It’s hard to complain about splitting a four-game series with Detroit. The Tigers were one of the first winning teams the Astros have played and have a strong lineup. That said, it’s hard to shake the feeling that they should have won the series 3-1. The late comeback on Thursday was really fun to watch, and I guess Tony Sipp was just due for a long ball. Too bad.
If nothing else, though, the Detroit series should send a clear message to everyone that these Astros do not lay down and give up. Even in games where they have been trailing late (5-0 in the 7th on Thursday, 2-1 in the 6th on Saturday, 7-3 in the 6th on Sunday) they’ve found a way to close the gap. Evan Gattis and George Springer are starting to heat up and Preston Tucker has been nails, especially off the bench. Lance McCullers has turned in two solid starts. There’s a lot to like about how things are going right now.
The reigning AL East champions are currently sitting at 4th place and three games under .500. The Orioles just dropped two out of three to the last-place Marlins, including a game in which the O’s scored no runs on nine hits. I swore for a minute that I was looking at a box score from certain past Astros teams. Nonetheless, Baltimore will be sending some decent pitching to the mound in this series, so the Astros still have their work cut out for them.
Monday, May 25, 12:35pm CDT
Dallas Keuchel (6-0, 1.67) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (1-3, 2.90)
Chen has an impressive string of outings, with five straight appearances of at least six innings. His biggest problem has been run support; he is 1-2 during those five appearances, although the team as a whole was 3-2. He has not lost to the Astros and has otherwise good numbers – notably, 17 K’s in about as many innings – but previous years’ comparisons hardly seem valid this year.
Keuchel pitched a gem his last time out, recovering nicely from his last two shaky outings that still resulted in wins. This will be an interesting lefty-lefty matchup to watch.
Tuesday, May 26, 6:05pm CDT
Scott Feldman (3-4, 5.17) vs. Chris Tillman (2-5, 6.10)
This game could have some fireworks. Tillman has been beaten up a lot this year, with three games of at least five earned runs, and has lost four straight decisions over five games. He has also not had great run support, even in the games in which he has pitched well. He only got three innings of work in his last game against Seattle due to a rain delay.
Feldman has continued his Jekyll and Hyde routine of combining big innings with otherwise lockdown pitching. He played a big part in the Astros falling behind 5-0 to Detroit last Thursday, but ended up with a no-decision.
Wednesday, May 27, 6:05pm CDT
Collin McHugh (5-2, 4.06) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 2.82)
Jimenez is coming off of an outing in which he gave up seven hits and three runs in only four innings. He had a similar appearance earlier this month. That said, he’s thrown seven innings and two runs or less four times, so he’s certainly capable of putting together a good game. Depends on what kind of mood the bats are in on Wednesday.
McHugh has been hittable lately, but didn’t get much help from the offense against the Tigers on Friday. He pitched well against the O’s last year in his only appearance against Baltimore to date, so there’s not a lot of history to go off of.
Astros take the series 2-1.