 3.21 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (3-4, 5.40 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)
Sunday: LHP Dallas Keuchel (16-6, 2.24 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) vs. RHP Tyler Duffey (2-1, 4.56 ERA, 1.56 WHIP)
Collin McHugh is pitching for the first time since August 26, he allowed just two runs over 6 1/3 innings against the Yankees. McHugh is 9-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 13 starts at home this season. Pelfrey is 1-1 with a 3.62 ERA in August. He is facing the Astros in back-to-back starts, he allowed four runs over 3 2/3 innings in the first start.
Lance McCullers has allowed five earned runs over in his first 13 inning since returning from the majors for rest. He is 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA in eight starts at Minute Maid this season. Ervin Santana has been terrible since returning from his suspension, but found the major against the Astros in his last start -- pitching seven scoreless inning and striking out 10.
The force will be strong with the beard on Sunday as Dallas Keuchel starts for the Astros on Star Wars day. Keuchel has been Jedi-like at home, he is 12-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 15 starts. Hometown boy, Tyler Duffey gets the start for the Twins on Sunday. Duffey is 2-1 with a 4.29 ERA in August.
Jose Altuve continues on his torrid pace, he is batting .429 with a home run and three RBIs over his last 28 at-bats. Marwin Gonzalez continues to fight for a starting spot, batting .33 (7x21) with two doubles and two RBIs. Carlos Gomez is coming to life, batting .318 (7x22) with two doubles and two RBIs during that same stretch.
Eduardo Escobar continues to hit the ball well for the Twins, batting .400 in his last 20 at-bats with four doubles and two RBIs. Miguel Sano has been rested by the Twins, but is still batting .357 with three home runs in his last 14 at-bats.
I shudder to think the Astros take win half their games against the Twins. They take two out of three from Minnesota this time around.