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Preview: Astros at Diamondbacks

GAME: Houston Astros (84-75) at Arizona Diamondbacks (78-81)
DATE/TIME: Friday, October 02 – 9:40 PM EST
WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

The Houston Astros control their fate in the American League wild-card race as they close the regular season with three games against the host Arizona Diamondbacks, beginning with Friday’s opener. Houston holds a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins in the battle for the second wild card.

Astros ace Dallas Kuechel will attempt to become the eighth pitcher in club history to win 20 games in a season as well as move Houston closer to a playoff berth. “I’m just going to approach it like any other start and we’ll go from there,” Keuchel told reporters. “Right now, I’m focused on helping this team win and try to get to the postseason.” Arizona star Paul Goldschmidt recorded his 107th RBI in Thursday’s 8-6 victory over Colorado but is just 1-for-10 with six strikeouts against Keuchel. The Diamondbacks have won four consecutive games and five of their last six and have clinched third place in the National League West.

TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, MLB Network, ROOT (Houston) FSN Arizona

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (19-8, 2.47 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Rubby De La Rosa (14-8, 4.56)

Keuchel might be looking for his 20th victory but he is just 4-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 road starts. He defeated division contenders Texas and Los Angeles in his last two outings and gave up two runs and eight hits in 14 2/3 innings. Keuchel is 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA in four career starts against Arizona, including a win Aug. 1 when he gave up two runs and two hits in six innings.

De La Rosa also has won his past two starts as he gave up two earned runs and five hits in 11 1/3 innings while beating San Francisco and San Diego. He is 7-3 at home but has a rather high ERA of 4.99 in 14 starts. De La Rosa allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings in his lone start against the Astros when he received a no-decision July 31.

WALK-OFFS

1. Astros 1B Chris Carter has slugged a homer in six of his past nine games.

2. Arizona LF David Peralta (wrist) departed Thursday’s game in the fourth inning and X-rays were negative.

3. Houston RF George Springer is 7-for-13 in the past three games and has recorded multiple hits in six of his last nine contests.

PREDICTION: Astros 4, Diamondbacks 2