ASTROS @ BRAVES
July 4-5, 2017
Happy Independence Day, everybody.
What happened in the last series?
The Astros (56-27) rebounded from an opening-game thrashing to take two out of three from the Yankees. David Paulino got popped for PEDs and solidified Francis Martes’s slot in the rotation until pretty much everyone returns from injury. Morton finished up his rehab assignment and will pitch later this week. McHugh started his rehab assignment.
The Braves (40-41) spent the month of June crawling out of the NL East cellar and now sit in second place after sweeping the A’s over the weekend. Eight games out of the division lead and seven games out of the wild card, it’s unlikely they’ll be in the hunt for anything more than a pat on the back, but stranger things have happened.
Tuesday, July 4 – 6:35pm CDT
Brad Peacock (5-1, 2.72) vs. Sean Newcomb (1-2, 1.48)
Peacock overcame six walks to make it through five innings and qualify for a win against the A’s last Thursday. He did not pitch in either of the May games against the Braves, and has very limited work against their lineup (only 15 total ABs).
The lefty Newcomb made his major league debut in mid-June and has been pretty damn solid – all four of his starts are quality starts, albeit against some pretty lackluster-at-best offensive teams: the Mets (13th in MLB in runs scored), Marlins (20th), Giants (28th), and Padres (30th). He throws a fastball that can touch 99, a low-80s changeup, and a curve, all with average-to-plus stuff and average control. Of course, all of this means he’ll throw seven shutout innings against the Astros.
Wednesday, July 5 – 6:35pm CDT
Lance McCullers Jr. (7-1, 2.69) vs. Jaime Garcia (2-6, 4.35)
LMJ battled through 5.1 tough innings against the Yankees, a game which got out of hand very quickly once the bullpen took over. Like Peacock, McCullers didn’t pitch in the short ATL series earlier this year and their lineup only has nine ABs against him.
Garcia did pitch in that series against the Astros and gave up four runs in six innings. Since then he got his ERA down as low as 3.16, but that was before his last three starts in which he’s allowed a total of 18 runs on 21 hits and 5 yacks in just 16 innings.