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MLB Baltimore OriolesHouston Astros

Houston Astros Visiting Baltimore Orioles Just in Time for Struggling O’s

Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros face off against the Baltimore Orioles in a duel between two teams going through very opposite seasons. The Astros are in a full overhaul while the Orioles are contending for their first AL East Division Title since 1997.

The Orioles are led by offensive juggernauts Chris Davis, Adam Jones and the young phenom Manny Machado, all of whom have established themselves as household names across MLB.

On the other hand, the Astros are led by Jose Altuve and Jason Castro, both All-Stars that have managed to remain fairly unnoticed in the baseball spectrum.

Lucas Harrell steps into the starting role to replace Bud Norris for his first start since July 5  against the Texas Rangers, where he was roughed up for nine runs in 3.2 innings of work. Harrell’s season has been a rough go following a very successful 2012 campaign. As a starter, he put up a 5-9 record with a 5.04 ERA. This prompted a move to the bullpen that cleared the way for Jarred Cosart, who has been the talk of his hometown since the call up.

The Orioles are seeing their own struggles, with Chris Davis homer-less in his last 10 games and Manny Machado batting .171 in the same span. Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound for his fourth start since returning from a two-month injury. Since his return, he’s put up three quality starts, going 20.2 innings and giving up only five earned runs.

The Astros are coming to town just in time for the Orioles, who desperately need to get out of their current rut before the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox make it a two team race. But don’t count out the Astros just yet. Lucas Harrell likely knows he is  just making a spot start and is not back in the rotation for good. He’s been in pressure situations before, and knowing it may be his last start, he’ll look to return to his 2012 form.