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Houston Visits the Los Angeles Dodgers — Series Preview

Houston and Los Angeles face off three times in the City of Angels.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels
Dodgers catcher Will Smith.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season matchup between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers is not what we thought it would be.

Prior to the season, each contender was thought of as the prime threat to get to the World Series. Nearly halfway through the campaign, the Dodgers are four games out of first, while Houston is five.

Houston just closed up a nine-game homestand with a disappointing four victories. That includes their last two contests, against the New York Mets. In the series finale, the Astros endured a 10-8 barnburner as Cristian Javier, Seth Martinez, and Rafael Montero were all touched. Most of the rest of the bullpen appeared as well, with Phil Maton striking out three in 1 13 innings. For those counting, Maton is carrying a 0.84 WHIP and 10.2 K/9.

Luckily for Houston’s pitching staff, the lineup brought enough lumber to weather the storm. Alex Bregman led the way with three singles, while Mauricio Dubón pitched in with a pair of doubles. Chas McCormick (7) and Yainer Díaz (7) each went deep with a man on base.

In their most recent action, the Los Angeles Dodgers swept a short two-game roadtrip against the Los Angeles Angels, by matching 2-0 final scores. In the finale Wednesday night, Freddie Freeman (14) and Miguel Vargas (7) provided all the offense the Dodgers would need with solo home runs. Despite being a “bullpen” game, seven pitchers combined for eight strikeouts, four walks, and only two hits surrendered.

The last time Houston and Los Angeles played each other was a two-game series on August 3 and 4, 2021. The two split the series, with LA winning the finale 7-5 despite homers from Kyle Tucker (21), Michael Brantley (7) and Carlos Correa (17). Jake Odorizzi (4-6, 4.95) took the loss by giving up seven runs in three innings.

All-Time Head-to-Head

Houston carries a 328-394 all-time record versus the Dodgers. The resultant .454 winning percentage is their fourth worst against an opponent. The Astros are also 6-6 in postseason play versus the Dodgers, including Houston’s seven-game win over the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.

Standings

Houston Astros: 41-34, .547, second in the American League West. Fifth in the AL, in possession of the final wildcard position. 10th in MLB. On pace for 89-73. Last 10: LWWLLLLLWW. Playoff Odds: 63.6 percent (B/R).

Los Angeles Dodgers: 41-33, .554, third in the National League West. Fifth in the NL, in possession of the second wildcard position. Tied for eighth in MLB. On pace for 90-72. Last 10: WLWLWLLLWW. Playoff Odds: 92.0 percent (B/R).

Team leaders

BA: Freddie Freeman .323, Will Smith .293, Mauricio Dubon .292, Yordan Alvarez .277, Kyle Tucker .274

OBP: Will Smith .408, Freddie Freeman .403, Yordan Alvarez .388, Mookie Betts .359, Kyle Tucker .349

SLG: Yordan Alvarez .589, J.D. Martinez .571, Freddie Freeman .558, Mookie Betts .502, Will Smith .500

OPS: Yordan Alvarez .977, Freddie Freeman .961, Will Smith .908, J.D. Martinez .871, Mookie Betts .861

HR: Max Muncy 18, Mookie Betts & Yordan Alvarez 17, J.D. Martinez 16, Freddie Freeman 14

RBI: Yordan Alvarez 55, J.D. Martinez 48, Freddie Freeman 47, Max Muncy 45, Alex Bregman 44

Walks: Mookie Betts 41, Alex Bregman & Max Muncy 39, Freddie Freeman & Will Smith 36

SB: Kyle Tucker 14, Corey Julks 11, Freddie Freeman 10, Jeremy Peña 8, James Outman & Chris Taylor 7

ERA: Framber Valdez 2.27, Clayton Kershaw 2.72, Cristian Javier 3.25, Hunter Brown 3.78

WHIP: Framber Valdez 1.00, Clayton Kershaw 1.10, Cristian Javier 1.12, Hunter Brown 1.22

K: Framber Valdez 104, Clayton Kershaw 103, Hunter Brown 90, Cristian Javier 77, Bryan Abreu 55

Injury report

José Urquidy (right shoulder) threw 17 pitches in the bullpen before Houston’s last game.

In four days, Michael Brantley (right shoulder) will have been out of action for a full calendar year.

Yordan Alvarez (oblique) is expected back in mid-July or later.

Luis Garcia & Lance McCullers Jr. will be back sometime in 2024.

Odds

Dodgers at -150, Astros at +128. Dodgers favored by 1 12 runs, with an over/under of nine runs.

Gametime & Starting Pitchers

Tonight at 9:10 PM CT — J.P. France (2-2, 3.42) vs. Emmet Sheehan (0-0, 0.00)
Tomorrow at 6:15 PM CT — Ronel Blanco (1-0, 4.66) vs. Bobby Miller (3-1, 2.83)
Sunday at 6:10 PM CT — Hunter Brown (6-4, 3.78) vs. Tony Gonsolin (4-2, 2.92)

Who’s hot (highest WPA vs. Mets)
Alex Bregman (.346)
Framber Valdez (.305)
Corey Julks (.217)
Chas McCormick (.178)
Ryan Pressly (.140)

Who’s not (lowest WPA vs. Mets)
Jake Meyers (-.106)
Rafael Montero (-.126)
Phil Maton (-.141)
Hunter Brown (-.300)
Cristian Javier (-.343)

Common Thread

J.D. Martinez played in Houston from 2011 through 2013, hitting .251/.300/.387 with 24 homers and 126 RBI. Since leaving, he’s been selected to five All Star teams, won two silver sluggers, led the majors with 130 RBI and 358 total bases in 2018, and led the majors with 42 doubles in 2021. He has a non-Astros slashline of .295/.362/.547 and has hit 258 home runs with 773 RBI. He’s hitting .257 with 16 jacks and 48 RBI for LA this year.

Franchise leaderboard check

Runs
3) Lance Berkman 1008
4) Jose Altuve 1002

44) Gerald Young 249
45) Kyle Tucker 245

Hits
3) Jose Altuve 1958

18) Carlos Lee 894
19) Alex Bregman 889

Doubles
36) Adam Everett & Yordan Alvarez 102
38) Denis Menke 101
39) Kyle Tucker 100

Home Runs
5) Jose Altuve 195

24) Kevin Bass 87
25) Kyle Tucker 82

45) Josh Reddick 48
46) Denny Walling & Martin Maldonado 47

RBI
35) Craig Reynolds & Marvin Gonzalez 300
37) Kyle Tucker 297

SB
3) Jose Cruz 288
4) Jose Altuve 283

22) Phil Garner & Willy Taveras 68
24) Kyle Tucker 67

44) Kazuo Matsui 40
45) Alex Bregman 39

Walks
47) Al Spangler 175
48) Kyle Tucker 173

Wins
22) Lance McCullers Jr. 49
23) Framber Valdez 48

Saves
4) Ryan Pressly 90

Strikeouts
25) Bob Bruce 609
26) Gerrit Cole 602
27) Framber Valdez 601

39) Ken Johnson 471
40) Cristian Javier 455

Poll

How many wins will Houston "steal" from LA?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    All three
    (14 votes)
  • 37%
    Two
    (36 votes)
  • 39%
    One
    (38 votes)
  • 8%
    Zero (explain why you’re wrong below)
    (8 votes)
96 votes total Vote Now