The Houston Astros can match their franchise record for consecutive victories on Friday.
They secured their 11th straight in the opener of a four-game series in Detroit on Thursday, overwhelming the Tigers 12-3. The Astros have won 12 consecutive games three times over the years — during the 1999, 2004 and 2018 seasons.
The Astros will attempt to make some history against a team that swept them at home in a three-game series in April. They’re looking to exact some revenge in Detroit’s home park.
“These are big boys,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “They know what happened. Everybody knows what happened. That was what sent us down the river, so to speak, on the losing streak from that point. I don’t have to tell them.”
Left-hander Framber Valdez (4-0, 1.67 ERA), Friday’s scheduled starter, has won all four of his outings this month while going at least seven innings in each game. In his last start on Saturday, Valdez limited the Chicago White Sox to two earned runs and six hits in seven innings while striking out five. He threw a season-high 108 pitches.
“For me right now it’s just a matter of maintaining where I’m at, attacking every hitter, being in the strike zone a lot,” Valdez said. “But I feel like what I want to do right now is just maintain the level of performance that I’m having right now.”
Last season, Valdez posted a 5-3 record and 3.57 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts. He missed the first two months of this season after suffering a fractured left ring finger during his first spring training start.
He has come back in top form.
“It’s truly a blessing and a miracle to get him back as soon as we did,” Baker said.
Against the White Sox on Saturday, Valdez practically abandoned his changeup and relied on fastballs and curveballs.
“Usually early in the game he’s searching for his breaking ball, and he had his breaking ball early,” Baker said. “That kind of sets up everything else from that first inning on.”
Valdez has given up four earned runs in five innings during his two career outings against Detroit.
The Tigers will give Wily Peralta (0-1, 7.11) his second major league start since 2017. The 32-year-old right-hander allowed five earned runs in five innings to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.
Peralta, who sat out last season after making 79 relief appearances for Kansas City the previous two years, has temporarily joined the rotation with Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull on the injured list.
“It didn’t go the way that I wanted,” he said of his start Saturday in Anaheim, Calif. “I want to perform better. It’s just one start. I feel very confident I’ll be better for the next one.”
Peralta has made four appearances against the Astros during his career, allowing seven runs in 7 1/3 innings.
The Tigers will try to bounce back from Thursday’s debacle, in which their pitchers allowed 18 hits.
“We’ve got a challenge tomorrow ahead of ourselves,” manager AJ Hinch said. “One of their better pitchers is pitching, and they’re going to roll out of there a pretty good lineup.”
Detroit’s Akil Baddoo will look to extend his 11-game hitting streak. He had three hits on Thursday.
–Field Level Media