HOUSTON – John Means is making his second start tonight since returning from Tommy John surgery, as the Orioles begin their last road trip of the regular season in Houston.
Means faced the Cardinals on Tuesday and allowed three runs in five innings. The Astros and Orioles are the only teams that he’s never faced in the American League.
Means has a 1.99 ERA in 11 career starts against AL West opponents. His last road start in the West was the no-hitter in Seattle in 2021.
José Abreu is 3-for-7 with a double and home run against Means.
Ryan Mountcastle is out of the lineup for the fifth game in a row with left shoulder discomfort. Heston Kjerstad makes his second start, serving as designated hitter.
Gunnar Henderson is the third baseman. Jordan Westburg is playing second.
Aaron Hicks starts in right field.
The Orioles have the best road record in club history at 48-26. They were 52-29 in 1997, 50-31 in 1980 and 35-22 in 1994.
Justin Verlander is 5-3 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.184 WHIP in eight starts since the Mets traded him to the Astros at the deadline. He’s made 24 starts against the Orioles and gone 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA and 1.179 WHIP in 154 1/3 innings.
Adam Frazier is 7-for-23 against Verlander. Aaron Hicks is 3-for-29 with a double, home run and 12 strikeouts.
Verlander needs one more win to become the fourth AL pitcher with at least 3,000 strikeouts and 250 victories, joining Roger Clemens, Walter Johnson and Bert Blyleven.
The Astros are 84-66 and leading the Rangers by 1½ games. They’re only 38-37 at home, but 46-29 on the road.
They’ve lost four of their last six games.
Houston was 20-6 against the Orioles at Minute Maid Park before 2021 but has lost five of six games in the last two series. The Astros won two of three at Camden Yards in August.
For the Orioles
Gunnar Henderson 3B
Adley Rutschman C
Ryan O’Hearn 1B
Austin Hays LF
Cedric Mullins CF
Aaron Hicks RF
Jordan Westburg 2B
Heston Kjerstad DH
Jorge Mateo SS
John Means LHP
For the Astros
José Altuve 2B
Alex Bregman 3B
Yordan Álvarez DH
José Abreu 1B
Kyle Tucker RF
Chas McCormick LF
Jeremy Peña SS
Mauricio Dubón CF
Martín Maldonado C
Justin Verlander RHP