Houston has the AL West all but locked up at this point. The club has gone 5-5 in their last ten games, and most recently took two out of three against Oakland. In their most recent ten-game stretch they have averaged 3.5 runs per game while allowing 3.4 runs per game. Their pitching has been excellent though their bats seem to be struggling.
Washington just took three games out of four against the Padres. In their last ten games, the team has gone 7-3, scoring an average of 3.3 runs per game and allowing just 2.0 runs per game. Like the Astros, their pitching has been on a roll, but their offense has made little noise recently.
Game 1 Starters – Tanner Roark (RHP) vs Charlie Morton (RHP)
Roark comes into Tuesday with a 4.70 ERA and 1.37 WHIP on the season, along with a 7.50 K/9. The right-hander has been solid for Washington in August. In three starts he has pitched a combined 19.1 innings and allowed seven earned runs, which is good for a 3.26 ERA. In the same spell, he has also allowed ten walks and struck out 11. He has not faced Houston yet this season.
Morton has a 3.69 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 2017. He also sports a career-best 9.98 K/9 and 2.83 K/BB. In his last three games, the righty has gone 19 innings, allowing seven earned runs while striking out 22. Since the beginning of July Houston has gone 5-3 in games he has pitched in. This will be his first start against the Nationals all season.
|Nationals Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|De Aza, RF||0||.125||.200|
|Astros Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
Who’s hot, and who’s not
Wilmer Difo is hitting .308 in August, although he has no RBI. Howie Kendrick has been on a roll, hitting three home runs in his last six games. He has an OPS of 1.124 and 14 RBIs in his last 16 games.
Anthony Rendon’s batting average has dropped below .200 this month. In 18 games he is hitting .193 with an OPS of .616. Matt Wieters has faired even worse. In August he is batting .143 with a .498 OPS in 14 games. He has three hits over his last ten games.
Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman are all hitting over .300 in August for the Astros. Gurriel leads the pack at .347. These three hitters in the heart of Houston’s lineup have combined for ten home runs and 29 RBIs during this span. What is possibly more remarkable is that all together they have struck out just 24 times in 252 plate appearances.
Derek Fisher is batting .160 in August with 18 strikeouts in 58 plate appearances. The outfielder has just four hits in his last ten games, and none of them have been for extra bases. Marwin Gonzalez is on a cold streak. He has a .516 OPS in his last five games, going 3-19 with one walk and six strikeouts.
Prediction: Astros 5 – 2 Nationals
These teams are evenly matched and have played similar ball recently. With both teams struggling offensively though, and Houston throwing out the better starter in Morton, I have to give this one to the Astros tonight. Roark has allowed a .829 OPS against lefties this season, of which Houston has five in their lineup, so I can definitely see their hitters taking this opportunity to bounce back.
Where to watch
Tonight’s game will be broadcast on MSN2 and ATTSW, and streaming on MLB.TV for out of market subscribers.
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