After mowing down one of baseball’s best teams last week, Dallas Keuchel will try to keep the Philadelphia Phillies quiet.
Keuchel and the visiting Houston Astros open a three-game set Tuesday night against the last-place Phillies, who are hoping to avoid a third consecutive shutout.
Keuchel (10-7, 2.97 ERA) went the distance again in Wednesday’s 8-1 win over Oakland, striking out five in a four-hitter. The left-hander’s four complete games are the second-most in baseball behind Clayton Kershaw’s five.
"It was special just based on the fact that they (had) the best record in baseball," Keuchel told MLB’s official website. "To get a complete game against them and get a win is something special in its own right."
While Keuchel has compiled a 1.15 ERA over a five-start stretch at home, he’s 1-3 with a 6.07 mark in his last five on the road. He allowed five hits and four walks over 5 1-3 innings in his only appearance against Philadelphia, a 5-0 home win in September 2012 when these clubs met last prior to the Astros’ move to the AL.
Keuchel will try to take advantage of a Phillies team that was outscored 15-0 in back-to-back losses to Washington. Cole Hamels yielded one unearned run over seven innings Sunday, but the offense couldn’t get anything going off Stephen Strasburg in a 4-0 defeat.
”Hard to not think it’s a waste of a solid start, but we weren’t able to get to Strasburg,” manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Philadelphia (49-63), which last scored on Marlon Byrd’s solo homer in the sixth inning Friday, was last blanked in three straight May 25-27, 2010.
The Astros (47-65) hit the road after closing a 5-5 homestand with three consecutive wins over Toronto. Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez drove in two runs apiece while Scott Feldman went the distance in Sunday’s 6-1 victory.
Houston hasn’t won four in a row since a season-best seven-game run in May, when it went 15-14 to post its first full winning month since September 2010.
"I really felt like at some point, we’d get back to playing baseball the way we were in May," manager Bo Porter said. "The guys are excited and this is great momentum to build on."
Houston will try to stay hot against Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.92), who has an 8.04 ERA in his last five starts. The right-hander surrendered four runs over six innings in Wednesday’s 11-2 road loss to the New York Mets, giving up all four in the fifth.
"It seems like it’s one inning here, one inning there," he said.
Kendrick is 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA in four starts against the Astros. He’ll get his first look at Carter, who’s slugging .633 with 13 RBIs over a 13-game stretch.
This matchup could have special meaning for Astros rookie Jon Singleton, who was acquired from Philadelphia in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011. Singleton is batting .333 with four homers over the last eight games.
Philadelphia’s Chase Utley is a career .209 hitter against Houston, his lowest mark against any team. He’s 0 for his last 16 overall.
The Astros have dropped their last five at Citizens Bank Park.