Major League Baseball
Preview
Houston at Baltimore
When: 7:05 PM ET, Friday, July 21, 2017
Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

The Houston Astros continue to be involved in several significant trade rumors as they embark on a nine-game road trip beginning Friday night at the Baltimore Orioles. On top of the American League West since the second week of the season, the Astros are looking to improve upon a roster that led the majors in runs scored and ranked seventh in ERA entering Thursday, with names such as Oakland's Sonny Gray and Detroit's Justin Verlander among those drawing interest.

Houston has split its last 10 games after dropping two of three to Seattle to begin the week, which includes the first two contests the team has played since losing star shortstop Carlos Correa to a thumb injury. The Astros swept three from the Orioles in May and they've claimed 12 of the last 14 meetings, including six straight, but Baltimore is on a hot streak of its own entering the rematch. It swept four straight from Texas by a combined margin of 34-11, with four players going deep in Thursday's 9-7 win. Mike Fiers will be tasked with trying to slow down the Orioles' offense as he opposes fellow veteran Ubaldo Jimenez in the series opener.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), MASN (Baltimore)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Mike Fiers (6-4, 3.75 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (4-5, 7.01)

Fiers is 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA over his last nine starts and he struck out a season-high 11 in seven strong innings of a 5-3 win over Minnesota his last time out. The 32-year-old has allowed 37 hits in 54 innings during that stretch and he did not walk a batter against the Twins for the first time in 18 starts this year. Fiers allowed a run in seven innings to pick up the win in his only prior start at Camden Yards in 2016.

After finishing June with eight scoreless innings in a dazzling performance at Toronto, Jimenez has given up 15 runs and 21 hits in 13 2/3 innings over three starts this month. The worst of the lot came Sunday at home against the Chicago Cubs, who pounded the veteran for six runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 frames. Jimenez has been hit hard by a handful of Astros, including Carlos Beltran (10-for-28, three homers), Josh Reddick (8-for-19, one home run) and Evan Gattis (4-for-11, one home run).

WALK-OFFS

1. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop is 7-for-13 with eight RBIs over his last three games.

2. Houston 3B Alex Bregman has eight hits and six walks in a seven-game stretch.

3. Astros 2B Jose Altuve needs one stolen base to tie Joe Morgan (219) for fourth on the franchise's all-time list.

PREDICTION: Astros 7, Orioles 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Houston 63-32 L1 30-21 33-11 13-7 12-11 31-14 7-0
Baltimore 46-49 W4 29-19 17-30 26-20 8-16 4-3 8-10
Last Meeting
Houston Baltimore
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
5/28/17 BAL 4 HOU 8 .324 1 .949 .200 2 .615
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston C. Correa .500 6 1.083
Baltimore J. Schoop .364 4 1.091
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston G. Springer 2 3 4
Baltimore J. Schoop 1 1 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 1.67 .317 34
Baltimore 5.62 .210 14
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston J. Altuve .353 127 .976
Baltimore T. Mancini .305 87 .880
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston G. Springer 27 80 66
Baltimore J. Schoop 19 55 63
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 3.94 .289 969
Baltimore 5.09 .257 708