Hector Santiago and Collin McHugh, two evolving starters hoping to build off solid outings, take the ball for the second of a three-game series between the Angels and Astros from Minute Maid Park on Tuesday.
The Astros have won 28 of 47 games since the start of May and enter only a game below .500 for the first time since April 11.
Santiago had a 12.18 ERA over a five-start stretch from May 20 to June 10, but pitched well against the Twins on Wednesday, allowing just four baserunners in six innings of one-run ball to lead his Angels to victory. The 28-year-old left-hander has allowed a combined five runs in 10 1/3 innings in his only two starts in Houston.
McHugh allowed a combined eight runs in nine innings in his first two June starts, but held the Cardinals to just one run on seven hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings his last time out. The 29-year-old right-hander will be facing an Angels team he has posted a 2.86 ERA against in seven career starts, and will be seeking his first win since May 14.
Things to know about this game
• Carlos Gomez may finally be turning a corner. The Astros' center fielder singled in his first two at-bats on Monday and is riding a six-game hitting streak, producing multiple hits in four of those contests.
• Albert Pujols has done well against McHugh, going 6-for-17 with three walks and a home run. Mike Trout, however, has only reached base twice in 12 plate appearances. Jose Altuve (.235 batting average), Evan Gattis (.214) and George Springer (.100) have all struggled against Santiago.
• Pujols' 52 regular-season home runs are the most ever against the Astros, but the 36-year-old is struggling to generate power this season. Pujols entered the series with a .393 slugging percentage that ranked 135th out of 170 qualified players.