Thursday, June 13, 2024
5-Hour Energy

MLB Preview: Houston Astros (72-58) at Detroit Tigers (59-69)

HOUSTON ASTROS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Astros and Tigers will play the 2nd game of this 3-game set in Detroit tonight at 5:10 p.m. CT… rookie RHP Hunter Brown (9-9) will start for the Astros as he takes on Tigers LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-6)…Familiar Face: Tonight will be the 10th time that the Astros have faced Rodriguez as an opposing starter…HOU is 6-3 in those starts entering tonight…the current Astros roster has combined for 9 career HR vs. Rodriguez in 41.2 innings vs. him.

VS. THE TIGERS: The Astros are 1-3 vs. DET this season…HOU was 7-0 vs. DET in 2022 and have won 8 of their last 11 games vs. the Tigers (21-10 vs. DET since 2018).

IN THE MOTOR CITY: The Astros were 3-0 at Comerica Park last season and have won 5 of their last 8 and 11 of their last 14 games in the Motor City (since 2018).

BROTHER BROWN: Three days shy of his 25th birthday (8/29), rookie RHP Hunter Brown, who was born in Detroit, will make his 24th start (25th app.) of the season tonight and the 2nd of his career at Comerica Park…in his 1st start at Comerica on 9/13/2022, he earned the win in a 6-3 Astros victory (6 IP, 2 ER)…Brown also faced DET in his 1st start of the 2023 season at Minute Maid Park, getting ND in a 7-6 loss (4.2 IP, 4 ER)…AMONG ROOKIES: Among AL rookies, Brown is 1st in IP (128.0) and strikeouts (143) and T-1st with teammate RHP J.P. France in wins (9)…Brown’s 143 K’s are the 6th-most in a season by an Astros rookie and just 1 shy of RHP Roy Oswalt’s 144 K’s his 2001 rookie campaign.

RECENT ROSTER MOVES: Prior to last night’s game, the Astros recalled RHP Ronel Blanco from Triple Sugar Land…he took the roster spot of RHP Brandon Bielak, who was optioned to Triple A after Thursday’s game.

LAST NIGHT’S RECAP: The Astros were walked off by the Tigers last night, 4-1, as DET rallied for 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th…RHP Ryan Pressly (3-4) took the loss in relief (4ER/0.2IP)…a highlight in the game for the Astros was starter LHP Framber Valdez, who hurled 7.0 hitless, scoreless innings, leaving the game with a 1-0 lead…the Astros offense was held to just 1 hit, which was an RBI-single by Jose Altuve.

RARE FEAT: With 7.0 no-hit innings last night, LHP Framber Valdez became the 1st pitcher since 2015 to have 2 outings of 7.0-or-more no-hit innings in the same season…Valdez hurled a 9.0-inning no-hitter vs. CLE on 8/1…the last pitcher with this distinction was Nationals starter RHP Max Scherzer, who hurled two 9.0-inning no-hitters in the same season (6/20/15 vs. PIT; 10/3/15 at NYM)…source: Elias.

THE HORSE: LHP Framber Valdez is 2nd in the AL in IP with 161.2 in 25 starts, but leads the league in IP per start at 6.5… RHP Gerrit Cole leads the AL with 168.0 IP in 27 starts (6.2 IP per start)…Valdez led the AL in IP in 2022 (201.1) and is 2nd in IP since the start of last season with 363.0 in 56 starts (Cole is 1st with 368.2 in 60 starts).

POWER OUTAGE: The 1 hit registered by the Astros offense last night was their fewest since tallying 1 hit vs. RHP Shohei Ohtani and the Angels in a 6-0 loss on 4/20/22 at Minute Maid Park…Ohtani allowed 1 hit over 6.0 scoreless frames with 12 K’s…Astros starter RHP Jake Odorizzi allowed all 6 Angels runs (3 ER) in 0.2 IP…5 Astros relievers combined to hurl 8.1 scoreless innings in the loss.

2K JOSE: On 8/19 vs. SEA, 2B Jose Altuve recorded his 2,000th career hit…he reached 2,000 hits, 200 homers and 200 stolen bases in what was his 1,631st career game… according to MLB Stats, Altuve is the fastest player in MLB history (in terms of games played) to reach at least 2,000 hits, 200 homers and 200 stolen bases…the previous record holder was Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who did so in 1,669 games.

ALTUVE’S HOT STREAK: Since returning from the IL on July 26, 2B Jose Altuve has hit .368 (39×106) in 27 games with a .446 OBP and a .975 OPS.

Highest AL Batting Avg. (since 7/26)

  1. Julio Rodriguez: .397 (46×116)
  2. Bobby Witt Jr.: .378 (42×111)
  3. Jose Altuve: .368 (39×106)

MVP NUMBERS: RF Kyle Tucker leads the AL in RBI (95), while ranking 3rd in OPS (.887) and 4th in SLG (.516)… he’s also one of just three players in the Majors with 25-ormore home runs and steals, joining NL MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. (28 HR, 58 SB) and SS Bobby Witt Jr. (26 HR, 37 SB)…defensively, Tucker, the reigning AL Gold Glove winner, has more starts (121) than any other AL player in right field, and has committed just one error in his 244 total chances….
LEFT-ON-LEFT: Tucker has also been the top LHH in the AL vs. LHP this season, ranking 1st in OPS (.996), and SLG (.602), T-1st in HR (11) and 2nd in batting avg. (.329).

IRON MAN: 3B Alex Bregman leads the AL in games played with 129…he also ranks 3rd in walks (73), T-5th in RBI (83), T-6th in runs (78) and 10th in OBP (.355)…Bregman has already reached 20 HR and is on pace for over 100 RBI, which would give him his third career 100-plus RBI season (2018-19).

YAINER BOMBS: C Yainer Diaz is one of eight rookies in fran- chise history to reach 18 HR in a season…a couple have come in recent years: SS Jeremy Peña (22 in 2022), Yordan Alvarez (27 in 2019, franchise rookie record), Yuli Gurriel (18 in 2017).

ULTIMATE SACRIFICE: C Martin Maldonado tallied his 11th sacrifice bunt of the season last night, which is tops in the AL and T-1st in the Majors…additionally, Maldy’s 11 sac bunts are the most ever in a season by an Astros catcher and the most by a non-pitcher since 2B Kaz Matsui laid down 16 in 2009…the last ML catcher with more sac bunts in a season was Tomas Nido (NYM) with 12 in 2022…the last ML catcher with more than 12 sac bunts was Bobby Wilson (LAA) with 14 in 2012.

OUT ON REHAB: The Astros had two Major League players on injury rehab assignments with Triple A Sugar Land last night: OF Michael Brantley (2×3, RBI) and RHP Phil Maton (0ER/1IP)… Brantley is scheduled to play again for Sugar Land tonight… Maton is scheduled to report to Detroit today, but will not be active for tonight’s game.

TONIGHT’S ASTROS STARTER: RHP HUNTER BROWN
LAST START – 8/20 VS. SEA: handed the loss on Sunday vs. SEA after allowing 6 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks in 2.2 innings…marked the shortest start of his Major league career… tossed 82 pitches in his 2-plus innings of work.

ABOUT BROWN: rookie right-hander has primarily pitched out of the Astros rotation this season, making 24 appearances (23 starts) and pitching 128.0 innings…ranks T-1st on the club in wins, 2nd in innings, 2nd in strikeouts and 3rd in quality starts (11).

  • in his last start, surpassed his career high in innings for a single season…prior to this season, his career high was 126.1 innings reached between Triple A and the Majors in 2022.

ROOKIE LEADERBOARD: according to WAR produced by STATS, Brown has been the 2nd-most valuable rookie pitcher in the AL with a 2.1 WAR, trailing Guardians RHP Tanner Bibee (2.2).

  • leads AL rookie pitchers in innings, strikeouts, and strikeouts per 9.0 (10.05), while ranking T-2nd in wins…including all AL pitchers, ranks 6th in strikeouts per 9.0 (min. 125 IP).
  • is on track to finish in the top 5 in AL Rookie of the Year voting…the Astros have had a top five finisher in 4 straight seasons: SS Jeremy Peña (5th in 2022), RHP Luis Garcia (2nd in 2021), RHP Cristian Javier (3rd in 2020) and LF Yordan Alvarez (1st in 2019).

GROUND CONTROL: ranks 3rd among AL pitchers with a 53.3% ground ball percentage, trailing teammate LHP Framber Valdez (55.5%) and the Red Sox RHP Brayan Bello (55.9%) (min. 125 IP).

DIESEL: is averaging 91.3 mph with his slider, which is the hardest slider thrown in the Majors (min. 120 IP), topping RHP Sandy Alcantara, who throws his slider at 89.9 mph.

VS. DET: this series is a homecoming for Brown, who grew up a Tigers fan and is a native of Detroit…was born and raised and went to grade school (Isaac Jogues Catholic School), high school (Lakeview HS) and college (Wayne State University) in the city.

  • grew up a Tigers fan and a fan of Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who he modeled his pitching delivery after…Brown actually met Verlander as a fifth-grader at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School in Saint Clair Shores, MI, a suburb of Detroit…Verlander and fellow Tiger Carlos Guillén visited the school as part of a radio promotion, won by one of Brown’s classmates.
  • graduated in 2016 from Lakeview HS, which is also in Saint Clair Shores, MI…hit .438 while posting a 1.54 ERA as a senior…after high school, attended Division II Wayne State University, which is also in Detroit…had a breakout junior year in which he went 9-0 with a 2.21 ERA, 3 shutouts, and 114 strikeouts in 85.1 innings.
  • has pitched against the Tigers twice in his career, including once this season…made his 1st start of the 2023 season opposite Detroit on 4/3 in Houston…allowed 4 runs in 4.2 innings.
  • also has a start at Comerica Park, which came on 9/13/22…earned the win that game, tossing 6.0 innings of 2-run ball in the Astros 6-3 win

DETROIT TIGERS NOTES:

TIGERS WALK-OFF ASTROS IN SERIES OPENER: After being limited to just one hit through 8.2 innings, the Tigers rallied for four runs to defeat the Astros, 4-1, last night. After back-to-back singles by Miguel Cabrera and Zach McKinstry, Javier Báez tied the game with a single, followed by Parker Meadows’ walk-off, three-run homer. Matt Manning started for Detroit, allowing just one unearned run on one hit with no walks and three strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Brendan White threw 1.2 hitless innings with three strikeouts in relief, while Alex Lange walked one in a hitless ninth to pick up his sixth win of the season.

OUT OF THE PARKER: Parker Meadows was the hero for Detroit last night, hitting a walk-off, three-run round-tripper for his first Major League homer. He became the first Tiger to hit a walk-off home run for his first big league homer since Riley Greene on July 2, 2022 vs. Kansas City. According to Stats Perform, Meadows is the only MLB player to have a walk-off, three-run homer or grand slam in the bottom of the ninth for his first career RBI since RBI became an official stat in 1920.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT: The Tigers earned their 28th come-from-behind win of the season last night against the Astros. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first time Detroit has won a game after being no-hit through 7.0 innings since September 2, 1987 vs. Cleveland.

KEEP CALM AND KERRY ON: Kerry Carpenter came off the bench last night and had a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning to break up the no-hitter. The base hit extended his streak of reaching base safely to a career-best 21 consecutive games, which is the second-longest active on-base streak in the Majors, trailing only
Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies (23 games). Over his last 21 games, he is batting .397/.463/.822 with four doubles, nine home runs and 19 RBI.

MOVIN’ ON UP: Miguel Cabrera started last night’s game-winning rally with a two-out single. The hit was the 3,150th of his career, two shy of tying Paul Waner (3,152) for 18th in big league history and four away from equaling George Brett (3,154) for 17th. Cabrera’s next RBI will be the 1,869th RBI of his career, which will break a tie with Mel Ott for 11th in MLB history.

HE’S THE MAN(NING): Matt Manning put together one of his best starts of the season last night, giving up just one unearned run on one hit with three strikeouts in 6.1 innings. It marked the fifth time in his career that he has thrown at least 6.0 innings and not allowed an earned run. Manning has surrendered just one earned
run over his last three starts, posting a 0.51 ERA (17.2IP/1ER) with eight hits allowed in that span. AT COMERICA PARK: The Tigers are 2-2 on their current 10-game homestand, which includes three games vs. Chicago (NL) (1-2), three games vs. Houston (1-0) and four games vs. New York (AL) (August 28-31). Detroit is 28-35 at Comerica Park this season. As a team, the Tigers are hitting .246/.311/.383 at home, while the pitching staff has a 4.65 ERA (577.0IP/298ER).

TIGERS AND ASTROS: The Tigers and Astros continue their final series of the season tonight. Detroit has won three of the first four meetings from Houston this season. The Tigers are looking to win the season series from the Astros for the second time in three seasons.

TIGERS ON THE IL:

  • LHP Tyler Alexander (left lat/shoulder strain, 60-day IL on July 4, retroactive to July 3)
  • LHP Matthew Boyd (left elbow sprain, 60-day IL on June 27)
  • RHP Mason Englert (left hip tightness, 15-day IL on July 24, retroactive to July 23)
  • OF Austin Meadows (anxiety, 60-day IL on April 8, retroactive to April 7)
  • RHP Casey Mize (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on February 17)
  • RHP Freddy Pacheco (right elbow sprain, 60-day IL on March 27)

TONIGHT’S TIGERS STARTING PITCHER

57 Eduardo Rodriguez • 9-6, 3.03 ERA (113.0IP/38ER)

  • Rodriguez will make his 20th start of the season tonight vs. Houston.
  • Earned his ninth win of the season on Sunday at Cleveland, allowing a run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
  • Has made nine starts in his career against Houston and has a 1-5record with a 7.34 ERA (41.2IP/34ER) and 39 strikeouts…in 20 career starts at Comerica Park, Rodriguez is 9-6 with a 3.25 ERA (110.2IP/40ER) and 106 strikeouts.
  • Among American League pitchers with at least 110.0 innings pitched, he ranks fourth in ERA (3.03) and FIP (3.00), while he is ninth in WHIP (1.08) and opponent batting average (.227).
  • Threw 7.0 scoreless innings with four hits allowed, three walks and five strikeouts on August 8 vs. Minnesota…was his fifth start this season with at least 7.0 shutout innings, the most such starts by a Tigers pitcher since Justin Verlander, who also had five outings with at least 7.0 scoreless innings in 2013.
  • Since 2018, he has a .663 winning percentage, which ranks fifth among all active Major League pitchers over that span (min. 120 starts).

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