A late-season hot streak has the Phillies (72-71) right in the thick of the playoff race, following three quarters of the season in which the five-time defending National League East division champions seemed to be out of the mix for a sixth consecutive post-season appearance. The Phils have won 7 straight games to climb the standings and sit within 3 games of a Wild Card spot.
The Astros (45-98), however, are stuck in last place in the NL Central and possess the worst record in the majors. Houston has a 12-45 record since the All-Star break.
As PhilliesNation.com's Eric Seidman points out, the Astros have performed extremely well late in the season against the Phillies. From 2009-2011, Houston won 12 of 15 contests against the Phils from August onward.
Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other key statistics from this series.
Thursday, 8:05 PM. Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.24 ERA) vs. Lucas Harrell (10-9, 3.83 ERA). Cloyd, the Phillies' 18th round draft pick from 2008, will be starting his 4th big league game. In his lone road start, Cloyd allowed 1 earned run over 7 innings while earning a win against the Reds. Cloyd posted a 15-1 record with 2.26 ERA in 26 minor league starts this season. In 11 home starts this year, Harrell is 6-2 with a 2.06 ERA. In his last 4 starts, Harrell is 0-1 with a 3.96 ERA.
Friday, 8:05 PM. Cole Hamels (14-6, 3.03 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (5-12, 4.93 ERA). Hamels has a 3-0 record with a 2.27 ERA in his last 6 starts. In 14 road starts this season, Hamels has posted an 8-3 record with a 3.19 ERA. The right-hander Norris has gone without a win in his last 17 starts. In 5 career starts against the Phils, Norris has a 1-3 record with a 4.21 ERA. Carlos Ruiz is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in his career against Norris.
Saturday, 7:05 PM. Kyle Kendrick (9-10, 3.83 ERA) vs. Edgar Gonzalez (2-0, 1.74 ERA). The righty Gonzalez will be making his third big league start of the season. In 43 career games, opponents have his .300 against Gonzalez. In his last 6 starts, Kendrick is 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA. Kendrick is 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA in 5 career games against Houston.
Sunday, 2:05 PM. Roy Halladay (10-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-7, 5.35 ERA). In 4 career starts against Houston, Halladay has a 2-1 record with 1.16 ERA. Halladay has a 4-0 record with a 4.73 ERA in his last 5 starts. Jordan Shafer is 1-for-10 (.100 avg) in his career against Halladay. The lefty Keuchel has not won in his last 11 starts. In 8 home starts this season, Keuchel has a 1-3 record and a 3.51 ERA.
Jed Lowrie, who just returned from an ankle injury this week, has 14 HR and 36 RBI this season. Lowrie is hitless in 2 career games against the Phils.
In 4 career games against the Phillies, J.D. Martinez is 7-for-16 (.438 avg). In 30 games since the All-Star break, Martinez has a .232 batting average.
Former Cardinals 1st round draft pick Tyler Greene is batting .242 in 29 games since joining the Astros. In 12 career games against the Phillies, Greene has a .226 average with 3 doubles.
Jimmy Rollins is 15-for-46 (.326 avg) with 4 HR and 9 RBI in 11 September games. In 71 career games against the Astros, Rollins has a .305 average with 10 HR and 28 RBI.
After posting a .232 batting average prior to the All-Star break, John Mayberry Jr. has tallied a .284 batting average since the mid-summer classic. Mayberry has a .238 average with runners on base this season.
Erik Kratz is 4-for-28 (.143 avg) with a double and a HR in 8 September games. Kratz is batting .233 on the road this season.
Phillies team ERA in September- 2.21 (2nd in MLB)
Astros team ERA in September- 3.09 (7th in MLB)
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