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Game No. 96 Preview: Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles

Good, baseball in Baltimore. I just finished watching The Keepers.

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Houston Astros (63-32) vs. Baltimore Orioles (46-49), July 21, 2017, 6:05 p.m. CT

TV: AT&T SportsNet-SW, MLBN (out-of-market only)
Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM
Online: MLB.TV
Orioles SBNation Blog: Camden Chat


Pitching Matchup

RHP Mike Fiers (6-4, 3.75 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .265 BABIP, 4.26 xFIP) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jiménez (4-5, 7.01 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, .292 BABIP, 4.96 xFIP)

Preview

The Baltimore Orioles are hoping to complete the Texas Two-Step after sweeping the Texas Rangers to start the week. The Astros are moving the opposite direction, Houston only dropped their seventh series this season — dropping 2-of-3 with the Mariners at home.

The Astros will hope to stem the tide with Mike Fiers. Fiers is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA during the month of July. Fiers appeared to have hit a wall after finding a new round of success in June (3-1, 2.32 ERA). He walked eight batters over 10 innings in his first two July starts. But Fiers rebounded in a big way in his most recent start, he struck out 11 and walked none against the Twins.

Fiers has one career start against the Orioles, he allowed one run on five hits over seven innings in 2016 — striking out seven and walking one.

Chris Davis 1-for-2 against Fiers with a home run against Fiers. Wellington Castillo is 1-for-5 with a double and four strikeouts against Fiers. Mark Trumbo is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Adam Jones is 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Ubaldo Jiménez, aka the ambitious contract for the Orioles, he is 1-2 with a 9.88 ERA in three starts during the month of July. He faces the Astros for the second time in 2017, he allowed two earned runs on five hits on May 28. He struck out five and walked none in an 8-4 loss.

The 12-year-veteran is 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 career games (11 starts) against the Astros. He wasn’t made a start against Houston since 2015, he was 0-0 with 4.15 ERA over 13 innings.

Carlos Beltran is 10-for-28 with three home run and three doubles against Jiménez in his career. Brian McCain is 10-for-42 with a home run against Jiménez. Evan Gattis is 4-for-11 with a home run.

Offensive Trends

Jonathan Schoop, Rubén Tejada, and Manny Machado have been swinging a hot stick after the All-Star Break. Schoop is batting .379 (11x29) with three doubles over the last seven games. Tejada is .364 (8x22) with two doubles and two RBIs. Machado is batting .3260 (8x25) with six walks.

Mark Trumbo (.192) and Chris Davis (.154) have been struggling, the pair has struck out 23 times combined over the last seven games.

Jose Altuve is going Jose Altuve things. He is batting .423 (11x26) with two doubles and a home run in the last six games. Evan Gattis is batting .300 with two home runs in his last three games.

Brian McCann is batting .176 (3x17) with five strikeouts over his last four games. Josh Reddick is batting .217 (5x23) with two doubles and six strikeouts.

Bullpen Usage

Orioles

Zach Britton threw 38 pitches over two appearances against the Rangers and threw 68 pitches over four innings this past week.

Donnie Hart (72) and Miguel Castro (75) topped 70-plus pitches over three separate apprentices this past week.

Richard Bleier last appeared on Thursday, throwing 14 pitches over an inning.

Brad Brach (13 pitches), Britton, Darren O’Day (12 pitches), and Castro were used on Thursday before the series with the Astros.

Astros

Astros used two relievers twice during the Mariners series: Luke Gregerson and Reymin Guduan. Gregerson threw 34 pitches over 2 13 innings. Guduan threw 10 pitches over 13 inning.

Ken Giles pitched the ninth inning on Friday (9 pitches), as well as, Chris Devesnki (12 pitches) and Michael Feliz (13 pitches). James Hoyt threw 8 pitches over 23 innings on Saturday.

Francis Martes threw 40 pitches over 2 13 innings.

Disabled List

Orioles

J.J. Hardy (SS) - 10-Day DL - Fractured right wrist.

Mike Wright (P) - 10-Day DL - Right shoulder bursitis.

Ryan Flaherty (3B) - 60-Day DL - Right shoulder tendinitis.

Anthony Santander (LF) - 60-Day DL - Right elbow inflammation.

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 is scheduled to start on Saturday for the Astros.

Dallas Keuchel (LHP) - 10-day DL - Neck discomfort - Keuchel will make a rehab start with Single-A Tri-City on Saturday.