Houston Astros (60-29) vs. Minnesota Twins (45-43), July 14, 2017, 7:10 p.m. CT
RHP Charlie Morton (6-3, 3.82 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .313 BABIP, 3.73 xFIP) vs. RHP José Berríos (8-2, 3.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .262 BABIP, 4.26 xFIP)
The Houston Astros start the final stretch of the 2017 season on Friday night with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins. The Astros swept the first series with the Twins this season in Minnesota, 3-0. During that series, the Astros outscored the Twins 40-16 during their 11-game winning streak. The series included an 11-run eighth inning in game one and 17-6 victory in game three.
The Astros enter post-All-Star Game section of the season as one of only two teams that had won 60 games, the Dodgers caught up to Houston with 61 wins on the final day before the Midsummer Classic. Houston leads the AL West by 16.5 games, while the Twins are second in the Central — 2.5 games behind the Indians.
The Astros will roll out the back end of their rotation against the Twins with Charlie Morton, Joe Musgrove, and Mike Fiers slated to start. While Minnesota will put its best foot forward with José Berríos, Ervin Santana, and Kyle Gibson. Morton and Berríos start on Friday.
Morton dealt with a right lat strain all of June and returned to the Astros rotation on July 7. He allowed just one earned run on four hits over six innings in Toronto. Morton makes his first start at home since May 24. He is 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts at Minute Maid Park in 2017.
Morton missed the Twins in the first go-around, but he has one career start against the Twins in 2015, he allowed three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings. Zero valuable data with the new roster for the Twins.
José Berríos has been everything the Twins could ask for out of a 23-year-old second-year player. Berríos has been above average to put simply, he was 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA in five starts during the month of June.
Berríos hasn't been as strong on the road. he is 4-1 with a 4.17 ERA in six starts this season. That includes his most recent road start, giving up five runs on nine hits over five innings in Kansas City.
It is the second time the Astros have faced Berríos this season. He allowed four earned runs on five hits over five innings on May 30.
Coming off the All-Star break makes finding trends tough. But looking at the pitching matchups:
No Twins batter has more than three career at-bats against Charlie Morton. Eddie Rosario has the one extra-base hits, a triple. Rosario, Brian Dozier, and Miguel Sano each have a strikeout.
Jose Altuve is 4-for-8 with a double and four RBIs in his career against Berrios. George Springer is 4-for-7 with a home run. Carlos Correa is 0-for-5 with three walks.
All-Star break will have both bullpens rested. Chris Devenski pitched an inning in the All-Star Game. As did, Brandon Kintzler and Ervin Santana for the Twins.
Joe Mauer (1B) - 10-Day DL - Lower back strain.
Hector Santiago (P) - 10-day DL - Upper thoracic back pain.
Craig Breslow (P) - 10-day DL - Thoracic rib cage soreness.
Justin Haley (P) - 10-Day DL - Right shoulder soreness.
Collin McHugh (RHP) - 10-day DL - Posterior impingement in right elbow, sent on Double-A rehab assignment June 30.
Dallas Keuchel (LHP) - 10-day DL - Neck discomfort - hopes to throw off the mound soon.