Valdez expected to start as Houston hosts Toronto
Toronto Blue Jays (25-44, fourth in the AL East) vs. Houston Astros (47-23, first in the AL West)
Houston; Saturday, 4 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Blue Jays: Clayton Richard (0-2, 7.04 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 11 strikeouts) Astros: Framber Valdez (2-2, 2.73 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 28 strikeouts)
LINE: Blue Jays favored by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 9 runs
BOTTOM LINE: Houston and Toronto will square off at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.
The Astros are 26-10 in home games. The Houston offense has compiled a .266 batting average as a team this season, good for second in the majors. Michael Brantley leads the team with an average of .313.
The Blue Jays are 13-22 on the road. The Toronto offense has compiled a .222 batting average as a team this season, last in the league. Freddy Galvis leads the team with a mark of .247. The Astros won the last meeting 15-2. Gerrit Cole earned his sixth victory and Robinson Chirinos went 2-for-5 with a home run and six RBIs for Houston. Aaron Sanchez took his eighth loss for Toronto.
TOP PERFORMERS: Alex Bregman leads the Astros with 47 RBIs and is batting .272. Chirinos is 8-for-34 with a double, five home runs and 14 RBIs over the last 10 games for Houston.
Justin Smoak leads the Blue Jays with 34 RBIs and is batting .225. Teoscar Hernandez is 9-for-33 with four doubles, a home run and three RBIs over the last 10 games for Toronto.
LAST 10 GAMES: Astros: 7-3, .230 batting average, 4.28 ERA, outscored opponents by 10 runs
Blue Jays: 4-6, .239 batting average, 6.24 ERA, outscored by 21 runs
Astros Injuries: Joe Smith: 10-day IL (achilles), Collin McHugh: 10-day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-day IL (elbow), George Springer: 10-day IL (hamstring), Jake Marisnick: day-to-day (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 10-day IL (hamstring), Carlos Correa: 10-day IL (rib), Jose Altuve: 10-day IL (hamstring), Max Stassi: 10-day IL (knee).
Blue Jays Injuries: Jacob Waguespack: 10-day IL (shoulder), Ryan Tepera: 60-day IL (elbow), Matt Shoemaker: 60-day IL (knee), David Phelps: 60-day IL (elbow), Elvis Luciano: 10-day IL (elbow), Ken Giles: 10-day IL (elbow), Clay Buchholz: 60-day IL (shoulder), Ryan Borucki: 60-day IL (elbow), Dalton Pompey: 60-day IL (concussion), Devon Travis: 60-day IL (knee), Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: day-to-day (hand).