As good as the Astros are, they might get even better tonight with the return of Collin McHugh.McHugh will make his first start of 2017 tonight against the Orioles after being sidelined with a nagging elbow injury. With the non-waiver Trade Deadline just over a week away, McHugh's performance tonight
As good as the Astros are, they might get even better tonight with the return of Collin McHugh.
McHugh will make his first start of 2017 tonight against the Orioles after being sidelined with a nagging elbow injury. With the non-waiver Trade Deadline just over a week away, McHugh's performance tonight could affect how the Houston front office plays its hand. A solid outing from McHugh may convince Astros brass not to pull the trigger on a frontline starter like Sonny Gray.
That all depends, though, on whether McHugh can stay pain-free and effective against the Orioles' Chris Tillman, who's struggled this year but is coming off a quality start. We'll find out at 7:05 p.m. ET at Camden Yards, streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what else to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):
Resurgent Rich: ATL@LAD, 9:10 p.m.
Thirty-seven-year-old Rich Hill and his nasty curveball are showing the Dodgers why they invested in him last offseason, to the tune of $48 million over three years. Despite enduring four separate DL stints due to blisters this year, a now-calloused Hill has emerged with a 0.95 ERA in July, yielding just two runs and a single walk against 29 strikeouts this month.
Hill's opponent tonight, the Braves' Julio Teheran, comes with some qualifications of his own. Teheran, a full 11 years younger than Hill, struggled in his last start but is a true road warrior. He holds the fifth-best road ERA in the National League at 2.53, and a strong outing tonight at Chavez Ravine could boost his portfolio heading into the Trade Deadline.
Strutting their stuff: TOR@CLE, 7:10 p.m.
Once a pair of baseball's most highly-touted pitching prospects, Danny Salazar and Marcus Stroman face off tonight at Progressive Field with an interesting wrinkle: It's Salazar's first start in nearly two months. Inflammation in his throwing shoulder has had him riding the bench this summer. Stroman, meanwhile, has established himself as the ace of a struggling Toronto club and hasn't allowed more than three runs in a month's worth of starts.
Central challenge in Chicago: STL@CHC, 4:05 p.m.
Two of baseball's more decorated veteran pitchers, Jonathan Lester and Adam Wainwright, meet in a matinee at the Friendly Confines. This probably won't be their most famous meeting -- that honor goes to the time the two opened up the 2013 World Series, with Lester in a Red Sox uniform. Lester won that one -- and walked away with a ring, to boot. He'll seek a similar outcome today as his Cubs continue their second-half charge back to 2016 form -- you know, the one that earned Lester his third World Series ring.
Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com.