When the Washington Nationals left Houston, TX after taking a two-game set from the Astros in Minute Maid Park, the AL West's 'Stros were 9-19 on the year, on their way to what looked like another rough season for Bo Porter's young club. Since then, however, the former NL Central franchise has gone 23-20, so they come to the nation's capital for another two-game matchup that starts tonight with a 32-39 record overall, with wins in three of their last five games and six of their last ten.
And they have a starter on the mound tonight in 26-year-old lefty Dallas Keuchel, who has won six of his last seven starts, posting a 1.33 ERA in his last 54 ⅓ IP while holding opposing hitters to a .195/.226/.258 line over that stretch.
In his three starts so far this month, Roark, 27, has given up a total of three runs in 21 IP (1.29 ERA), while holding the Rangers, Padres and Giants' hitters to a combined .215/.235/.304 line. Last time out in the nation's capital, Roark went toe-to-toe with Yu Darvish, giving up just one run in seven innings of work in what ended up a 2-0 loss, but he's won each of his last two outings after dropping three straight decisions.
The Nationals return home after a 5-5 road trip that started 5-1 but went awry in St. Louis where the Nats dropped three straight to the Cardinals this weekend, giving them losses in four straight after they dropped the series finale in San Francisco. Washington hasn't lost five straight yet this season, but they'll have to beat a surging group of Astros tonight to avoid setting a new season high in consecutive losses.
• Here are the lineups for the first game of two for the Astros in Nationals Park:
|HOUSTON ASTROS||WASHINGTON NATIONALS|
|Dexter Fowler - CF||Denard Span - CF|
|Jose Altuve - 2B||Anthony Rendon - 3B|
|George Springer - RF||Jayson Werth - RF|
|J. Singleton - 1B||Adam LaRoche - 1B|
|Jason Castro - C||Ryan Zimmerman - LF|
|Matt Dominguez - 3B||Ian Desmond - SS|
|Jonathan Villar - SS||Danny Espinosa - 2B|
|Robbie Grossman - LF||Jose Lobaton - C|
|Dallas Keuchel - LHP||Tanner Roark - RHP|