Series Preview #22, vs. Houston Astros

Norm Hall

Arizona comes off a strong stretch of games, trying to wrap up their home stand strong against the AL West-worst Houston Astros.

Writer's Note: It's our first two-game series! For this abridged series, we're getting an abridged preview. And it's okay, because our next series comes against the very same team (as part of a two-game home and home series with Houston).

What's New?

The Diamondbacks are coming off of an impressive series win in their last three-game set, taking two of three games from the Atlanta Braves in close fashion. After dropping the series opener on Friday night by a score of 5-2, the Diamondbacks came through with the bats late in the second game. After being down 2-1 in the ninth inning, it was an Aaron Hill RBI double that tied the ball game, and a Miguel Montero home run in the tenth inning after Atlanta tacked on a run, and then a Gerardo Parra walk-off hit that finally gave Arizona the 4-3 win. In the rubber match, it was rookie right hander Chase Anderson who picked up his record fifth win in his first five starts, giving up two runs in seven innings for the 6-5 win.

The strong offensive performance put Arizona at 11th in the majors in runs scored (265), batting .259 overall as a team. They average 4.09 runs per game at home, improving their overall team batting average to .264 when at Chase Field. Arizona also finally climbed out of the major league cellar in team ERA, improving their mark as a team to 4.47, and 4.71 within their home ballpark. The Diamondbacks have now won two in a row, six of their last ten games, and went 5-1 over their last two series against Colorado and Atlanta. They are now 28-37 overall (11-23 at home), 15 games behind the first place San Francisco Giants in the NL West.

The Astros come into Chase Field for the first time as a member of the American League, and are 24th in the majors in runs scored (236), ironically also batting .236 as a team. They average 3.65 runs per game when on the road, and hit .233 as a team when outside of Minute Maid Park. They're also 25th in baseball in team ERA (4.20), holding batters to a .255 team batting average. They improve to an above-average mark when exclusively on the road, posting a 3.67 team ERA and a .248 batting average.

Houston is coming off of taking two of three games in Minnesota, winning their last two series to go 6-4 in their last ten games. They're 14-18 on the road this season, posting an identical record at home to move to 28-36 overall, 11.5 games behind Oakland for first place in the AL West. Houston currently has the third-worst record in baseball, ahead of just Arizona and Tampa Bay.

On The Mend

Diamondbacks closer Addison Reed did not come in during a save situation Sunday due to a "tired arm", according to Bernie Pleskoff. Right hander Brad Ziegler entered the game in Reed's place, picking up the save in the 6-5 win.

Roster Moves

The Astros recalled left hander Rudy Owens from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday; in a resulting move, Houston optioned right hander Paul Clemens to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Youth Movement: Springer and Singleton

The Astros have taken an unconventional approach to their long rebuild: garner enough first round picks (including the last three top picks) to eventually build around a talented young nucleus. Among the first to reach the majors: outfielder George Springer and first baseman Jon Singleton.

Through his first 47 games, Springer has exploded and already leads the team in home runs (12) and RBIs (35), batting at a .251/.346/.497 clip overall while adding to a lineup that has a couple promising figures in Jose Altuve and Dexter Fowler.

Singleton made news a couple weeks ago, becoming the first player of the Astros' group to sign a five-year extension BEFORE he even made it to the major leagues, prompting his call-up. He would homer for his first major league hit, and has gone 5 for 25 through his first six games at the major league level.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1, Monday 6:40 PT: RHP Jarred Cosart (3-4, 4.18 ERA, 4.13 FIP) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (4-2, 3.81 ERA, 4.34 FIP)

Cosart endured some early season struggles, but has improved to go 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA in his last eight starts. In each of those starts, he has gone at least five innings and has yet to give up more than three earned runs. Collmenter hasn't lost a start since late April, and has been by far Arizona's most consistent pitcher this season. He wash't quite at his best in his last outing (four runs on nine hits in five innings), but received 16 runs of support in order to pick up the win.

Game 2, Tuesday 12:40 PT: RHP Brad Peacock (2-4, 4.53 ERA, 4.24 FIP) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (4-4, 4.45 ERA, 4.49 FIP)

Peacock is 2-3 with a 4.27 ERA in his eight starts since moving into Houston's starting rotation. Houston has, however, won his last three starts, including his last one where he gave up three runs over six innings in a win against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Arroyo appeared to have leveled off just a couple starts ago, but has put together back-to-back poor performances in his last to outings. He's given up nine earned runs in his last two starts, including giving up four runs in 6.1 innings while still picking up the win against the Rockies in his last start.

Series Pick'em

I say the Diamondbacks pick up the two-game sweep here. They're at home (which might not be a good thing for Arizona) against one of the worst teams in baseball. I'd say Collmenter stays consistent and puts together another solid outing, and Peacock is bound to return to the mean (as is Arroyo) and give the Diamondbacks the two wins and a four game winning streak.

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