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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins, May 2-4, 2016

Basement dwellers knight fight at Minute Maid Park.

Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are undefeated in the month of May. Yay. No look at April and most would cringe at the Astros' 7-17 record. Houston flipped the script from 2015, going 15-7 during April.

Everything has gone wrong for the Astros during April: the team ERA (4.97), batting average in scoring position (.204), and caught stealing (10) were among the worst in the American League for the month of April.

To be fair, fellow hot pick to win it all (at least win the AL Central), Minnesota Twins haven't started the season off well either. The Twins have won just two of their last seven games. The winner of this week's series could go a long way to righting the ship.

Starting pitching

Monday: LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-3, 4.41 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) vs. RHP Jose Berrios (0-1, 11.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP)
Tuesday: RHP Collin McHugh (2-3, 6.65 ERA, 1.89 WHIP) vs. RHP Alex Meyer (0-0, 18.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP)
Wednesday: RHP Mike Fiers (2-1, 4.97 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (1-4, 4.45 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)

The Astros starting pitching has finally started to come around. Over the last four start, the Astros starters have allowed just seven runs over 23 2/3 innings. The one pitcher that was not included in those last four starts in Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel looks to rebound after his dismal start in Seattle, allowing five runs over six innings.

Keuchel has a good chance of doing so with some home cooking. Keuchel's lone excellent start this season has come at home -- he pitched eight scoreless innings against the Detriot Tigers on April 15. Keuchel was 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 18 home starts last season.

The reigning Cy Young award winner faces Jose Berrios. Berrios is a top prospect in the Twins system, he is coming off his first major league start last week. He allowed five runs over four innings against Cleveland in that start.

Another Twins prospect faced Collin McHugh in game two. Alex Meyer makes his first major league start on Tuesday. Meyer, a first-round draft pick in 2011, has a 1-1 record with a 1.04 ERA in three games (17 1/3 IP) in Triple-A in 2016.

Phil Hughes and Mike Fiers tangle in game three. Hughes gave up four on seven hits and two walks over five innings in his last start against the Tigers.

Relief pitching

The Twins lead the American League in blown saves in 2016. Minnesota has blown seven saves in nine opportunities. Kevin Jepsen leads the team with three blown saves. At this time, Jepsen has still listed as the Twins closer on the team's depth chart.

On the Astros' end, everything is still the status quo. Luke Gregerson is cursing along with five saves in five opportunities. Ken Giles has continued to struggle, and Will Harris has been put in the setup role for the Astros. Harris has allowed one run in 11 2/3  innings.


Joe Mauer has shifted into high gear this past week for the Twins, he is batting .364 (8x22) with three doubles and two RBIs. Danny Satana (.360), Miguel Sano (.318), and Eduardo Escobar (.316) are batting over .300 in the team's last six games.

Brian Dozier is struggling batting .160 (5x25) with three RBIs in his last six games.

Evan Gattis appears to be his old self, batting .313 (5x16) with two doubles and a home run his last five games. Carlos Gomez is batting .308 in his last 13 at-bats but he is day-to-day with a rib cage injury.

Tyler White has come back to earth, batting .111 (2x18) in his last five games.


I'm going to go out on a limb. The Twins are running out two rookie starters and the Astros are sending out their top three starters. Astros sweep the three games.