Astros-White Sox Preview

The Houston Astros raced to the top of the AL West thanks in large part to their dominant play on the road.

Now in the midst of a long losing streak, that one-time strength appears to have become a weakness.

Having dropped six in a row away from home, the Astros will try to avoid a three-game sweep by the host Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

Houston (34-26) won 12 of its first 15 on the road, but it's gone 3-10 there since. The Astros lost three games in Toronto over the weekend and have totaled three runs in the first two in Chicago after a 4-2 loss Tuesday.

Houston has dropped six in a row overall.

''We've got a lot of fight in us and we're going through a tough stretch,'' said manager A.J. Hinch, whose team has scored two or fewer runs in four of the last five road games after averaging 5.9 in the first 15. ''We'll come out of it a better team.''

Astros right-hander Vincent Velasquez will make his major league debut after going 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in five starts at Double-A Corpus Christi. Following the promotion of fellow rookie Lance McCullers, who's posted a 2.32 ERA in five starts, general manager Jeff Luhnow is hoping for similar results from Velasquez.

"Vince has dominated Double-A in a very similar way that McCullers has dominated, and I think we're emboldened to a certain extent by what McCullers has done up here," Luhnow told MLB's official website. "We're hoping Vince can replicate that, and we do believe he's got the weapons to be a successful major league pitcher and that he's not that far away. The window of opportunity seemed too good to pass up."

Velasquez will try to shut down Jose Abreu after the slugger went 2 for 4 and hit his 10th home run Tuesday. Abreu has gone 9 for 24 with six runs in his last six against the Astros.

"He's earned the respect of getting everybody's best stuff," manager Robin Ventura said. "If you're going to throw somebody your nastiest slider, for our team he gets it."

Chicago (27-30) will go with Jose Quintana (2-6, 4.28 ERA), who hasn't won in his last four starts as he continues to suffer from a lack of run support.

Quintana gave up four runs in 13 1-3 innings over his last two outings and has allowed two or fewer in seven of his 11 starts, but has received two or fewer runs of support in eight outings. He threw 6 1-3 innings of one-run ball while striking out seven in a 3-0 road loss to the Astros on May 30.

Houston rookie shortstop Carlos Correa is 3 for 8 with three RBIs in his first two career contests and hit his first home run Tuesday.

"He's going to contribute, he's very comfortable, and I'm happy for him," Hinch said. "He's coming in as advertised and shown real poise and a real presence."

Luis Valbuena went 0 for 4 on Tuesday in his sixth straight hitless performance. He's 0 for 19 since hitting a home run June 2 and his average is .180 - second worst among qualifying players.


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