The Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers will conclude a four-game series when they meet one more time at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Thursday night.
Motor City stalling
Whereas Houston has won three in a row, Detroit has lost four straight and is 2-8 in its last 10 contests following Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Astros. The Tigers have scored only 18 runs in their last seven games.
“There was a lot of traffic out there, and before you know it, it kind of took us out of our flow of offense because we were playing so much defense,” manager Ron Gardenhire said of Tuesday’s setback. “And that’s what normally happens.”
Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (1-8, 6.66 ERA) is taking the mound for Detroit on Thursday. Zimmermann has been a disaster this season and he is not getting any better as the home stretch approaches. The 33-year-old has not delivered a quality start since June 30, three times giving up at least six runs in no more than 4.0 innings during this stretch.
Houston outfielder George Springer set a franchise record with his 10th leadoff homer of the season on Tuesday, surpassing the mark he set in 2017. Jose Altuve and Martin Maldonado also went deep for the Astros.
“When we start the game with two homers that’s a great start, and George and Jose both jump-started us a bit,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We don’t have to rely on the homer. I think that’s one of the beauties of this offense. But when we do homer everybody loves it. It’s part of our identity. It’s not our entire identity as an offense.”
We’ve got a new streak! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/qW6matD934
— Houston Astros (@astros) August 21, 2019
Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87 ERA) will oppose on Thursday. The right-hander is a big reason why Houston boasts arguably the most feared rotation in baseball. He has won 14 games with an ERA under 3.00 and is only heating up as the playoffs approach. Cole has delivered a ridiculous 13 quality starts in his last 14 appearances, with the lone exception missing by just a single run (four allowed in 6.0 innings of work). During this stretch, the 28-year-old has surrendered no more than one run in at least 6.0 innings on nine occasions.
The Detroit Tigers are:
- 12-47 in their last 59 overall
- 14-38 in their last 52 road games
- 11-41 in their last 52 games against starters with WHIPs under 1.15
The Houston Astros are:
- 22-9 in their last 31 overall
- 45-15 in their last 60 home games
- 38-14 in their last 52 games against starters with WHIPs over 1.15