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Game 128 Preview: Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros

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The Astros look to keep the Smyle on their face with more winning

Houston Astros v Toronto Blue Jays
Sunflowers, 1881, Oil on Canvas
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Rays (54-72) at Houston Astros (66-61), August 26, 2016 at 7:10 PM CT

TV: Root Sports SW

Online: MLB.TV

Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM

Rays SB Nation Site: DRays Bay

Pitching Matchup

RHP Mike Fiers (9-6, 4.48 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 4.22 xFIP) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 4.37 xFIP)

Preview

Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers looks to continue where he left off after pitching his best game of the season on August 20th. He will take the mound Friday, facing the last-place Tampa Bay Rays. Despite their overall record of 54-72, the Rays are winners of 7 of their last 10 games.

Part of the Rays’ recent success is due to the resurgence of Fiers’ mound opponent, Drew Smyly, who carries a 2.79 ERA over his past six starts. Smyly’s most notable accomplishment is tanking my fantasy baseball league during the first half of the season, before suddenly learning how to limit homers as soon as I dropped him and another manager swiped him up. Jerk. For that reason, expect the Astros to hit him early and often. Alternately, expect him to pitch 8 innings. Either way, the Astros will win, because it was written in the stars.

The Astros’ resurgent offense has kept the club within smelling distance of the second American League playoff spot. Over the past two weeks, only one Astros regular (Marwin Gonzalez) carriers a wRC+ below league average. During that span, the club has been led by Evan Gattis (.359/.432/.667, 198 wRC+), George Springer (.309/.441/.564, 177 wRC+), and by old-news superstar Jose Altuve and new-money superstar Alex Bregman.