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Detroit Tigers Visit Houston: Series Preview

Diving deep on Houston’s second series of the season.

MLB: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 7:10 PM CST, the Houston Astros will host the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a three-game series.

The last time the Astros faced the Tigers was from September 12 through 14 last season. Houston swept the series, outscoring Detroit 15-4. In the series capper, Cristian Javier struck out eight, walked none, and allowed two hits over six shutout innings on the way to a 2-1 victory.

Houston is coming off a four-game, season-opening split against the Chicago White Sox. Houston lost the opener 3-2, won the middle two, 6-3 and 6-4, then lost the finale yesterday afternoon, 6-3. Thus far on the season, Houston has managed to hit just .227 while the pitching staff allowed Chicago to hit .296.

In yesterday’s game, Houston fell behind 3-0 before scoring a run in the sixth. By the bottom of the ninth, trailing 6-1, they managed another pair before Reynaldo López got the final out with a pair of runners on base.

Detroit is coming off a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, a series in which the Tigers failed to secure a win. Detroit was outscored 21-3 in the series, hitting .147 while allowing the Rays to hit .278.

All Time Head-to-Head

Houston leads the all-time series, 43-to-33 for a .566 winning percentage.


Houston Astros: 2-2, .500, third in the AL West, 1 GB, 0.5 WCGB, tied for eighth in the AL, tied for 13th in MLB, on pace for 81-81, 77.1 percent playoff odds

Detroit Tigers: 0-3, .000, tied for fourth in the AL Central, 3 GB, 2 WCGB, tied for 14th in the AL, tied for 29th in MLB, on pace for 0-162, 2.3 percent playoff odds

Team leaders

Yordan Alvarez .455, Jose Abreu .375, Kyle Tucker .286

Alvarez & Tucker, 1

Alvarez 5, Tucker 4, Abreu, David Hensley 2

Chas McCormick 3

Injury report
Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm strain)
Parker Mushinski
Blake Taylor
Jose Altuve (thumb)
Michael Brantley (shoulder)

Gametime and starting pitchers:
April 3, 7:10 PM CT: Hunter Brown (2-0, 0.89) vs. Matthew Boyd (39-62, 4.90)
April 4, 7:10 PM CT: Framber Valdez (41-23, 3.34) vs. Matt Manning (6-10, 4.79)
April 5, 1:10 PM CT: Eduardo Rodriguez (69-45, 4.16) vs. Cristian Javier (20-12, 3.08)

I didn't have the actual starting lineup when I wrote this last night, but this is my best guess.

Starting lineup

Houston Astros
SS Jeremy Peña
3B Alex Bregman
DH Yordan Alvarez
1B Jose Abreu
RF Kyle Tucker
CF Chas McCormick
2B David Hensley
C Yainer Diaz
LF Corey Jules

Detroit Tigers
3B Nick Maton
CF Riley Greene
SS Joan Báez
RF Kerry Carpenter
LF Austin Meadows
1B Spencer Torkelson
DH Miguel Cabrera
2B Zach McKinstry
C Eric Haase

Who’s hot

Yordan Alvarez (.785) started the season playing in the first three games before taking Sunday off. He’s five-for-11 with a home run and five RBI.

Kyle Tucker (.505) is four-for-14 with four walks, a homer, four RBI and a stolen base.

Chas McCormick (.337) started in centerfield for the two final games of the series, going two-for-five with three walks, an RBI, and three stolen bases.

Framber Valdez (.272) started on Opening Day and struck out four over five shutout innings.

Hector Neris (.235) has allowed five baserunners in 2 13 innings, but has also struck out four and earned Houston’s first save of the season.

Who’s not

Mauricio Dubon (-.258) started his season one-for-seven through his first two appearances, both starts at second base.

Jake Meyers (-.269) started on Thursday and Friday, and has gone 0-for-6 with a walk and four strikeouts.

In two games, Yainer Diaz (-.312) has gone 0-for-6 with a walk, a run, and a pair of strikeouts.

Alex Bregman (-.391) is 0-for-16 with seven strikeouts, a pair of walks, and a run.

Ryan Pressly (-.416) blew a save in the season opener, allowing a pair of runs on two hits and a walk. He hasn’t appeared in another game since. Dusty Baker said he Pressly has been feeling under the weather.

Franchise leaderboard check


Alex Bregman’s first appearance in the series is his 810th as an Astro, moving him into 26th past Marwin Gonzalez on Houston’s All-TIme leaderboard.

With a pair of doubles, Yordan Alvarez will tie Moises Alou in 41st with 93. Kyle Tucker needs one double to move past Dickie Thon and Rafael Ramirez into 47th on the leaderboard, with his 86th.

Alvarez’ next home run will be his 100th. He will be three behind franchise number 17, a tie between Hunter Pence and Ken Caminiti.

Alvarez will tie Tony Eusebio in 43rd with his next walk, number 182.


If Framber Valdez wins his start it will be his 42nd tying him with Jim Ray and Bob Bruce for 30th.

With his next appearance, Ryan Pressly will tie Danny Darwin in 28th with his 220th. His next save, his 77th, will move him past Fred Gladding into sole possession of fourth on Houston’s all-time list.

With 13 of an inning, Valdez will tie Andy Petite in 42nd with 519 23.

Cristian Javier, currently tied with Scott Elation in 45th with 384 strikeouts, will pass Joaquin Andujar into 44th with five more strikeouts.


Triple-A: The Sugar Land Space Cowboys are 2-1 after their season opening series against the El Paso Chihuahuas. They’ll start a six-game set against the Round Rock Express on Tuesday at 6:05 PM CT.

Double-A: The Corpus Christi Hooks will begin their season at 7:05 PM CT on Thursday against the Arkansas Travelers.

High-A: The Asheville Tourists will begin their season at 5:35 PM CT on Thursday against the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Single-A: The Fayetteville Woodpeckers begin their season at 6:05 PM CT on Friday against the Carolina Mudcats.