The Pittsburgh Pirates‘ hopes of breaking their 20-year postseason drought might depend on their ability to continue dominating the Houston Astros. The Pirates have won seven straight against the Astros, who are in the midst of the worst 25-game stretch in franchise history and trying to avoid matching the longest losing streak in club history with their 12th straight loss. Pittsburgh has nine more meetings with the majors’ current worst team.
Pittsburgh, sitting two games behind Cincinnati in the National League Central, has outscored Houston 40-20 in the past seven meetings. The Astros have been outscored 72-30 during their skid. The Pirates hope right-hander Jeff Karstens can continue his success against the Astros – he has won four straight starts against them over the past two seasons, including eight scoreless innings of four-hit ball July 5.
Pirates Astros Betting
When: 8:05 PM ET, Friday, July 27, 2012
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ROOT Pittsburgh, Fox Sports Houston
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Jeff Karstens (3-2, 3.52 ERA) vs. Astros RH Jordan Lyles (2-7, 5.50)
Karstens has won three of his last four starts and put has up impressive numbers while doing it. He has a 1.86 ERA over that span with 22 strikeouts and just seven walks in 29 innings. Karstens is 5-2 with a 2.83 ERA in nine games (eight starts) against Houston.
The 21-year-old Lyles is winless in four starts since June 26 and has allowed at least five earned runs in three of his last four outings. He was rocked for eight runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings Sunday at Arizona. Lyles is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh. He allowed seven runs in four innings July 2 at PNC Park.
1. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones are each 3-for-5 against Lyles, and Jones has two homers and six RBIs against the right-hander.
2. The Pirates have hit at least one home run in their past 16 road games and have 35 during that stretch. Lyles has allowed at least one homer in his last five starts.
3. The Astros’ current roster is a collective 8-for-47 (.170) with 13 strikeouts against Karstens.