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Game No. 93 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners

Can the Astros build on the AL West lead?

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (62-30) vs. Seattle Mariners (46-47), July 17, 2017, 7:10 p.m. CT

TV: AT&T SportsNet-SW
Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM
Online: MLB.TV
Mariners SBNation Blog: Lookout Landing

Pitching Matchup

RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (7-2, 3.05, 1.14 WHIP, .303 BABIP, 2.73 xFIP) vs. LHP Ariel Miranda (7-4, 4.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .220 BABIP, 5.30 xFIP)

Preview

The Houston Astros got right back on track after the All-Star break with a series win over the Minnesota Twins. Houston turns its focus to the AL West again with the Seattle Mariners visiting Minute Maid Park. The Mariners are currently tied with the Rangers at 16.5 games back from the Astros atop the West.

The Astros send out Lance McCullers Jr. in game one on Monday. McCullers was untouchable in May with a 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA. He was nearly as good in June with a 1-0 record and 3.32 ERA. But he dealt with a back issue and spent time on the DL. He comes into his start after allowing five earned runs on nine hits over 4 13 innings (100 pitches).

Mariners is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11 IP) against the Mariners in two starts this season. He is 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA in seven career starts against the M’s.

Ariel Miranda is in his second season with the Mariners being traded to Seattle by the Orioles for Wade Miley in 2016. The trade has quickly paid dividends as Miley is 4-8 with a 5.40 ERA in 2017. Miranda is 7th on the team in WAR (1.8), second only to James Paxton (2.1) among starters.

Miranda was 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA in six starts during the month of June. Miranda’s last start was on July 5, he allowed six runs on five hits over five innings vs. Kansas City.

Miranda is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in four career starts against the Astros. he is 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA in three starts in 2017 against Houston.

Miranda’s move valuable pitch is his fastball (8.7) and he throws it 59.6 percent of the time. The second pitch is the spliter at 21.3% at a value of 2.6. His slider (0.4) and changeup (-2.8) don’t have lesser value.

Offensive Trends

Jose Altuve continues to do Jose Altuve things. He’s batting .417 with two doubles and a home run in his last 12 at-bats. Marwin Gonzalez is 4-for-11 with a home run.

Against Ariel Miranda, George Springer is 4-for-11 with home runs — all solo home runs. Alex Bregman is 2-for-6 against Miranda. Gonzalez is 1-for-7 with four strikeouts.

Ben Gamel (4-for-12), Kyle Seager (4-for-13), Jean Segura (4-for-12), and Nelson Cruz (3-for-10) had outings during the White Sox series over the weekend. Seager and Cruz each had two home runs.

Robinson Cano is 7-for-18 with a double and five strikeouts against Lance McCullers in his career. Nelson Cruz is 2-for-12 with eight strikeouts against McCullers. Kyle Seager is 5-for-16 with two doubles.

Bullpen Usage

Mariners

Edwin Diaz and Nick Vincent were both used in all three games during the White Sox. Each pitcher was used for an inning. Diaz threw 51 pitches over the three games and Vincent used 37.

Steve Cishek threw 48 pitches over two 2 13 innings. Tony Zych needed 14 pitches to get through two innings. James Pazos pitched 1 1⁄3 innings and Emilio Pagan ate up 2 13 innings on Sunday with 33 pitches.

Astros

Ken Giles and Chris Devenski each had two outings during the Twins series. Giles needed 31 pitches and Devenski needed 26. Luke Gregerson (22 pitches), James Hoyt (26), Tony Sipp (21), and Michael Feliz (25) each had an inning of work in the first series back from the All-Star break.

Francis Martes made his first appearances out of the bullpen after being bumped from the rotation, needing 14 pitches to get through 1 2⁄3 innings on Saturday.

Disabled List

Mariners

Hisashi Iwakuma (P) - 10-day DL - Right shoulder inflammation

Ryan Weber (P) - 60-day DL - Right biceps strain

Evan Marshall (P) - 60-day DL - Strained right hamstring

Evan Scribner (P) - 60-day DL - Right flexor bundle strain

Shawn O'Malley (SS) - 60-day DL - Right shoulder tendinitis

Shae Simmons (P) - 60-day DL - Flexor strain, right forearm

Drew Smyly (P) - 60-day DL - Left elbow surgery - out for season

Astros

Will Harris (RHP) - 10-day DL - Right shoulder inflammation. He was placed on the DL on Friday retroactive to July 11.

Collin McHugh (RHP) - 10-day DL - “dead arm” - McHugh made a rehab start on Sunday. He allowed three unearned runs on four hits over 4 13 innings in Double-A Corpus Christi.

Dallas Keuchel (LHP) - 10-day DL - Neck discomfort - Keuchel is scheduled to make a rehab start with Double-A Corpus Christin on Monday.