MARINERS (47-64) AT ASTROS (70-40)
8:10 p.m. ET; ATTSN-SW, ROOTNW, MLB.TV
When the Astros returned home to Houston late Thursday, they had more than their next opponent awaiting their arrival.
Right-handed pitchers Zack Greinke, Joe Biagini and Aaron Sanchez will make their official introductions as newcomers to the club in advance of the Astros’ three-game weekend series against the Seattle Mariners starting Friday at Minute Maid Park.
Greinke, Biagini and Sanchez were all acquired Wednesday at the trade deadline, and with the Astros completing a three-game set against the Indians in Cleveland on Thursday, each traveled to Houston to await their new teammates.
The Astros won’t waste time getting the trio involved. Biagini is likely to see action out of the Houston bullpen against the Mariners at some point during the series, while Sanchez is the scheduled starter for the middle game Saturday. Greinke will make his debut Tuesday against the visiting Colorado Rockies in the opener of a two-game interleague set at Minute Maid Park.
“They all know what’s ahead of them. It is nice to have a plan,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters. “I can’t wait to get in front of them and have a more in-depth conversation with welcoming them to the team. I’ve made contact with all of them. They know they’re coming, they’re exciting joining a really good team and I think they’ll be great additions for us.”
Left-hander Wade Miley (9-4, 3.06 ERA) will open the series on the mound for the Astros on Friday. Miley has pitched well this season — and splendidly of late, going 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA over his last seven starts while allowing opponents to record a .171 batting average. He is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA over six career starts against the Mariners, including three starts this season during which he has produced a 4.20 ERA without earning a decision. The Astros, however, have won all three games, with Brad Peacock, Reymin Guduan and Will Harris earning victories in relief.
Rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (4-7, 5.21) will get the start for the Mariners in the opener. He has recorded just one victory over his last 11 starts, posting a 7.21 ERA and 1.043 OPS allowed during that stretch while earning his lone win against the Baltimore Orioles on June 23, when he surrendered three runs on five hits and five walks over six innings in a 13-3 victory. Friday will mark his second start against the Astros. He did not factor into the decision on June 29 at Minute Maid Park after allowing five runs on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts over five innings in a 6-5 loss.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Astros is rebuilding Seattle, which will arrive in Houston with the intent of developing its young major league talent over the remainder of the regular season. While Houston is eyeing a second World Series pennant in three seasons, the Mariners kept their focus on the future at the deadline by jettisoning veteran pitchers Mike Leake, Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland for four prospects: left-handed pitchers Aaron Fletcher and Taylor Guilbeau, right-hander Elvis Alvarado and infielder Jose Caballero.
“It’s rare that you get a chance to fill in a lot of prospect depth in a system in one day and to do it at so many different levels,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “We’re pretty fired up about being able to do that.”
–Field Level Media