The Astros are not in a comfortable position. They’ve lost five games in a row and are set to begin a three-game series from Friday to Sunday against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park without key players such as José Altuve, Yordan Álvarez, Alex Bregman, and Martín Maldonado, who are on the COVID-19 IL.
BUT —I bet this is the but you all like— it’s time to be positive, which comes in handy in difficult times. Let’s dive right into three encouraging stats before the series...
José Urquidy is the man
Right-hander José Urquidy will get the ball on Friday night to begin the series. He’s off to a 0-1, 5.23 ERA start in two outings, but he’s just THE MAN to face Seattle and try to stop the infamous losing streak.
Why? Well, the young Mexican has started seven games in his career after an Astros’ loss. In that scenario, he’s 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 37 2⁄3 innings. He’s recorded 29 strikeouts and has given up 22 hits, 11 earned runs, and nine walks.
That 2.63 ERA is more than a run better when compared to his lifetime ERA as a starter (3.77, 14 appearances).
Here’s how Urquidy has performed against the Mariners’ current hitters:
Not to mention lifetime particular series has the Astros dominating 95-57, Houston has pounded the Mariners without mercy in recent years. Since 2019, they’ve won 25 of 29 games against Seattle (.862 winning percentage).
2020: 18-1 (.947 PCT)
2019: 7-3 (.700 PCT)
That includes three shutouts, a 21-1 victory on September 8 last year, and 10 wins by a margin of five-plus runs.
And if it wasn’t enough, the Astros have won 23 of 31 games in T-Mobile Park (former Safeco Field) since 2017. That’s good for a .742 winning percentage. Good numbers to take a breath after being swept by the Tigers.
2020: 1-2 (.333 PCT)
2019: 8-1 (.889 PCT)
2018: 7-3 (.700 PCT)
2017: 7-2 (.778 PCT)
Mariners’ starting pitching hasn’t been okay
If the Mariners are in second place with a 6-5 record (as for Thursday morning), it’s not for their starting pitching, which sits among the worst in the Majors.
Their starting staff owns a 5.85 ERA. That’s the third-worst mark in the MLB, better only than the Cardinals’ 5.91 ERA and the Athletics’ 6.63 ERA. They have a 1.61 WHIP and are giving up 4.47 walks every nine innings.
After 11 starts and 52 1⁄3 innings combined, Chris Flexen is their only guy with a win and Yusei Kikuchi is the only one with an under-4.00 ERA (3.75). Kikuchi, who is slated to start on Friday for Seattle, is 0-2, 6.46 ERA in five career starts against the Astros.