Dodgers Astros Game One Preview


It’s still weird to me that this is an interleague game, but the Dodgers open up a 3-game interleague series in Houston today.

Brett Anderson is on the hill for the Dodgers, and at this point his starts are like playing with house money. He’s seven starts and 40 innings away from matching his career highs and his 3.48 ERA (3.82 FIP) are both right around what you would want from a fifth starter. He allowed three runs in six innings his last time out against Cincinnati, giving him his 14th quality start in 23 starts. That’s good as long as you don’t see that his rotation-mates Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke have 20 and 22 quality starts, respectively, in 24 starts.

Aug 16, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Anderson still leads baseball with a 66.8 percent ground ball rate, but when he does give up fly balls, 15 percent of them leave the park. That could cause issues against a Houston team that leads all of baseball with 164 home runs this season.

The somehow still-in-first-place Astros lead the AL West by 2.5 games and already have only four fewer wins than they did all last year. They’re coming off getting 1-hit by Chris Archer, but this team is legit. They added Carlos Gomez at the trade deadline. Jose Altuve is one of the best hitters in the game. Carlos Correa has a 2.9 WAR in 63 games (would be the third highest WAR in the Dodgers lineup, behind Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez) and is basically a best-case scenario for what Corey Seager can be next year. A .283/.352/.533 slashline with 15 homers and 10 stolen bases out of a 20-year-old is absurd.

Houston has the best team ERA in the AL (fourth overall), and the Dodgers will see two of their three trade deadline pitching acquisitions in this series. Friday night, the Dodgers will square off against Mike Fiers, who the Astros acquired from Milwaukee.

I’m not sure why I included that tweet. It made me laugh.

The Dodgers lit Fiers and the Brewers up in a 14-4 victory back in May. Fiers was only responsible for five of the runs through five innings, and that was back when Carlos Frias fooled all of us into thinking he could be a good third starter. The Dodgers had struggled against Fiers before that start, as he allowed two runs in 17 2/3 innings in three previous appearances (two starts) against the Dodgers.

Andre Ethier is 4-6 with a walk and two RBIs against Fiers in the past. Adrian Gonzalez and Alex Guerrero have each taken Fiers deep in the past. Jed Lowrie is the only Astro to face Anderson more than 10 times in the past, and he has three hits in 12 plate appearances. No current Astro has a homer against Anderson.

Chase Utley makes his first start for the Dodgers since being acquired on Wednesday night. He’s 1-2 with a walk in his career against Fiers and is a career .227 hitter at Minute Maid Park. Seeing Utley’s name behind Jimmy Rollins bring back some Matt Stairs induced traumatic memories, but we all have to wait to wait to see them turn a double play as Enrique Hernandez is still starting at second. This was something I feel like a lot of Dodger fans missed about the Utley acquisition. He’s not a Kiké replacement. He’s an Alberto Callaspo replacement. He may take some at bats away from Hernandez, but he’s still going to get some playing time at second, shortstop and in the outfield.

Yasiel Puig is still out of the lineup after suffering a hamstring strain in Wednesday’s loss in Oakland. It doesn’t sound like he’ll need to be placed on the DL.

First pitched is scheduled for 5:10 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.