Major League Baseball
Houston at Seattle
When: 10:10 PM ET, Friday, June 23, 2017
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

Felix Hernandez will be back on the mound for the first time in nearly two months when the Seattle Mariners open a three-game home series against the torrid Houston Astros on Friday. Hernandez has been sidelined due to a shoulder injury and will face a tough test in his return as the Astros are the first team in the majors to reach 50 victories this season.

Hernandez struggled in April prior to the injury but told reporters on Thursday he no longer is in pain, and Mariners manager Scott Servais is eager to see the 31-year-old on the hill. "Felix pitches with a lot of emotion, and the adrenaline will be up (Friday) night," Servais told reporters. "He's anxious to get back out there and help the team." Seattle has matched a season best with five consecutive victories as it goes up against Houston, which began a seven-game road trip with a four-game sweep in Oakland. "It doesn't really count for anything," Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters of notching win No. 50 on Thursday. "They don't really give us credit for anything until the end of the season, but it's obviously nice to win that many games that quickly."

TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, ROOT Southwest (Houston), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Joe Musgrove (4-6, 5.09 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (2-2, 4.73)

Musgrove has dropped back-to-back starts since returning from a shoulder injury. He was roughed up by Boston for five runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings in his last outing. The 24-year-old Musgrove is 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in two starts against Seattle this season.

Hernandez surrendered 39 hits - six homers - in just 26 2/3 innings prior to going on the disabled list. Opposing batters had a collective .348 average against him - well over his career .240 mark - but his control was superb as he walked just three batters. Hernandez is 3-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 11 career starts against the Astros and struggles with Jose Altuve (13-for-26) and Carlos Correa (4-for-8, one homer) but has shut down Josh Reddick (10-for-57).


1. Seattle 2B Robinson Cano slugged two homers, including his 11th career grand slam, and matched his personal best of six RBIs in Thursday's 9-6 victory over Detroit that completed its sweep.

2. Astros OF George Springer (hand) is day-to-day as X-rays were negative after he was plunked during Thursday's 12-9 victory.

3. Seattle OF Ben Gamel recorded a two-run double on Thursday to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.

PREDICTION: Astros 6, Mariners 5
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Houston 50-24 W4 23-16 27-8 9-4 10-10 26-10 5-0
Seattle 38-37 W5 24-13 14-24 5-8 12-9 13-16 8-4
Last Meeting
Houston Seattle
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/12/17 HOU 10 SEA 5 .410 0 .965 .243 2 .696
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston J. Reddick .318 7 .697
Seattle K. Seager .273 6 .752
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston G. Springer 4 5 8
Seattle M. Haniger 1 6 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 3.14 .268 60
Seattle 4.04 .212 52
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston J. Altuve .322 89 .912
Seattle N. Cruz .292 73 .897
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston G. Springer 21 54 46
Seattle N. Cruz 14 36 58
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 3.69 .280 750
Seattle 4.71 .265 540