Houston Astros (47-65) at Philadelphia Phillies (49-63), 7:05 p.m. (ET)
08/05/2014 10:29 AM
08/05/2014 10:35 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Astros look to continue their recent hot streak on Tuesday night when they pay a visit to Citizens Bank Park to kick off a three-game series with the last-place Philadelphia Phillies.
The Astros remain buried in the AL West standings, although they have picked up their play of late by winning three straight against Toronto over the weekend by a combined 17-4 margin.
On Sunday, Houston rode the right arm of Scott Feldman to a 6-1 victory in the finale of that four-game series. Feldman turned in the third complete game of his career, as he allowed one run on eight hits to improve to 5-8. Chris Carter hit a two-run single while the lineup's 6-7-8 hitters combined to go 6- for-11 with four runs and three RBI.
More good news could be on the way for Houston with outfielder George Springer nearing a return from a minor league rehab assignment and fellow outfielders Alex Presley and Dexter Fowler not far behind.
Philadelphia is coming off back-to-back shutout losses against the Washington Nationals over the weekend. The Phillies followed up Saturday's 11-0 drubbing with a 4-0 setback on Sunday, effectively wiping away any positive momentum from winning the first two games of the four-game set.
Philadelphia's lineup managed a mere three hits on Sunday as Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg piled up 10 strikeouts and just one walk. Cole Hamels was a tough-luck loser for the Phillies -- a season-long trend -- as he went seven innings and gave up only an unearned run on four hits while striking out six and walking one batter.
Kyle Kendrick gets the nod for Philadelphia in Tuesday's series opener. The right-hander has endured a rough year as he heads into free agency this offseason. Kendrick is 5-11 with a 4.92 ERA in 22 starts and has been particularly vulnerable in the first inning, where his ERA sits at 9.82 on the season. Against the New York Mets on Wednesday, it was the fifth inning that did Kendrick in as he gave up four runs in the frame and walked away with his 11th loss.
Despite his struggles, Kendrick insists his impending free agency has not been a distraction.
"I haven't been thinking about it much," Kendrick said. "I think I worried about it more last year than this year, honestly. This year, the first innings were tough there, got past that. And now it seems like it's one inning here, one inning there."
For Houston, Dallas Keuchel will try to pick up where he left off against the Oakland Athletics last week, when he notched his fourth complete game of the season and allowed just one run on four hits of an 8-1 victory.
"It was special just based on the fact that (the A's) have the best record in baseball," Keuchel said. "They do a lot of things well. They don't do a lot of things subpar. To get a complete game against them and get a win is something special in its own right."
The left-hander has yielded only one earned run over his past 16 innings.
These teams have not faced each other since splitting six meetings during the 2012 season, the Astros' final year as a member of the National League.
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