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Game No. 4 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners

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Break out the Brooms!

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at Houston Astros Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (3-0) vs. Seattle Mariners (0-3), April 6, 2017, 7:10 PM CDT

TV: ROOTSW
Radio: KBME 790AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM
Online: MLB.TV
Mariners SBNation Blog: Lookout Landing

Pitching Matchup

RHP Joe Musgrove (4-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP in 2016) vs. LHP Ariel Miranda (5-2, 3.88 ERA, 1.12 WHIP in 2016)

Preview

The Astros and Mariners close out a 4-games series at Minute Maid Park with the Astros trying to remain undefeated. The Mariners are currently tied with the Rangers for last place in the division (both teams are 0-3) and will try to get their season headed in the right direction after suffering a painful loss in 13 innings last night.

They will send lefty Ariel Miranda to the mound in place of an injured Drew Smyly. Seattle acquired Miranda in a trade with Baltimore at the deadline in 2016 in exchange for Wade Miley. After only pitching 2 innings in relief for Baltimore in 2016, Miranda pitched in 11 games for the Mariners (10 starts).

His results with Seattle were great (3.54 ERA), though the advanced metrics didn’t like his outings nearly as much (5.47 FIP, 5.18 xFIP). The disparity between his ERA and FIP is driven by an unsustainably low BABIP of .205 and the fact that 10 of the 12 HRs he gave up in 2016 were solo shots (including HRs by Springer and Correa on 9/18/16).

For the Astros, Joe Musgrove will make his first start of 2017 after making his first Opening Day roster. Musgrove, who was drafted 46th overall in 2011, was delayed by injuries until finally making his MLB debut last August. Musgrove’s outings in 2016 were mixed, though his results improved from August (4.36 ERA) to September (3.72 ERA).

Joe came into Spring Training battling Mike Fiers for the 5th spot in the rotation, and a strong showing plus McHugh’s dead arm (landing him on the 10-day DL) earned him the 4th spot in the Astros rotation. Devo is certainly excited for Musgrove’s first start of 2017:

Fun Fact

If you’re a huge Roy Oswalt fan like me, you should cheer extra hard for Musgrove since the Astros sort of turned Oswalt into Musgrove (in a roundabout and lengthy kind of way). Roy Oswalt was traded to the Phillies in 2010 for J.A. Happ. The Astros then traded Happ in 2012 to the Blue Jays for Joe Musgrove.

Key Matchups

The Seattle Mariners offense has been neutralized in the first 3 games, in large part because Astros pitchers have stifled the heart of the Mariners order:

Robinson Cano: 2 for 12, 2 BBs, 3 Ks

Nelson Cruz: 1 for 12, 2 BBs, 5 Ks

Kyle Seager: 1 for 8, 5 BBs, 1 K

If Joe Musgrove can keep those bats quiet, the Astros will have a great chance at an Opening Series sweep.

Go ‘Stros!!