Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Keuchel looks to handle Halos, finish sweep

Former American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel looks to continue his career dominance against the Angels when he faces off Wednesday with right-hander Jered Weaver.
The Astros, winners in nine of their last 10 games, will be seeking a three-game series sweep.
Keuchel (4-9, 5.35 ERA) snapped a three-game losing streak in his last start, giving up four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings of a 13-4 Astros win over Kansas City. Before that start, his last win came against the Angels on May 28. Facing Weaver that night, Keuchel gave up two runs on three hits over seven innings. Keuchel's career winning percentage against the Angels is higher than against any AL West opponent, as he's 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 appearances.
Weaver (6-6, 5.24 ERA) is two starts removed from his best performance of the season, a 95-pitch shutout in Oakland on June 19. When facing those same Athletics at home in his next start, however, he gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings and looked much like the same pitcher he's been for most of 2016. His velocity remains down, causing him to run into trouble in his second and third time through the batting order. He faced Houston on May 28, giving up four runs in six innings in a loss. For his career, Weaver is 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 10 starts against the Astros.
Things to know about the game
• The Angels will likely be without third baseman Yunel Escobar, who continues to nurse a bone bruise in his left knee. Escobar hasn't played since his at-bat in the seventh inning Thursday against the Oakland Athletics. Manager Mike Scioscia said he's "hopeful" to have Escobar back for the series opener against the Red Sox in Boston on Friday.
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve comes into Wednesday's game against the Angels riding a 31-game on-base streak after registering a first-inning walk on Tuesday night. That's the longest stretch of Altuve's career and the longest active streak in the Majors. That also matches the longest streak of any Astro since outfielder Willy Taveras reached base in 31 straight games from July 27-Aug. 29, 2006.
• Angels center fielder Mike Trout is baseball's current iron man, having started the most consecutive games of any player in the Majors. Wednesday's game would be Trout's 141st straight start. Entering Wednesday, Altuve has played (but not started) in 169 consecutive games, the longest consecutive games streak in the Majors.

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