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Series Preview: Snakes versus 'Stros

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Since many of us baseball junkies are constantly refreshing our browsers trying to stay abreast of the transactions just like teenage girls following their latest boy band infatuation. We all get to be arnchair GM's while evaluating moves of every franchise. Meanwhile, there are games to be played and starting Friday, we have three with the resurgent Astros (geez, I gotta stop watching so much Sportscenter, its affecting my phrasing). The 'Stros are 7-3 in their last ten (today's game not as of yet included) and are getting it done with pitching and timely hitting. Can our inconsistent bunch hang with them, who knows.... that's why they play the games.

Hank Conger has a bat that shoots baseballs, how cool is that?
Hank Conger has a bat that shoots baseballs, how cool is that?
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MOMENTUM

They're hot being 7-3 in their last 10, we're riding a season best 5 gamer.  We've just bested King Felix.  Will the DBacks continue to bring their lumber to  a very friendly confine of Minute Maid Park?  Will we see Ender or AJ splayed out on Tal's Hill chasing down high flying identified objects?  Does the awesomeness that is Jose Altuve actually fit into Paul Goldschmidt's back pocket?  Is AJ Hinch gleefully rubbing his hands together at the thought of payback unto the ownership team that cast him adrift?  Will the ghost of Craig Biggio imbue the collective gift of intelligent base running upon the Stros?

They have better pitching, we supposedly have better offense....bring the popcorn

PITCHING MATCHUPS - as of now, but could change thanks to the trade deadline deals

Friday - Scott Feldman (4-5/4.54/1.34) vs Rubby De La Rosa (8-5/4.52/1.28)

This would seem to be our best chance as Feldman appears to be somewhat league average, but then again, this is Arizona and you simply never know if/when the "bad" Rubby is going to appear.

Saturday - Dallas Keuchel (12-5/2.32/0.99) vs Jeremy Hellickson (7-6/4.60/1.32)

This guy throws a wicked Hook, my guess is that Hale sends Tomas out on a scavenger hunt this day but it's not just Tomas that has issues with the curveball, it's just that he appears to be the most prominent one who suffers from this malady.  This could be a tough get but hey, we've done alright against some aces, so perhaps I'm being too pessimistic.... no, no I'm not.

Sunday - Collin McHugh (12-5/4.43/1.32) vs. Robbie Ray (3-5/2.70/1.13)

Another guy who throws soft stuff against a guy who has been essentially our best pitcher of late.  This could be the game that determines if we take the series but you know, that could be true of every game and I think I may just be busy racking up my word count......

TACO FACTOR

Minute Maid Park is notorious for allowing all kinds of craziness, with the goofy wall angles and Tal's Hill, this is the kind of park where you see singles turn into doubles, doubles into triples and homers into beautiful unicorns that gallop across pristine fields of flowers.  Because they are facing guys known for their filthiness versus nastiness (movement versus speed) I measure this as a 1 in 3 guestimation.

FAMILIAR FACES

Hey look! There's Chad Qualls and he's not got gasoline poured all over him!  Plus, there's Will Harris and Tony Sipp and they're not even scowling.  Plus there's a familiar face in the dugout and apparently a cold, clinical approach is just the thing to deal with all of this young talent.  Perhaps there's a deft touch involved with simply trotting out so much young talent or maybe there's an element of just letting a wunderkind like Correa just go out and kick patootie by penciling him into the lineup everyday.  I don't know for sure, but I do know that the Astros don't suck like they used to and that they appear to be ahead of schedule for being relevant, which is kind of where we'd like to be, so good on them for ending their collective suckitude.

TRADE UPDATES

With the recent add of both Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, who knows how the team will react.  Will the clubhouse feel that the FO believes in them by bringing reinforcements?  Will Fiers supplant Feldman in the rotation?  Will we see Gomez give them the OF depth that they have needed since Springer went on the DL?  Obviously we miss Kazmir (thankfully it seems after tonight's performance) is this team feeling like they are psyched and ready to catch the Angels?  Can they go toe-to-toe with the Royals?  Their fan base certainly has to be energized as the Astros appeared to be poised to accept that their collective future could actually be NOW.  The converse can also be true, are guys going to feel shunted and selfish as the new guys take away time from players that are just establishing themselves as MLB players, chemistry can be a funny thing... just ask the Dodgers about the excitement that is Yasiel Puig.

WAR GAMES

The 'Stros don't currently sport anyone in their day to day lineup with a negative war.  Don't know how uncommon that is, but to me it means that there are no glaring weaknesses on the team.

Dallas Kuechel - 5.1

Scott Kazmir - 3.6

Jose Altuve 2.2

Lance McCullers - 2.2

Carlos Correa - 2.1 (in 43 games, no less)

Will Harris - 1.7 (whocouldanode?)

Preston Tucker - 1.2

Jed Lowrie - 1.2

MADE UP FACT

Evan Gattis once hit a ball so hard, the ball's family sued him for assault.