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Series beginning
04/16/2021

Houston Astros

When the Mariners and Astros last crossed paths, Seattle won two of three but the ’Stros were without four key players—José Altuve, Alex Bregman, Martín Maldonado, and Yordan Alvarez were all quarantining after COVID exposure. Three of them served their time in quarantine and are back in action, but Altuve actually tested positive for the virus himself and remains on the COVID-IL; when he'll be back on the field is unclear. The Astros dropped two in Colorado and won three of four from the Angels since they left Seattle, leaving them a game under .500.

The one game Houston won on their last trip to the Northwest was a dominant Zack Greinke performance that held the Mariners to just four hits as the Astros took it 1-0. Greinke is scheduled to pitch Wednesday night's game, matched up this time against Justin Dunn. The M's will send Justus Sheffield to the mound Monday against José Urquidy, Marco Gonzales against Cristian Javier Tuesday, and Yusei Kikuchi in Thursday's finale against a pitcher to be determined—Jake Odorizzi left his start last Saturday after just five pitches with an apparent injury and the Astros have not announced a replacement for his spot. Urquidy got a no-deicision in his start in Seattle on the 16th; Javier won his only start vs. the M's last year with seven shutout innings.

Splits

Last ten 4-6
Home 4-6
vs. LHP 5-6
vs. RHP 5-5
One-run games 2-2
vs. AL West 10-6
vs. Mariners 1-2

Who’s Hot & Not

Last ten games

Michael Brantley
.326/.356/.465, 6 2B

Martín Maldonado
.138/.219/.172, 16 Ks

Myles Straw
.216/.231/.324, 9 Ks

Kyle Tucker
.128/.128/.205, 9 Ks

Last 3 series vs. Seattle

4/18/21 SEA 7, HOU 2
4/17/21 HOU 1, SEA 0
4/16/21 SEA 6, HOU 5
9/23/20 SEA 3, HOU 2
9/22/20 HOU 6, SEA 1
9/21/20 SEA 6, HOU 1
8/16/20 HOU 3, SEA 2
8/15/20 HOU 2, SEA 1
8/14/20 HOU 11, SEA 1

Manager

baker

Dusty Baker: It wasn't the easiest of gigs, taking over a team that the league reviles because of its cheating ways, but Baker is respected all over baseball and has made it work so far; his reputation for integrity and success helped burnish the Astros' tarnished image. He brought the ’Stros to within one game of the World Series last year thanks to the expanded playoff format of the 2020 mini-season and hopes to lead Houston back to a first-place finish.

That reputation of his might be taking a hit, though. Since no fans were allowed into games last year, this season is the first opportunity for crowds to voice their outrage to the Astros in person since the cheating scandal came to light. Fans in Anaheim and Oakland jumped at the chance to be heard and booed, heckled, and even tossed a trash can onto the warning track in right field to mock the Astros' method of communication when stealing signs. Baker was displeased and criticized the California crowds. "How many in the stands have never done anything wrong in their life?" Baker said. "We paid the price for it. How many people have not cheated on a test or whatever at some point in time?" Two issues there—one, Baker wasn't part of the cheating scandal, so "we" is a bit weird, and "paid the price"? Really? Seems to most of us that the Astros got away with no serous repercussions. Their manager and GM were fired, but that manager is back at the helm of another team now. Houston lost a couple of draft picks. That was the price they paid. So all Baker's complaints are going to do is rile up even more animosity when the Astros make the rounds this season. "How many times can you say you’re sorry?" Baker said. "That’s all you can do." Well, let's hear some apologies then. Real ones, public ones, from the players and executives involved, not the lame CYA platitudes that they were forced into by being found out.

Familiar Face

Nobody: None of the current Houston players or coaches have played for the M's.

Franchise History

Houston Astros AL(2013 - present)
 
World Champions:2017
League Champions:2005, 2019
Division Titles:1980, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2018

— Notes —

Michael Brantley: Though no current Astros have ever played for the Mariners, Brantley's dad did. Mickey Brantley logged 302 games as a Seattle outfielder from 1986-1989; Michael was born in Bellevue during the 1987 season.

José Altuve: The shortest player in the Major Leagues at just under five-foot-six, Altuve has inspired the measurement unit known as OSLA, or Official Standard Listed Altuves. For reference, the height of the outfield wall at T-Mobile Park = 1.48 OSLA; distance between Major League bases = 16.614 OSLA;  altitude of Mt. Rainier = 2,660.3 OSLA; distance from Earth to the moon = 232,858,039.5 OSLA. You can find a feet-to-OSLA converter online at www.howmanyaltuves.com.

Zack Greinke: One of the smartest pitchers in the big leagues, Greinke is also famous (or infamous) for his droll sense of humor. Once while with the Royals, Greinke told a slumping teammate, Alex Gordon, to come look at something in the video room to help Gordon out of his funk. Greinke showed Gordon a clip of Greinke—one of the best-hitting pitchers in MLB—belting a home run against the Diamondbacks. "Do more of that," was Greinke's advice.

Greinke's ability with the bat is a source of pride and he's voiced disappointment about not being able to bat in the American League. As a National Leaguer Greinke finished the 2013, ’15, ’18, and ’19 seasons with a higher batting average than opposing batters had against him (in ’13 he had the second-best batting average on the Dodger team at .328). Asked if Greinke the batter could hit Greinke the pitcher, he said "I could hit me if someone were on base. It wouldn’t be easy, but I could do it. If no one were on base, I wouldn’t care as much, so I could get me out."

Lance McCullers Jr.: Another second-generation Major Leaguer—Lance Senior pitched for seven years in the bigs, mostly with San Diego—McCullers is an champion of animal rights and established the Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation to advocate for stray and homeless animals across the country. The foundation supports Houston Pets Alive, working to support no-kill shelters with a goal of making Houston a "no-kill city."