A pair of top-tier starters toe the rubber Thursday in Houston as the Astros' Dallas Keuchel and the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg meet in the series finale as part of a slate of 12 games streaming live on MLB.TV.The series between the two division-leading clubs has provided plenty of intrigue throughout
A pair of top-tier starters toe the rubber Thursday in Houston as the Astros' Dallas Keuchel and the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg meet in the series finale as part of a slate of 12 games streaming live on MLB.TV.
The series between the two division-leading clubs has provided plenty of intrigue throughout the week, and that should continue with Keuchel and Strasburg on the mound at Minute Maid Park.
Keuchel, after beginning August with back-to-back losses, has regained the form he showed early in the season. The 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner gave up just one run across 13 2/3 frames in his last two starts (both victories).
Strasburg returned from the disabled list Aug. 19 to make his first start in nearly a month, suffering a tough-luck loss to the Padres. The 29-year-old righty struck out eight while permitting just two runs on four hits in six innings.
Each hurler will have his hands full, as both offenses rank near the top among all Major League clubs. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. (ET).
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Here's what else to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Yard Sale: BOS@CLE, 7:10 p.m.
The last time Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale faced the Indians, the Tribe offense got to him for seven earned runs in five innings. Since that Aug. 1 outing he's given up five earned runs with 34 strikeouts in 22 innings (2.05 ERA) across three starts.
Sale attempts to get revenge on Cleveland as he takes the mound opposite right-hander Trevor Bauer, who has strung together a brilliant stretch of outings dating to July 21.
The 26-year-old Bauer is 5-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 40 2/3 frames in six starts during that span.
Ray's return: ARI@NYM, 12:10 p.m., Free Game of the Day
The D-backs' Robbie Ray departed his last outing after being struck on the head by a line drive versus the Cardinals on July 28. The lefty has been working his way back to rejoining the Arizona rotation. After striking out 11 batters in his rehab start for Class A Visalia, Ray will make his return this afternoon versus the Mets. The southpaw is in the midst of an impressive season in which he's gone 9-5 with a 3.11 ERA and should provide a boost to a D-backs team looking to secure a National League Wild Card spot.
Rafael Montero, who struggled as a starter when first inserted into the New York rotation, gets the ball coming off consecutive quality starts. The right-hander has given up three earned runs combined in 12 innings in his last two.
Keeping pace: LAD@PIT, 4:05 p.m.
Despite placing left-hander Alex Wood (sternum) and Rookie of the Year candidate Cody Bellinger (right ankle sprain) on the disabled list this week, the Dodgers might still have what it takes to challenge the record for most wins (116) for a team in regular-season history.
Los Angeles will need Hyun-Jin Ryu to keep pitching like he has of late to have a shot at that record. The lefty is 1-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 29 innings in his last five starts.
He takes the mound versus Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl, who is 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA in four August starts.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @OMacklinMLB.