Will O’s be up to the challenge of the now hot Astros?

Is the pressure really on the Orioles in this series at Houston? The Astros have the worst record in the AL at 21-37, and only the Florida Marlins keep them from having the worst record in baseball.

The Astros this season are 0-4 against Boston, 0-9 vs. Oakland, 1-6 against Detroit and 1-5 vs. Texas.

But, here is the issue: Most of those losses came during Houston’s first 40 games when they went 10-30. Last night, Houston completed a four-game road sweep against the Angels, and the Astros are 11-7 since that 10-30 start.

During that 18-game run, Houston starting pitchers have worked to an ERA of 3.39. Yeah, that is pretty good.

Here is another impressive stat from that 18-game stretch: Of those games, 13 were decided by two runs or less, and Houston is 9-4 in those games.

Houston just completed a road trip to Colorado and Los Angeles, in which they won their last six games, giving the team six straight road wins for the first time since July 18-22, 2005. They just completed their first four-game sweep since Aug. 23-26, 2010 at Philadelphia.

The Astros are not a total pushover any more. They are playing their best baseball of the season as the Orioles come to town tonight.

Another stat to watch tonight is Chris Tillman’s homers allowed. He gave up just three homers over his first six starts, but has now yielded 11 over his last five starts and six over his last two starts, covering just 9 2/3 innings.

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