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Game Preview, Aug 11, 2020, Giants @ Astros

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Astros try to stay on track after last night’s win over Giants.

San Francisco Giants v Houston Astros Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

After I, for one, was about to give up on Lance McCullers, he had one of the strongest starts of his career last night: seven innings, no runs, one hit, five Ks, no walks.

It’s not like the Giants couldn’t hit last night. In the eighth and ninth innings they managed four runs and five hits against Josh James and Ryan Pressly.

Good to see Lance back. Keep it up.

Meanwhile the predicted regression in the A’s pitching happened in a hurry last night, as they allowed ten runs to the Angels and lost 10-9. Somehow 4.5 games behind the A’s doesn’t sound as formidable as 5.5.

If the Astros want tonight’s headline to read, “Astros win second in a row,” rather than, “Astros lose sixth out of their last seven,” they’ll probably need a strong outing from Brandon Bielak. In his first career start in Phoenix he threw five shutout innings even without his best stuff, and we hope he continues to achieve those kind of results today.

So far the 2017, 11th round draft pick out of Notre Dame has allowed only one run in 10.1 innings pitched in this, his debut season in the big leagues.

The Astros will face Tyler Anderson (aka Mr Duck), who in two starts this season has a 2.19 ERA but a rather high 1.46 WHIP. His career ERA in 73 career starts is 4.62.

What’s wrong with Jose Altuve? His wRC+ now sits at 71. For the sabermetric illiterate, that means the former MVP, after 16 games, is hitting 29% worse than league average. His strikeout rate is 21.8%, almost double his career 11.6%. Part of it is bad luck. His BABIP is .196, almost 140 points below his career average.

The Astros actually have five regular or semi-regular starters hitting below .200; Martin Maldonado, Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve, George Springer and Myles Straw.

MLB announced its suspensions for the brawl in Oakland. Kinda surprising. 20 games for Alex Cintron, six for Ramon Laureano. Laureano will appeal.

Tonight’s game is at Minute MaidPark at 8:10, but you can’t go. Join our discussion on our Game Thread, posted shortly before the game.