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Game No. 127 Preview: Houston Astros at Pittsburgh Pirates

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Astros and Pirates play an early rubber match (11:35 AM CT) to wrap up the Astros' 7-game road trip.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (65-61) at Pittsburgh Pirates (63-60), August 24, 2016 at 11:35 AM CT

TV: Root Sports SW

Online: MLB.TV

Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM

Pirates SB Nation Site: Bucs Dugout

Pitching Matchup

RHP Collin McHugh (7-10, 4.99 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 3.96 xFIP) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (7-8, 3.30 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.93 xFIP)

Preview

The Astros wrap up their 7-game road trip to Baltimore and Pittsburgh with an early game today against the Pirates. Their 3-1 win against the Pirates on Monday secured a winning record on this road trip against playoff contenders. A win today would put them at 5-2 on this road trip, which could be the shot in the arm that the Astros needed to make a run at a wild card (or dare we still dream about the division?).

Pittsburgh sends out Gerrit Cole, the #1 overall draft pick from the 2011 draft. While Cole's strikeout numbers are down a bit compared to the last couple of years, he has still been a very good pitcher for the Pirates to the tune of a 3.30 ERA. This will be his first start against the Astros.

Collin McHugh will toe the rubber for the Astros as he tries to turn around his second half. After having much better numbers in the second half in 2014 and 2015, McHugh has struggled since the All-Star break in 2016. His 2nd half ERA is an ugly 6.43, which is due to the long balls he has been giving up. After allowing 1.15 HR/9 in the first half of 2016, McHugh has given up 2.31 HR/9 in the second half.

Let's hope the boys can turn this into a confidence-boosting 5-2 road trip and head into tomorrow's off day on a high note.

Go 'Stros!