Astros Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: Julio Urias Starts Series Opener
Julio Urias
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

After the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Houston Astros in the two games they played at Minute Maid Park earlier this year, they will now go for the season sweep over. L.A. welcomes the team that cheated in the 2017 World Series another two-game series that is being nationally televised.

The Dodgers and Astros are teams that seem to be headed in different directions as L.A. has the best record in all of baseball at 32-13, while Houston is hanging on by a thread for the final playoff spot in the American League at 22-23.

The Astros come in losers of eight of their last nine games. Part of that can be attributed to key players dealing with injuries, although it is also fair to question how good some of them actually are now that they cannot use technology to steal signs.

To name a few, George Springer’s on-base plus slugging percentage has dropped significantly from .974 in 2019 to .803 this season, while Alex Bregman’s dropped from 1.015 to .813, Jose Altuve’s from .903 to .606, Carlos Correa’s from .926 to .764 and Yuli Gurriel’s from .884 to .756.

Altuve is currently on the 10-day injured list, but the rest are looking to get back on track at Dodger Stadium this weekend as they hope to remain in a postseason spot.

In the first game of the series, Houston is going up against Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias, who is facing the Astros for the first time. In eight starts this season, Urias is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA, 4.02 FIP and 1.31 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and 12 walks in 37.1 innings.

Urias has largely been inconsistent this season, and he is looking to bounce back from a subpar outing against the Colorado Rockies in which he allowed five hits and four runs in 4.1 innings.

Getting the start for the Astros is also a lefty in Framber Valdez. In eight games (seven starts) this season, he is 3-3 with a 3.61 ERA, 3.06 FIP and 1.20 WHIP while striking out 50 and walking 14 in 52.1 innings. He has been a stabilizing factor in Houston’s rotation with Justin Verlander missing the whole season to this point due to injury.

Valdez faced the Dodgers earlier this season on July 28, giving up four hits and three runs in 4.1 innings to take the loss.

He is tasked with slowing down Corey Seager, who is swinging a hot bat as of late. Seager is slashing .340/.404/.660 with four home runs, four doubles and 10 RBI in his last 12 games, reaching base safely in 22 straight.

Prior to the game the Dodgers activated Pedro Baez off the IL and optioned Dennis Santana. Baez had been out since Aug. 20 due to a right groin strain.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
SS: Corey Seager
LF: AJ Pollock
3B: Max Muncy
C: Will Smith
1B: Cody Bellinger
CF: Chris Taylor
2B: Kiké Hernandez
DH: Gavin Lux

Astros lineup

CF: George Springer
3B: Alex Bregman
LF: Michael Brantley
1B: Yuli Gurriel
DH: Kyle Tucker
SS: Carlos Correa
2B: Aledmys Diaz
RF: Josh Reddick
C: Martin Maldonado

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