Friday, June 2, 2023
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MLB Preview: Houston Astros (16-15) at Seattle Mariners (15-16)


TONIGHT’S GAME: The Astros and Mariners will play the first game of their three-game series in Seattle tonight with a pitching matchup of RHP Cristian Javier and RHP Luis Castillo… Javier has been consistent for the Astros this season, as he’s not allowed more than three runs in five of his six starts this season.

MR. CRISTIAN: RHP Cristian Javier is coming off a stellar 2022 season as a key member of the Astros WS championship run…in the regular season (11-9, 2.54), among pitchers with 140+ innings pitched, he posted the lowest opponent batting average in the AL (.170) and also ranked 2nd in K’s per 9.0 (11.74) and 4th in WHIP (0.95)…his 11.74 K’s per 9.0 ratio trailed only RHP Shohei Ohtani (11.87) (min. 140 IP)…Javier was then dominant in the postseason, going 2-0 with an 0.71 ERA (1ER/12.2IP) and combining on just the 2nd no-hitter in WS history in Game 4 at PHI (6 IP, 0 H, 9 SO).

WEDNESDAY’S RECAP: The Astros fell to the Giants on Wednesday at Minute Maid, 4-2…LHP Framber Valdez (2ER/6IP) made the start for Houston and tossed his sixth consecutive quality start…3B Alex Bregman went 1×4 with a 2-run home run, marked his first home run at Minute Maid Park this season.

ON THE BUMP: The Astros rank second in the Majors in team ERA (3.20), trailing only the Rays (2.87)…their bullpen ERA of 2.85 ranks fourth in the AL, while their starter’s ERA of 3.43 ranks third in the AL.

TAXI SQUAD: RHP J.P. France was placed on the Major League taxi squad.

UNDER THE RADAR: RHP Phil Maton and RHP Bryan Abreu have been outstanding in the early going this season…Maton has allowed just four hits and two runs in his first 13 appearances (16 IP) with 17 strikeouts…opponents are just 4×52 (.077) vs. him (RHH are 1×22, LHH are 3×30)…Abreu has tallied 24 strikeouts in his 15.1 IP while allowing just two earned runs for a 1.17 ERA, and also posting a .120 opponent average (6×50).

LATE ATTACK: The Astros offense has come alive late in games this season, producing 64 runs in the 7th inning or later, which ranks second in the Majors trailing only the Dodgers (68)…the Astros top two innings, in terms of runs scored, this season have been the 7th (25 runs) and the 8th (22 runs).

FIRST TURN RANKINGS: The Astros have several players currently ranking within the top 10 in the AL…LF Yordan Alvarez ranks fourth in RBI (27), 10th in OBP (.383)…3B Alex Bregman ranks tied for third in walks (21), while RF Kyle Tucker ranks tied for seventh in walks (19)…also 2B Mauricio Dubón ranks 10th in batting average (.303).

TRAFFIC:LF Yordan Alvarez has opened his season by reaching base safely in all 25 of his games, which ties the franchise record for a start-of-season streak…it’s been reached three times previously (Alex Bregman in 2020, Jordan Schafer in 2012, Denis Menke in 1969)…it is also the the longest streak in the AL this season…going back to last season, Alvarez has reached base safely in a career-long 29 straight games.

SUPER SUB: 2B Mauricio Dubón has made 26 starts at second base this season, filling in for 2B Jose Altuve…Dubón has produced a .303 (33×109) average this season, which ranks 10th in the AL, and is coming off a 20-game hitting streak, which was snapped on April 28…his hit streak is the longest in the Majors this season and ranks as the longest in club history before May 1…it was also the longest streak by an Astro since OF Hunter Pence had a 23-game streak in 2011.

WORKING THEIR WAY BACK: The Astros have a pair of out- fielders rehabbing with minor league affiliates:
• LF Michael Brantley, on the IL while recovering from right shoulder surgery, is currently on an injury rehab assignment with Triple A Sugar
Land…he’s played in seven games so far, hitting .316 (6×19) with seven walks and four RBI in seven starts (5 in LF, 2 at DH) for the Space Cowboys…on Wednesday, Brantley went 0x1 with two walks an one RBI.

• OF Chas McCormick, on the IL with lower back tightness, began an injury rehab assignment with Double A Corpus Christi on Saturday and has played in four games for the Hooks so far…in those contest, he is 2×10 with three walks and a stolen base in his four starts.

ASTROS YOUTH ACADEMY: The Astros Youth Academy is set to hold tryouts for Nike Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) free summer baseball and softball leagues over multiple dates in May, with the first tryout date set for tomorrow, May 6 at the Astros Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner pre-register for the tryouts, visit,

LAST START – 4/29 VS. PHI: made his 1st start against the Phillies since beginning the combined no-hitter against them in Game 4 of the 2022 World Series…allowed 3 runs on 7 hits through 5.2 IP, striking out 6 batters and walking one.

IN CONTROL: is 12th of AL starters with an average of 1.87 walks per nine innings this season…has allowed 2-or-less walks in each of his six starts this year.

LEAGUE LEADERBOARD: his 3.48 ranks 16th among AL starters…is 1 of 3 Astros starters inside the top 16 in the AL, along with RHP Hunter Brown and LHP Framber Valdez, who are T-9th in the AL with 2.60 ERAs.

SLIDE PIECE: is averaging a career-best spin rate of 2564 rpm with his slider…is the 5th-highest mark of AL starters this season.

VS. SEA: did not appear in the 3-game 2022 American League Division Series vs. Seattle last season…has posted good numbers vs. the American League West counterpart throughout his career, recording a 2.08 ERA through 7 career outings (4 starts)… has held Seattle to a .172 batting average (6×87) in his career…the Astros have won in 5 of Javier’s 7 career appearances against the Mariners.

INVISIBALL: has held opponents to a .185 average (223×1206) throughout his MLB career…it’s the lowest opponent’s batting average (min. 300 IP) of any MLB pitcher since entering the league in ‘20…the next-closest players are CLE Triston McKenzie (.196) and MIL Corbin Burnes (.197).


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