The Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks are looking to solidify playoff berths during their season-ending three-game series that begins Friday night in Phoenix. Both clubs have a little breathing room as they focus on locking up their spots.
Houston stands 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers in the American League West but is in much better shape in the wild-card race. The Toronto Blue Jays have a one-game lead over the Astros for the second berth, while Houston is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the final spot.
The Astros just took two of three in Seattle to strengthen their positioning. Houston was off Thursday. Arizona lost 3-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon to miss an opportunity to move closer toward sewing up a National League wild-card berth.
The Diamondbacks, who hold the second NL wild-card spot, are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Miami Marlins and two games up on the Chicago Cubs. The Marlins were leading 2-1 in the ninth inning against the New York Mets before the game was suspended by rain Thursday night.
Houston’s 8-3 victory over Seattle on Wednesday was a pivotal clash. If the Astros had lost, the Mariners would have been nipping at their heels entering the weekend
The Diamondbacks send All-Star right-hander Zac Gallen (17-8, 3.49 ERA) to the mound on Friday. Gallen has struck out a career-high 213 batters. The NL Cy Young Award candidate is 6-3 over his last nine starts. He blanked the New York Mets on three hits and struck out eight in six innings in a 7-1 victory on Sunday.
Gallen is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four career starts against the Astros. Chas McCormick(3-for-5) and Jose Altuve (2-for-7) have both homered off Gallen, who has shut down Maldonado (0-for-7).
Houston counters with rookie right-hander J.P. France (11-6, 3.83), who wasn’t sharp in his past two starts, both against the Kansas City Royals. France went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA and allowed 12 hits and five walks over 9 1/3 innings.
Earlier this season, France went 7-0 with a 1.85 ERA over an eight-start span from late June to mid-August. France has never faced the Diamondback.
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Houston Astros vs Arizona Diamondbacks Game Information
- Date: 09/29/2023
- Time: 09:40 PM ET
- Location: Phoenix, Arizona.
- How to Watch: Astros vs Diamondbacks MLB.TV
- Live Stream: MLB.TV