Photo Credit: 700 ESPN Field Pass
The Houston Astros are inching closer to an American League West Division title with a win against the Seattle Mariners in their second match up of the series. Achieving the feat would give Houston its first division title since winning the National League Central in 2001. However, the Los Angeles Angels also need to lose to the Texas Rangers for the Astros to clinch the coveted title.
Ace Dallas Keuchel (12-4, 3.03 ERA) will attempt to help the Astros get closer to their goal when he faces Mariners’ Erasmo Ramirez (5-5, 4.25 ERA) for a rematch at Minute Maid Park.
Dallas Keuchel, Photo Credit: MLB
Keuchel has been on and off lately because he can’t seem to win consistently in his recent starts. He lost his last match against the Oakland Athletics after giving up four runs on six hits including one homer and a season high of four walks while he only struck out four batters in 5.2 innings. He’s 2-2 with a decent 3.90 ERA in his last five starts which included a win against his upcoming opponents; he’s actually 2-0 with an impressive 1.23 ERA in two starts versus the Mariners this season.
Erasmo Ramirez, Photo Credit: MLB
While Ramirez hasn’t won a match since August 18 after he got another no decision in his last start against the Los Angeles Angels despite only giving up two runs, both from dingers, on five hits while he struck out seven batters in 6.2 frames. However, he’s given up a total of six homeruns over the past three games he’s played in despite having a 1-1 record with a solid 2.94 ERA in his last five starts which involved a no decision when he last faced Keuchel and the Astros on September 4.
Seattle Mariners vs Keuchel, Photo Credit: MLB
From left to right: Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz, Photo Credit: MLB
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz is one of Seattle’s best batters against Keuchel so far; he’s gotten three runs on 10 hits including three homers and 6 RBIs with a .370/.471/.741 slash line and a 1.211 OPS in 27 at bats versus the Astros starter. However, he only has a single hit in five at bats against Keuchel this year while the only one who seemed like a threat in their lineup was third baseman Kyle Seager. The baseman has a total of six runs on 11 hits including two dingers and 3 RBIs with a .282/.300/.462 slash line and a .762 OPS versus Keuchel.
Houston Astros vs Ramirez, Photo Credit: MLB
From left to right: Yuli Gurriel and Brian McCann, Photo Credit: MLB
While catcher Brian McCann and first baseman Yuli Gurriel both had dingers in their last showdown against Ramirez. McCann has a run on three hits including one homer and 2 RBIs with a .250/.308/.500 slash line and a .808 OPS in 12 at bats while Gurriel has a run on two hits including one dinger and one RBI with a .667/.667/1.667 stat line and a 2.333 OPS in three at bats versus the Mariners starter.
Keuchel has been solid against the Mariners so far this season despite his decline when facing other teams while Ramirez has been struggling to prevent homers from lighting up the scoreboards recently. However, both pitchers still had solid performances against each other’s team despite their individual flaws. Unfortunately, it seems Houston’s bullpen has been better compared to Seattle’s side and that could be the deciding factor again in this showdown.
Projected Winner: Houston Astros