Houston Astros aim to rebound in crucial Game 2 against Giants

ASTROS PREVIEW

Houston Astros aim to rebound in crucial Game 2 against Giants
Ronel Blanco is on the bump for Houston Tuesday night. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (30-37, third in the AL West) vs. San Francisco Giants (33-34, third in the NL West)

San Francisco; Tuesday, 9:45 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Ronel Blanco (5-2, 2.78 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 59 strikeouts); Giants: Jordan Hicks (4-2, 2.82 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 59 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -113, Giants -107; over/under is 7 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The San Francisco Giants play the Houston Astros with a 1-0 series lead.

San Francisco has a 33-34 record overall and an 18-14 record at home. The Giants have hit 64 total home runs to rank eighth in the NL.

Houston is 13-19 on the road and 30-37 overall. The Astros are 15-29 in games when they have allowed at least one home run.

Tuesday’s game is the second meeting between these teams this season.

TOP PERFORMERS: Matt Chapman leads San Francisco with eight home runs while slugging .407. Heliot Ramos is 13-for-38 with four home runs and 10 RBI over the last 10 games.

Alex Bregman has 12 doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 31 RBI for the Astros. Yordan Alvarez is 15-for-39 with four doubles, a triple and four home runs over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Giants: 4-6, .235 batting average, 4.49 ERA, outscored by eight runs

Astros: 5-5, .264 batting average, 3.63 ERA, outscored opponents by nine runs

INJURIES: Giants: Blake Snell: 15-Day IL (groin), Marco Luciano: 10-Day IL (undisclosed), LaMonte Wade Jr: 10-Day IL (hamstring), Jung Hoo Lee: 60-Day IL (labrum), Tom Murphy: 60-Day IL (head), Nick Ahmed: 10-Day IL (wrist), Alex Cobb: 60-Day IL (hip), Ethan Small: 60-Day IL (oblique), Austin Warren: 60-Day IL (elbow), Tristan Beck: 60-Day IL (arm), Robbie Ray: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Kyle Tucker: 10-Day IL (shin), Jose Urquidy: 60-Day IL (forearm), Spencer Arrighetti: day-to-day (calf), Cristian Javier: 15-Day IL (forearm), Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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We're thinking they're back! Composite Getty Image.

Coming off an impressive three-game sweep of the Orioles, the Astros finally look like they've turned a corner as they are only two games under .500 with the lowly Rockies coming to town for a two game set this week.

Houston's offense appears to be firing on all cylinders, and the insertion of Mauricio Dubon and Joey Loperfido in the everyday lineup seems to be paying huge dividends

Dubon has now started in fourteen straight games, and Loperfido has been in the lineup in every game since rejoining the team. Manager Joe Espada has done a nice job of riding the hot hand, and knowing when to give players a day off. Both Dubon and Lopefido should be penciled in the lineup regularly, at least until Kyle Tucker returns from injury.

Jeremy Pena is a perfect example of Espada seeing a player struggling and giving him a day off to help get him back on track. The results speak for themselves, as Pena was crushing baseballs over the weekend instead of swinging at sliders in the dirt.

And let's not forget to credit the pitching. Hunter Brown looks like a dominate top of the rotation starter, Ronel Blanco should be an All-Star, and Framber Valdez may have had his best performance of the season on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see how they navigate the starting rotation with only four healthy starters currently on the team. Justin Verlander reportedly still hasn't resumed baseball activities.

Shawn Dubin could also be an option should they need him to make a start. Hopefully, Luis Garcia will be ready to go in late July because the Astros have several pitchers that will be asked to throw more innings than ever before.

Addition by subtraction

It's hard not to notice how well the team has played with Jose Abreu out of the picture. The club is 7-2 since they parted ways with Abreu, and the squad has a much younger and more athletic feel with Loperfido and Dubon consistently playing.

While we certainly can't blame all the team's struggles on Abreu, they appear to be playing with a different energy now. Look no further than Loperfido's amazing catch in the first inning of the opener against Baltimore. That play ended up setting the tone for the entire series.

What should we expect from the red-hot 'Stros moving forward? Be sure to watch the video above to hear the full conversation!

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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