Series Preview: Houston Astros

Dilip Vishwanat

Carlos Pena Returns To St.Petersburg To Take On The Rays

The Rays will welcome back Carlos Pena and his Houston Astros to their only visit to Tropicana Field this season. The Astros enter the weekend with a major league worst record of 32-59.

The series begins on tonight at 7:10 p.m. and David Price (3-4, 4.18 ERA) will take on Jarred Cosart who will be making his major league debut. On Saturday afternoon at 4:10 p.m. Roberto Hernandez (4-10, 4.93 ERA) will take on left hander Dallas Keuchel (4-5, 4.59 ERA). The series finale will be Sunday at 1:40 p.m. when Chris Archer (3-3, 3.59 ERA) will oppose left hander Erik Bedard.

The Offense

The Astros rank near the bottom of the American League in most offensive categories. They have scored the second fewest runs (368), have the lowest batting average (.236), on-base percentage (.296), and slugging percentage (.377). Their all-star representative is catcher Jason Castro who has put up a respectable slash line of .266/.330/.474 with a wOBA of .345 and a wRC+ of 119. Chris Carter leads the team in home runs with 18, RBI 47, and runs scored with 43.

Name PA PA HR RBI SO AVG AVG OBP SLG OPS wOBA wRC+
Brandon Barnes 228 228 4 19 63 0.239 0.239 0.299 0.341 0.641 0.286 78
Carlos Corporan 118 118 5 11 37 0.283 0.283 0.350 0.453 0.803 0.353 125
Carlos Pena 313 313 8 25 84 0.213 0.213 0.327 0.360 0.686 0.304 91
Chris Carter 330 330 18 47 122 0.229 0.229 0.327 0.472 0.799 0.345 119
J.D. Martinez 257 257 7 34 69 0.255 0.255 0.281 0.399 0.680 0.294 84
Jason Castro 321 321 12 31 76 0.266 0.266 0.330 0.474 0.804 0.345 119
Jimmy Paredes 110 110 1 8 38 0.178 0.178 0.229 0.248 0.477 0.215 30
Jose Altuve 376 376 3 28 50 0.284 0.284 0.320 0.358 0.678 0.294 84
Justin Maxwell 108 108 1 6 27 0.235 0.235 0.306 0.367 0.673 0.298 87
Marwin Gonzalez 188 188 4 14 33 0.230 0.230 0.250 0.339 0.589 0.257 59
Matt Dominguez 323 323 11 45 51 0.225 0.225 0.255 0.381 0.636 0.274 70
Robbie Grossman 131 131 0 3 31 0.198 0.198 0.310 0.243 0.553 0.262 62
Ronny Cedeno 150 150 1 12 40 0.221 0.221 0.262 0.301 0.564 0.250 54

The Bullpen

Lucas Harrell has been moved out of the starting and joins the bullpen. The rest of the bullpen is as follows: Jose Veras (Closer), Wesley Wright (LHP), Jose Cisnero, Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholtzer (LHP), Josh Fields, and Travis Blackley (LHP)

Name ERA FIP HLD BS IP HR K% BB% AVG LOB%
Jose Cisnero 2.87 3.07 5 1 37.2 2 22.70% 9.80% 0.259 76.20%
Jose Veras 3.29 3.61 0 3 38.1 4 27.00% 9.20% 0.193 77.50%
Josh Fields 5.93 5.85 3 0 13.2 4 17.90% 3.60% 0.259 67.30%
Paul Clemens 5.19 5.54 7 1 43.1 10 18.10% 8.00% 0.254 71.10%
Rhiner Cruz 4.40 5.93 1 0 14.1 2 9.00% 13.40% 0.345 80.20%
Travis Blackley 5.02 6.35 11 0 28.2 7 19.50% 13.00% 0.236 80.80%
Wesley Wright 4.41 3.92 7 3 32.2 4 20.70% 6.20% 0.286 72.10%

The Starting Pitchers

Jarred Cosart (Major League Debut)

Jarred Cosart is one of many Astros prospects who could be getting called up in the coming weeks. He is their top ranked pitching prospect and is taking Lucas Harrell's spot in the rotation. The 23-year old was one of the players acquired from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011. He has spent the season pitching for Triple-A Oklahoma City where he went 7-4 with a 3.29 ERA striking out 93 hitters in 93 innings but walked 50 batters (1 intentional). He was ranked on Baseball America's Top 100 as the 89th best prospect in baseball prior to the 2013 season.

Dallas Keuchel (4-5, 4.59 ERA)

Made 4 quality starts in June posting an ERA of 2.59 (7ER/24.1 IP). Faced the Rays on July 1st and was charged with 5R/ER in just 4.2 innings of work in a 12-0 Rays victory. His last start was on July 6th against the Texas Rangers and he worked 5 innings allowing 2R/ER on 6 hits striking out 4 and walking 1. Ian Malinowski summed up Keuchel in the last Series Preview:

Keuchel is a 25 year old, soft-tossing, groundball-inducing, control lefty with an incredibly deep assortment of pitches. - Ian Malinowski

Erik Bedard (3-5, 4.67 ERA)

Like Keuchel, Bedard had a nice June making 5 starts and posted a 3-2 record with an ERA of 3.19 (11ER/31IP) but he allowed 4 ER in just 5.1 innings during his start against the Rays on July 2nd. Since last appearing against the Rays he made a start against Texas allowing 5 ER in 6.1 innings of work.

Bedard is a crafty lefty who will dance in and out of danger. More often than not he is going to give the Astros a fighting chance. He has held the opposition to 3ER or less in 10 of his 15 starts and 2 ER or less in 9 of those starts.

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