Houston Astros (55-49) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (59-46), August 1-4, 2016
The trade deadline has come and gone. The Astros didn't pull the trigger on any big trades but they did send a pitcher on the way to the Blue Jays. Scott Feldman took the odd walk from the home dugout to the visiting dugout after being traded before Monday's game against Toronto. The Astros also traded for Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano and traded a reliever, Jesse Chavez.
While Houston added two future prospects at the deadline, the team also called up top pitching prospect Joe Musgrove. The deals have changed the composition of each team in a minor way. But it doesn't change the fact this four-game series will go a long way in settling the American League Wild Card standings.
Here is a closer look at the teams:
Monday: RHP Doug Fister (10-7, 3.73 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (8-4, 4.92 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
Tuesday: RHP Lance McCullers (6-4, 3.18 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (7-12, 4.66 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)
Wedesday: RHP Collin McHugh (7-7, 4.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (6-4, 3.02 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)
Thursday: RHP Mike Fiers (7-4, 4.42 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (14-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)
Doug Fister is waiting for his wife to give birth, but won't' miss his start on Monday. There was a possibility of Joe Musgrove making this start in his place. Some Astros fans might crow they wish Fister had missed the start since he is 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA in five July starts. Fister last just 4 2/3 innings in his last start after giving up six runs on nine hits against the Yankees.
Marcus Stroman is 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA in his last five starts. He is coming off a four-run outing over 6 2/3 innings against the Padres on July 26. Stroman is 5-3 with a 4.81 ERA 10 road starts this season.
Lance McCullers is coming off back-to-back 10 strikeout starts and he is 3-2 with a 2.08 ERA in five July starts. R.A. Dickey goes against McCullers in game two. Dickey is 2-3 with 6.38 ERA in 28.2 innings in July.
Collin McHugh is hoping to rebound after his second start this season in which he failed to reach the third inning as a starter -- he allowed eight earned run on 10 hits over 1 2/3 innings in Detriot in his last start. He is 2-2 with a 5.33 ERA in his last five starts. Marco Estrada makes his fourth start of July, he has allowed eight earned runs over 17 innings during that time.
Mike Fiers has posted back-to-back quality starts entering Thursday games. He has allowed just four runs over his 13 1/3 innings of work. Former Astro J.A. Happ starts opposite Fiers. He is has been the Blue Jays best starter in July, he is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA in five starts.
The Astros lineup has been struggling. If you look over the past week, the team leaders in batting average are Luis Valbuena, Carlos Gomez, and Marwin Gonzalez -- all three haven't played the second half of the week with injuries. The first active player is Jake Marisnick, who is batting .300 (3x10) over the team's last five games. Next on the list is Jose Altuve, who is batting a disastrous by his standards: .286 (6x21) with a home run and two RBIs. Colby Rasmus may have finally found his way out of a funk, he has five RBIs in his last 15 at-bats. Alex Bregman collected his first major league hit on Sunday, so here's to hoping he will break out now.
Kevin Pillar is hitting the cover off the ball, he is batting .370 (10x27) with eight RBIs in his last seven games. Russell Martin is batting .357 (5x14) with three double and three RBIs in his last five games. Troy Tulowitzki has five RBIs and two runs in his last five games -- Tulo is getting his hand checked out following leaving Sunday's game after being hit by a pitch
Astros split the four games series which is a vast improvment over the play the last two series.
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