American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 24th
(All times eastern)
Seattle Mariners (8-14) at Houston Astros (6-14), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Joe Saunders (1-2, 4.50)
Houston - Lucas Harrell (1-2, 4.98)
(Sports Network) - Already seven games out of contention in the American
League West, the Houston Astros try to keep up with their new set of league
foes this afternoon as they finish up a three-game set versus the Seattle
Mariners at Minute Maid Park.
Houston, which has made the transition from the National League to the AL
beginning this season, managed to snap a three-game slide on Tuesday with a
3-2 victory over the Mariners. Of the club's six wins on the campaign, three
have come versus Seattle.
Marwin Gonzalez hit his third home run of the season for the hosts, a solo
shot to lead off the third inning, and Jose Altuve scored what proved to be
the game-winning run later in the frame.
Unfortunately, the inning was not all positive for the Astros as starting
center fielder Justin Maxwell suffered a fractured left hand after being hit
by a pitch thrown by Hisashi Iwakuma, sending him to the 15-day disabled list.
Starter Bud Norris picked up his third win of the season as he allowed just
one run on eight hits and a couple of walks, striking out just two, over the
course of five innings. Pitching a perfect ninth with a pair of strikeouts,
Jose Veras picked up the save.
"I didn't have my best stuff today, but I battled and made it through five
innings and kept it a one-run, two-run ball game," Norris said of his
performance. "I have a comfort zone at home. Our job [as starters] is to pass
it on to the bullpen. Getting the lead makes it easier on us."
Iwakuma was eventually saddled with his first loss of the season after
permitting three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and three walks, although
he did strike out 11 over five innings.
Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Justin Smoak all had two hits for the
visitors, the former connecting on a solo home run as the team lost for the
fourth time in the last five outings.
Making his first-ever appearance against the Mariners today is Lucas Harrell.
The right-hander, originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2004, is
currently 1-2 on the season after winning his most recent outing on Friday
Against the Indians, Harrell lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs
on five hits and five walks, while striking out four. Already Harrell has
issued five bases-on-balls twice this season, which is why he has only two
more strikeouts (15) than walks through four appearances.
Getting his second crack at the Astros is Seattle hurler Joe Saunders. In his
first appearance of the campaign versus Houston, the left-hander gave up six
hits and walked one, while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings, but he still
kept the Astros scoreless in what became a 3-0 win back on April 8.
Saunders, who is 1-0 in three career outings versus Houston, was knocked
around in his most recent start, permitting seven runs on nine hits and three
walks through 4 2/3 innings at Texas on Friday.
Sitting six games out of first in the division, the Mariners aren't doing
themselves any favors at the plate, hitting a league-low .226. However, even
though Seattle has had issues with Houston during the first month of the
season, the Astros are still the team that everyone wants to bat against, as
the squad sports a league-high 5.31 ERA.
04/24 10:30:44 ET