Major League Baseball
Preview
Houston at Toronto
When: 7:07 PM ET, Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The Houston Astros are the hottest team in the majors in September, and their success this month has them on the verge of clinching consecutive division titles for the first time since winning three in a row from 1997-99. The Astros look to take one more step toward making that dream a reality Tuesday when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays in search of a fifth straight victory overall in the middle contest of a three-game set.

Brian McCann and Josh Reddick connected on back-to-back homers in the second inning as Houston raced out to a four-run lead after three frames and held on for a 5-3 win in Monday's series opener. The Astros, who are 17-4 in September, lowered their magic number to win the American League West to two. Houston (99-57) also only needs three victories over its final six contests to tie the 1998 club for the most wins in team history. Kevin Pillar homered Monday for the Blue Jays, who have dropped four of six following a four-game winning streak and lost three in a row to the Astros.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), Sportsnet (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Josh James (1-0, 2.81 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.18)

James secured his first major-league victory last Tuesday against Seattle, yielding four hits and two walks while striking out seven across 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his second career start. The Western Oklahoma State product earned his promotion at the beginning of the month by going 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA and fanning 171 in 114 1/3 frames across two minor-league stops. James has struck out 24 across 16 innings in four big-league appearances and is holding hitters to a .172 average entering his first start against Toronto.

Gaviglio is winless over his last four turns and hasn't lasted six innings over that time, including Thursday's no-decision versus Tampa Bay in which he permitted two runs over five innings. The 28-year-old Oregon native has not fared particularly well since joining the rotation for good in mid-May, posting a 2-8 record and 5.30 ERA in 22 starts. Evan Gattis has homered twice in three at-bats versus Gaviglio, who has given up seven runs in 12 frames while losing both of his career starts against Houston.

WALK-OFFS

1. With a victory on Tuesday, the Astros will match a club record by going 43 games over .500.

2. Toronto INF Yangervis Solarte went 2-for-4 on Monday to lift his batting average in nine career games against Houston to .387.

3. If Houston can win its final six games at Toronto and Baltimore, it will tie the 2001 Seattle Mariners (59-22) for the best road record in major-league history.

PREDICTION: Astros 7, Blue Jays 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Houston 99-57 W4 46-35 53-22 15-13 25-7 46-30 13-7
Toronto 71-86 L2 39-40 32-46 29-44 18-15 11-20 13-7
Last Meeting
Houston Toronto
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/24/18 HOU 5 TOR 3 .270 2 .803 .314 1 .826
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston A. Bregman .556 10 1.968
Toronto A. Diaz .417 5 .917
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston A. Bregman 3 5 7
Toronto K. Pillar 1 3 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 3.75 .291 41
Toronto 5.50 .257 27
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston J. Altuve .317 165 .844
Toronto K. Pillar .249 125 .701
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston A. Bregman 30 103 101
Toronto J. Smoak 25 67 77
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 3.14 .257 1637
Toronto 4.85 .245 1264