The Houston Astros are coming off their first series loss in more than two weeks, but the team is returning home to face the Texas Rangers on Thursday after receiving some good news.
Veteran right-hander Jake Odorizzi avoided a catastrophic injury, with an MRI revealing strains of ligaments around his left ankle/foot.
The diagnosis allowed the Astros to feel slightly better despite concluding a nine-game road trip with a 5-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday in the rubber match of a three-game series.
While there is no timetable for Odorizzi to return, he avoided a rupture of his Achilles tendon, which was his initial fear when he collapsed between the mound and first base during his Monday start against the Red Sox.
"There's no damage to my Achilles. That's really the main takeaway," Odorizzi said. "There's some other damage to stuff in there, but not on the Achilles itself, which is the big problem.
"So we avoided that. I'd say it's best-case scenario when you just avoid a season-ending surgery. Things are more positive than what they could have been, I guess."
Odorizzi, currently on the 15-day injured list, had pitched exceptionally following a ragged start to the season. He is 3-0 with an 0.79 ERA over his past four starts, allowing opponents a .122/.177/.189 slash line while recording 16 strikeouts against five walks in 22 2/3 innings.
Without Odorizzi, the Astros will utilize a five-man rotation after relying on six starters during this current stretch of 33 games in 34 days. That Odorizzi should return this season softens the blow of his absence.
Houston left-hander Framber Valdez (2-2, 2.93 ERA) will start the opener against Texas on Thursday. He is coming off his longest outing of the season: a stint of 7 2/3 innings during which he allowed one run on seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts in a 6-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday.
Valdez has faced the Rangers previously this season, allowing one run, which was unearned, on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in a no-decision on April 25.
Valdez is 3-2 with a 3.05 ERA over nine career appearances (six starts) against Texas.
Right-hander Glenn Otto (1-1, 6.38 ERA) has the starting assignment for the Rangers. He matched his career high for hits (eight), walks (four) and earned runs (eight) allowed in his latest start, an 11-3 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday. Otto had allowed just eight hits and five runs over his previous three starts and 14 1/3 innings.
A Houston-area native and Rice University product, Otto will make his first career appearance at Minute Maid Park in what will be his fourth start against the Astros. He is 0-1 with a 6.39 ERA against Houston -- all at Globe Life Field. On April 27, he allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings during the Rangers' 4-3 loss to the AStros.
Texas completed a three-game series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 6-5, walk-off win on Wednesday. Nathaniel Lowe slugged a two-run home run on the first pitch of the 10th inning off Angels closer Raisel Iglesias. Texas comes to Houston on a four-game win streak.
"This group fights and this group fights," Lowe said. "That's what we do."
Houston is 2-3 in the past five games immediately after an 11-game winning streak.
--Field Level Media