What's buzzing:

Astros-White Sox Preview

AP - Sports

Astros manager Bo Porter believe Dallas Keuchel is one of baseball's best pitchers, even if the left-hander went through a bit of a slump prior to the All-Star break.

Porter surely isn't feeling as strongly about Houston's struggling offense.

Keuchel takes the hill Saturday night against the Chicago White Sox as the visiting Astros look to avoid a third straight defeat.

A solid start to the season gave Keuchel (9-5, 3.20 ERA) a chance to be an All-Star, but he fell short of the AL's final spot via the fan vote. He had a 2.38 ERA after beating Arizona on June 11 and had allowed more than three runs just twice in his first 13 starts.

Keuchel has given up at least four in each of his last four outings, though, going 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA in that stretch. He allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-4 win over Texas in his most recent start July 9, though Porter was impressed with how Keuchel recovered after giving up each run in the first two innings.

"He proved why he's one of the best pitchers in the American League and one of the best pitchers in baseball," Porter said. "To give up (four early runs) and grab back control of the game ... speaks volumes to his maturity and the type of season he's having."

Keuchel was solid in his only start against the White Sox on June 16, 2013, giving up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-4 win. He shouldn't count on that type of run support in this contest since the Astros (40-57) have scored just eight runs over their last four.

Houston jumped out to a 2-0 lead on three hits in the second inning of Friday's series opener, but four White Sox pitchers combined to retire the final 22 batters in a 3-2 loss.

"We struck out 14 times. Offensively it is tough when you don't make the other team defend the baseball," Porter said.

Dayan Viciedo hit a two-run homer in the sixth to tie it for the White Sox. Tyler Flowers, who came in hitting .106 over his previous 18 games, drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the seventh.

"I've been feeling better for the last 10 games maybe," Flowers said. "I haven't had a whole lot of success statistically, but I've been seeing the ball a lot better."

Chicago (46-51) had lost four of five before the All-Star game.

"There were some good things that happened that you like to see coming out of the break," manager Robin Ventura said.

Jose Abreu went 1 for 4 and has hit safely in 27 of his last 28. He's batting .355 with 10 homers in that span, though he's just 1 for 10 in three games against Houston.

The White Sox will look to win for the fifth time in their last six at home as they send Hector Noesi to the mound.

Noesi (3-7, 5.26) went into the break on a sour note after giving up six runs and walking four in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-4 loss to Cleveland on July 11. The White Sox have lost five of his last six starts.

"Every inning, I try to do the best I can for myself and for my team, but sometimes, you can't help what happens," Noesi said. "We're not perfect, so we make mistakes."

The right-hander wasn't at his best against the Astros on May 17, either, giving up six runs - five earned - and eight hits in six innings of a 6-4 loss.

View Comments (1)
  • Royals 1B Hosmer hoping to build off postseason success

    Royals 1B Hosmer hoping to build off postseason success

    Eric Hosmer hit a basketball, football and volleyball for a PlayStation commercial at Surprise Stadium, the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals. Hosmer said the basketball was the easiest to hit because ''it's so big.'' A baseball must … More »

    AP - Sports - 15 minutes ago
  • Indians' Kluber rises quickly to become star AL pitcher

    Indians' Kluber rises quickly to become star AL pitcher

    Corey Kluber was suddenly on a roster of baseball immortality. ''Yeah, it kind of hit me then,'' the Indians' sublime right-hander said. ''I don't think a lot of people down there watch Indians games.'' Steady and stoic, almost robotic, Kluber … More »

    AP - Sports - 28 minutes ago
  • Santana eyes another comeback with Jays

    Santana eyes another comeback with Jays

    When Johan Santana walked into the Blue Jays' clubhouse for the first time early Saturday morning, a surprise was waiting inside his locker. Taped in the upper left hand corner, directly above his blue No. 57 jersey and cap, was a photograph of the … More »

    AP - Sports - 49 minutes ago
  • Hometown boys Molitor, Mauer trying to turn Twins around

    Hometown boys Molitor, Mauer trying to turn Twins around

    On a chilly winter afternoon in St. Paul, two St. Paul natives sat down for lunch at a St. Paul restaurant and did what St. Paul guys do - they talked about what it's going to take to fix the Minnesota Twins. Paul Molitor was the newly named Twins … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 13 minutes ago
  • RF Matt Kemp confident about new-look Padres being contender

    RF Matt Kemp confident about new-look Padres being contender

    Matt Kemp stood up from his locker, navy blue hoodie covering his head and began signing the nursery rhyme, ''Rain, Rain, Go Away.'' Aside from Saturday's gray skies and precipitation in the forecast all weekend, San Diego's new right fielder is … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 26 minutes ago