Washington Nationals (75-48 SU, 62-61 RL, 56-61-6 O/U) vs. Houston Astros (76-49 SU, 65-60 RL, 63-54-8 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, August 24, 2017, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 8:10 pm ET
Lines: Houston -134, Washington +124; Over/Under: 7.5
It’s the conclusion of a three game interleague series between two of the top teams in the majors in the Lone Star State. The Washington Nationals are on the road as they battle the Houston Astros Thursday night. Washington won the opening game of the series, taking a 4-3 victory Tuesday night. The pitching matchup for the middle game of the series Wednesday saw Edwin Jackson take the mound for Washington against Houston’s Mike Fiers. First pitch in the contest was scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.
Washington Nationals Biding Time for Postseason
Washington won the opening game of this series, which marked their fourth victory in five games. The Nationals are comfortably ahead in the NL East, holding a 13.5 game edge entering Wednesday. After spotting Houston single runs in each of the first three innings, Washington blanked Houston over the final six frames. Anthony Rendon (run) had two hits for the Nationals while Matt Wieters and Howie Kendrick each drove in a pair of runs. Wieters hit his ninth homer of the season in the fourth inning to give Washington a lead they would not relinquish. Tanner Roark (10-8) got the win after going 5.2 innings: he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for his 12th save.
Stephen Strasburg takes the hill for his 22nd start of the season for the Nationals in this contest. He comes in 10-4 with a 3.24 ERA, a 1.104 WHIP, 38 walks and 149 strikeouts over 127.2 innings of work this season. Strasburg took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against the Padres Saturday. He allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts over six innings in a 3-1 Nationals defeat. That was his first start since leaving an outing against Arizona on July 23 and going on the disabled list with a nerve impingement. Strasburg is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, five walks and 21 strikeouts over 15 innings in his last three starts. He makes his third career start against the Astros in this contest: he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.111 WHIP over nine innings of work. In his 178th major league start, Strasburg pitches at Minute Maid Park for the first time.
Houston Astros Trying to Hold On to AL’s Top Record
Houston continues to muddle through since the All Star break as they fell short in the opener of the set Tuesday night. The Astros entered Wednesday four games ahead of the Red Sox and 6.5 ahead of Cleveland for the top spot in the American League. Josh Reddick (two RBI) was the lone Astros player with multiple hits as he had three. Derek Fisher drove in the other run for Houston as the team finished 3 of 11 with runners in scoring position. Charlie Morton (10-6) took the loss on the mound as he allowed four runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts over six innings of work.
Dallas Keuchel makes his 17th start of the year for the Astros in this contest, looking to get back on track. He is 11-2 with a 2.58 ERA, a 1.086 WHIP with 30 walks and 86 strikeouts over 101.1 innings so far this year. Keuchel picked up the victory in his last start, which came at home against the A’s Friday night. He threw seven innings, allowing no runs on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts in a 3-1 Astros win. Keuchel is 2-1 with a 4.58 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP, seven walks and 12 strikeouts over 17.2 innings in his last three starts. He makes his third career start against the Nationals in this contest. He is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA and a 2.091 WHIP over 11 innings of work against them. Keuchel is 35-19 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.124 WHIP over 77 appearances, 71 starts, totaling 492 innings at Minute Maid Park in his career.
- Nationals are 1-4 in their last 5 interleague road games vs. a team with a winning record
- Astros are 9-2 in their last 11 vs. National League East
Expect a high quality pitcher’s duel in this one as a pair of top notch starters take the hill. Keuchel has won back to back starts after struggling in his first three starts off the DL. Strasburg had a quality start in his last outing despite taking the loss in San Diego. Even with a pair of powerhouse offenses involved, this one is more than worth the price of admission. Houston, even with Carlos Correa missing from the lineup, gets the slight nod in this contest.