Manager: Bo Porter, second year
Last 10 games: 6-4
Who to watch: RF George Springer (.269/.361/.510, 9 HR, 27 RBIs); 2B Jose Altuve (.317/.361/.430, 20 XBH, 17 RBIs, 17 SB); LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-2, 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP); RHP Scott Feldman (3-2, 3.02 ERA)
Season series vs. O's: 1-2, 12 runs scored, 11 runs allowed
May 29: Brad Peacock vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 8 p.m., MASN HD
May 30: Brett Oberholtzer vs. Miguel Gonzalez, 8 p.m., MASN2 HD
May 31: Dallas Keuchel vs. Chris Tillman, 4 p.m., MASN2 HD
June 1: Scott Feldman vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 2 p.m., MASN2 HD
The Astros might have the worst record in the American League, but the Orioles appear to be facing Houston at the exact wrong moment.
The Astros enter the four-game series having won five games in a row for the second-longest active winning streak in the majors. Houston's pitching staff, which ranks among the AL's worst, is performing at a high level while things have also started to click for rookie George Springer, who has keyed an offensive surge.
Springer is in the middle of an incredible hot streak, having hit six homers in his last six games, going homerless in just one of the Astros' last six contests and driving in 13 runs during that time. That has come as part of a 10-game hitting streak for Springer, during which he is batting .405 with a 1.532 OPS, 15 RBIs and 15 runs scored.
Overall, the 24-year-old now leads Houston with an .872 OPS, nine homers and 27 RBIs ... in just 37 games and 145 at-bats.
Second baseman Jose Altuve has continued to be a spark plug for Houston, leading the team with a .317 average to go with 20 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, 29 runs and 17 steals.
That has helped the Astros score nine runs in three of the last five contests and outscore opponents 34-10 during the winning streak.
Which brings us to the run of pitching.
While the staff as a whole has held the Mariners and Royals to just 10 runs over the last five games, the rotation has permitted five earned runs in 33 innings for a 1.36 ERA during that time.
Three of the starters from that stretch - former Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman and left-handers Dallas Keuchel and Brett Oberholtzer - will pitch in the series. Right-hander Brad Peacock will start tonight's opener.
Keuchel was named AL Player of the Week after going 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA, one complete game, one walk and 14 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings in two starts last week. He has thrown at least 8 2/3 innings in each of his last three starts, including a complete-game shutout on May 13 and a complete-game win on May 25, when he allowed just one unearned run.
That should make Saturday afternoon the series' must-watch matchup, as Keuchel looks to continue that run against Orioles ace Chris Tillman.
So the Astros might rank 14th in the AL in runs and average, as well as 12th in ERA, but those numbers are on the rise with the way they're playing of late.