Jered Weaver has been hit hard in his first two starts, though he might be running into a lineup that could help send him in the right direction.
The Los Angeles Angels open a three-game series in Houston on Friday night, and Weaver will be trying to keep the Astros' bats quiet.
Weaver (0-2, 8.71 ERA) made it through 4 1-3 innings of Saturday's 6-4 home loss to Kansas City, allowing six runs and seven hits while walking four and striking out five.
"I've got to figure something out," Weaver said. "Obviously this isn't the way I wanted to start the season, that's for sure."
It followed a 4-1 loss in Seattle on opening day in which the right-hander surrendered four runs and eight hits in six innings. In total, he's yielding a .349 opponent batting average with a 1.84 WHIP.
"I can't get the ball down and I can't get ahead of guys," Weaver said.
That hasn't been a problem against Houston, which has hit .182 against him in five career starts, resulting in a 3-2 record and 2.94 ERA. Reigning AL batting champion Jose Altuve is 3 for 16 against Weaver.
The Astros (4-5) haven't been much better at the plate this season and are among the league's worst in hitting (.204) and scoring (2.56 runs per game), though they've started to get some production from the top of the order.
Altuve was 1 for 11 through three games but has hit safely in six straight, including a 2-for-4 effort in Wednesday's 6-1 home win over Oakland to help avoid a three-game sweep.
Shortstop Jed Lowry was 2 for 3 with three RBIs and his third home run as he continued to bat third, while Evan Gattis has hits in three straight games after starting 0 for 20 with his new team. The designated hitter connected on his first home run Wednesday and has been in the cleanup spot with Chris Carter (2 for 30) struggling even more.
"Everyone in that clubhouse knows how much he's grinding to try to break out," manager A.J. Hinch said of Gattis. "So maybe this is a sign of things to come. He certainly takes every at-bat as if it's his last at-bat."
It's yet to turn into sustained run production, and Roberto Hernandez was on the wrong end of the weak support in his Astros debut. The right-hander was far from great in Saturday's 6-2 loss in Texas as he allowed five runs - one earned - and five hits while walking four in 4 2-3 innings, but Houston stranded 13 runners. That speaks to a larger problem with the lineup batting .135 with runners in scoring position.
Hernandez didn't face the Angels last season while pitching in the NL. Mike Trout took him deep in each of Hernandez's last two starts against Los Angeles and is 3 for 8 in their matchups overall.
Trout has been locked in to start his fifth big league season, batting .438 with a nine-game hitting streak after going 3 for 4 in Wednesday's 10-2 win in Texas. At Minute Maid Park, however, the outfielder is a career .190 hitter in 16 games for his worst average in any ballpark.
Albert Pujols has been even worse there lately with a 7-for-50 mark (.140) in his last 12 games.
They could have some help after the lineup began to break out against the Rangers to take two of three. The Angels (4-5) had a .371 on-base percentage in the series after posting a .245 mark through six games.
Los Angeles won 12 of 19 in the series a season ago but lost the last three in Houston.