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Preview: Braves at Astros

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 23 2014 11:07:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 23 2014 11:07:37 PM CDT

The last week has not been kind to either the Atlanta Braves or the Houston Astros, and the former National League foes meet for the first time since 2012 on Tuesday in Houston looking to reverse their recent fortunes. The Braves sit two games behind first-place Washington in the NL East after a disappointing split in a four-game set with the Nationals last weekend, dropping the final two contests to fall to 2-5 in their past seven. The Astros have won just once in their past seven contests, losing three of four to Tampa Bay over the weekend.The struggles of late for both teams can be traced partly to offensive ineptitude. Atlanta scored only one run in its final two games at Washington while Houston scored a total of two runs in the three losses to the Rays, including a pair of shutout defeats. The Braves and Astros met five times in the NL playoffs from 1997-2005 and played 701 times in the regular season before Houston moved to the American League last season.TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Atlanta), CSN Houston PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Aaron Harang (5-6, 3.83 ERA) vs. Astros RH Scott Feldman (3-4, 3.95)Harang struggled mightily in his last start Wednesday against Philadelphia, giving up eight earned runs on 13 hits in five innings of a 10-5 loss. He has won just once in his past seven starts, but allowed three earned runs or fewer five times in that stretch. Harang has made 27 career starts against the Astros, going 14-9 with a 4.13 ERA, and is 7-5 lifetime at Minute Maid Park with a 3.81 ERA.Feldman won his first two starts but is 1-4 with a 5.56 ERA in his past nine outings. He pitched well in his last two appearances, getting no decisions despite allowing two earned runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings against Arizona on June 12 and surrendering two runs on six hits in five frames Wednesday at Washington. Feldman has faced the Braves twice in his 10-year career, going 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA.WALK-OFFS1. Houston 2B Jose Altuve leads the AL in hitting (.336), stolen bases (26) and paces all of baseball in hits (103).2. Atlanta CF B.J. Upton is hitting .151 in his past 17 games with 25 strikeouts in 73 at-bats.3. Houston rookie 1B Jon Singleton is 2-for-21 in his past eight games and did not start Sunday.PREDICTION: Braves 3, Astros 2

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