Description: Astros starter Jordan Lyles turned in his third straight start of seven innings and two runs or less Tuesday against the Brewers in a 10-1 victory.
Insight: Lyles had an 8.36 ERA after his first three starts, but the righty is 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA and a 33/10 K/BB in 44 2/3 innings over his last seven. The former prospect seems to be finally figuring things out.
Description: Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez went 2-for-3 with a homer and five RBI Tuesday against Milwaukee.
Insight: Dominguez is only hitting .236 with a .665 OPS, but he does have 10 homers and 40 RBI. Just be sure not to use him away from Minute Maid Park -- he's hitting .298 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and an .871 OPS at home, compared to .176 with two homers, 13 RBI and a .467 OPS on the road.
Description: The Astros have promoted top prospect 1B Jonathan Singleton to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Insight: After serving a 50-game suspension for failing a second drug test for marijuana, Singleton has hit .271 with five homers and a 1.024 OPS in 17 games with Class-A Quad Cities and Double-A Corpus Christi. Singleton, 21, could be in the majors later this season if he succeeds at Triple-A. We'll track his progress periodically.
Description: Astros starter Jordan Lyles is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 28/10 K/BB in 37 2/3 innings over his last six starts.
Insight: Lyles two-hit the Mariners and struck out 10 over seven scoreless frames Wednesday night in a no decision. The right-hander is a former top-100 prospect who seems to have put things together for the first time in his career. He's worth a look in AL-only leagues, and can be used in favorable matchups in deep mixed leagues.
Description: Astros starter Bud Norris fired six scoreless innings of four-hit baseball to beat the Angels Saturday night.
Insight: Norris has a 2.88 ERA over his last eight starts and a 3.39 ERA on the year. The right-hander's strikeout rate is a career-low 5.74, but he has limited the home runs this season and even has been a little unlucky with a .323 BABIP.
Description: Houston center fielder Justin Maxwell (hand) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Insight: Maxwell suffered a broken left hand in the last week of April. He took 20 swings in the cage Thursday and should be back in early June. He'll return to a .234 average, one homer and 22 strikeouts in 77 at-bats.
Description: Houston second baseman Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 in his return from the bereavement list Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Insight: While strikeout-prone sluggers Chris Carter and Carlos Pena offer some value in NL-only leagues, Altuve is the only Astros player most fantasy owners should own. He's batting .342 with two homers, 19 RBI, 17 runs and four steals.
Description: Houston second baseman Jose Altuve will return to the lineup Saturday against the Pirates, according.
Insight: Altuve (.333, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 17 runs) was placed on the bereavement list Tuesday morning due to the death of his grandmother. He also suffered a dislocated jaw Monday night, so the time off allowed him to heal. Get him back in your fantasy lineups.
Description: Houston second baseman Jose Altuve is expected to return to the lineup Saturday against the Pirates, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.
Insight: Altuve (.333, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 17 runs) was placed on the bereavement list Tuesday morning due to the death of his grandmother. He also suffered a dislocated jaw Monday night, so the time off will allow him to heal.
Description: Houston starter Philip Humber has been designated for assignment.
Insight: Even the Astros have to draw the line somewhere. Humber fell to 0-8 after Saturday's loss to Texas, watching his ERA skyrocket from 8.49 to 9.59 in the process. The perfect game Humber threw for the White Sox last April now seems like a distant memory.
Description: Astros outfielder Chris Carter is hitless in 10 previous at bats against Angels lefty Jason Vargas.
Insight: Carter leads Houston with eight homers and 18 RBI this season. Unfortunately, his batting average is hovering right around the Mendoza line (.212 in 33 games). Thursday would be a good day to leave Carter on the bench.
Description: Astros outfielder Rick Ankiel has been designated for assignment.
Insight: Ankiel has been pitiful at the plate this season. An astounding 56 percent of his at bats have resulted in strikeouts. Ankiel's career isn't over yet but it's definitely not a good sign when the Astros are cutting you loose.
Description: Astros lefthander Erik Bedard is heading back to the bullpen. SOURCE: Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle
Insight: Bedard began the season as a long relief man but Houston's lack of depth forced him to become a starter. He's 0-2 with a 9.98 ERA in five starts this season. Obviously, he has no fantasy value in either role.
Description: Houston starter Bud Norris allowed nine hits and five runs (three earned) in six innings Sunday against Boston.
Insight: Norris has a 22/13 K/BB in 30 innings this year. He has allowed three runs or fewer in five of his six starts but he gave up six runs in 2/3 of an inning in his worst start and has a 4.20 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.
Description: If the Astros are looking for a little scoring punch, then minor leaguer George Springer could be the answer. He's batting .299 with six home runs and 16 RBI in his first 67 at-bats for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.
Insight: Springer batted .302 with 24 homers between the California and Texas Leagues last season and might be worth a look with Justin Maxwell sidelined by injury.
Description: Astros starter Philip Humber was bombed for eight hits and eight earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning Saturday night against the Indians.
Insight: Houston has had a starter fail to get out of the first inning three times in the past five games. Humber's first three outings were strong, but his latest one offsets those. He's now 0-4 with a 6.63 ERA.
Description: Neither of Houston's starters the last two days have made it out of the first inning. Bud Norris only recorded two outs Wednesday while allowing five hits, three walks and six runs to the Athletics.
Insight: Norris had a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP after three starts, so he's worth holding onto for another turn or two to see if he can get regain his composure. Norris lasted one out longer than Erik Bedard, who gave up six runs in 1/3 of an inning Tuesday night.
Description: White Sox infielder Tyler Greene is 5-for-11 against Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ with a pair of home runs and a 1.545 OPS.
Insight: Greene is one of Chicago's second base options with Gordon Beckham sidelined. He went 2-for-3 on Monday, but sat as Jeff Keppinger started on Tuesday. Greene should get the nod for Wednesday's game with this favorable matchup.
Description: Astros starter Philip Humber is 0-3, but he has a 2.89 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.
Insight: Humber has allowed six earned in 18 2/3 innings, but Houston has scored just one run combined in his three starts. The right-hander had a 6.44 ERA and 1.54 WHIP last season, but he did have a 3.75 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 2011 and threw a perfect game last April for the White Sox.
Description: Astros starter Bud Norris beat the Rangers on Opening Day by going 5 2/3 innings and allowing two earned on five hits and three walks. He struck out five.
Insight: Norris has struck out just under 9.0 batters per nine innings the last three seasons but posted an ERA in the high fours in two of them. Despite the positive result Sunday, his outlook as a No. 1 starter in the AL West is bleak.
Description: Rick Ankiel is expected to be the starting right fielder for the Houston Astros this season. He is hitting .432 with four homers in 45 at-bats this spring.
Insight: Ankiel has recorded a batting average of .235 over the past three seasons as a part-time outfielder for Kansas City, Atlanta and Washington. The last time he had 400 at-bats in a season was 2008, when Ankiel had a .264 batting average, 25 homers and an .843 OPS in 413 at-bats.
Description: Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez could have to start the season on the disabled list with a left oblique injury. SOURCE: MLB.com
Insight: Martinez missed a week earlier this spring with lower back tightness. He was expected to serve as the fourth outfielder on Opening Day as a backup to Chris Carter, Jason Maxwell and Rick Ankiel.
Description: Houston left-hander Erik Bedard has been named the team's fifth starter, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.
Insight: Bedard went 4-5 with a 3.26 ERA and 1.16 WHIP at PNC Park last season as a member of the Pirates, but 3-9 with a 6.98 ERA and 1.82 WHIP on the road. Moving away from PNC and to the American League won't help.
Description: Astros righty Brad Peacock, who was acquired from Oakland in the Jed Lowrie trade, will serve as Houston's fourth starter. SOURCE: Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle
Insight: The 25-year-old Peacock had been traded in each of the last two offseasons, as he went from Washington to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal. He had a 6.01 ERA at Triple-A last season and shouldn't be owned anywhere but the deepest NL-only leagues.
Description: Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has confirmed that newly signed shortstop Ronny Cedeno will be the team's starter, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.
Insight: Tyler Greene, who is out of options, will not make the Opening Day roster. Cedeno is a career .247 hitter who doesn't hit for power or run much and has a negative career UZR. In other words, he's a perfect Astro.
Description: The Astros have optioned outfielder J.D. Martinez to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Insight: Martinez had 395 at-bats for the Astros last season and hit .241 with a .685 OPS. It looks like Houston will go with Chris Carter (16 HRs in 2012) in left field, Justin Maxwell in center and Fernando Martinez in right.
Description: The Astros will go with Bud Norris as the Opening Day starter.
Insight: Norris has struck out just under 9.0 batters per nine innings the last three seasons but posted an ERA in the high fours in two of them. Moving to the AL West and facing the opponent's best starter won't help.
Description: Astros manager Bo Porter said second baseman Jose Altuve will start the season as his No. 2 hitter.
Insight: Altuve was the best offensive player on the Houston roster (.290, 80 runs, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 33 SB) and we hate to see anything that would result in fewer at-bats. The All-Star led off in 85 games last season, versus 48 in the second hole and 14 elsewhere.
Description: Houston right-hander Jose Veras is the front-runner to be the team's full-time closer, according to the Astros' official website. "If you're going to take a chance on someone to be a first-time closer, that's the type of guy you want," manager Bo Porter said. "We do have other pitchers that will get an opportunity to pitch late in the game, whether it's [Rhiner] Cruz, who had a really good winter league, or [Hector] Ambriz. There are others who will get a look, but Veras has the experience right now and is the front-runner."
Insight: Veras has appeared in 327 games at the big league level but has just five saves with a 4.01 ERA. Houston still had 31 saves as a team last season despite losing 107 games, so Veras will certainly have value if he wins the job. But he might have a hard time keeping it if he walks 4.9 batters per nine innings like he has in his first 314 1/3 innings.
Description: Lefthander Erik Bedard has agreed to a minor league contract with Houston.
Insight: 2012 didn't go quite as planned for Bedard (7-14, 5.01 ERA in 24 starts before Pittsburgh released him in late August) but he was actually rather effective the season before, producing a 3.62 ERA in 24 starts for the Mariners and Red Sox in 2011. Bedard's not going to win a whole lot of games pitching for the Astros but he could post a respectable ERA if he can stay healthy.
Description: Houston has taken a shot on Phil Humber, claiming the right-hander off waivers from the White Sox.
Insight: The move would have been a positive one in the past if only because it would have moved Humber to the lighter hitting National League. However, with Houston slated to move to the AL West in 2013, Humber will find himself stuck in the league in which he posted a 6.44 ERA in 102 innings in 2012.
Description: According to the Astros' official website, Houston GM Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday he would be comfortable with Wilton Lopez handling the closing duties next season.
Insight: Lopez has been very reliable for Houston over the past three seasons, tossing 203 1/3 innings and recording a cumulative 2.66 ERA. He took over at closer for Brett Myers after Myers was traded and has saved nine games in 12 chances overall.
Description: Houston starter Jordan Lyles finished up the 2012 season with his best outing of the year. He tossed his first career complete game shutout, limiting the Brewers to only four hits and a walk.
Insight: Lyles even got a little run support as the Astros provided him with seven runs to work with. Despite the strong outing, Lyles is still only 5-12 for the year with a 5.09 ERA and probably won't warrant much consideration in next year's fantasy draft.
Description: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will get the afternoon off Sunday against the Brewers.
Insight: It's a bit of a surprise to see Altuve sidelined considering that he's hit .413 versus Milwaukee in 2012. Tyler Greene (.225, 11 HR, 28 RBI) is getting the start at second base in his absence.
Description: Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie is taking the afternoon off Sunday against Pittsburgh.
Insight: Lowrie's troublesome knee has rendered him mostly a part-time player at this point. Assuming Lowrie (.254, 15 HR, 41 RBI) uses the offseason to get his knee back to 100 percent, he should be a strong shortstop play in fantasy next season.
Description: Houston shortstop Jed Lowrie is hitting .269 with a .768 OPS in nine games since returning from the disabled list but Sunday brings a matchup with A.J. Burnett. The Pirates starter has held Lowrie in check in the past.
Insight: Lowrie is a .190 hitter (4-for-21) with one RBI and four strikeouts against Burnett so get him out of your lineup Sunday.
Description: Houston starter Bud Norris (blister, flu) started for the first time since Sept. 8 Thursday against St. Louis but it didn't go well. Norris allowed five runs on six hits while walking five in 5 1/3 innings.
Insight: Norris has been awful this season, posting an ERA of 4.97 or higher in four of the previous five months. Thursday's performance brings his September ERA up to 5.40.
Description: Houston shortstop Jed Lowrie won't start Thursday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Lowrie's knee still isn't 100 percent and you can expect him to see only part-time action for the rest of the season. Feel free to drop Lowrie (.252, 14 HR, 38 RBI) if you have another option lined up at shortstop.
Description: The Astros released righthander Francisco Cordero on Monday.
Insight: Cordero hasn't appeared in a major league game since August 1st while dealing with injuries to his toe and shoulder. He's had a miserable season, blowing six out of his eight save opportunities. There's no reason to pay attention to Cordero in fantasy next year.
Description: Astros first baseman Brett Wallace corked his seventh home run of the season Monday in a win over the Pirates.
Insight: Wallace had been one for his last 15 heading into today's action. Despite his impressive performance on Monday, we wouldn't recommend owning Wallace or anybody else on this miserable Houston squad in fantasy, unless, of course, your name happens to be Jose Altuve.
Description: Houston righthander Bud Norris left Wednesday's start after taking a comebacker off his left foot.
Insight: It's just a bruise so we're guessing Norris (5-10, 5.23 ERA) will be out there for his next start Wednesday in St. Louis. Not that you'd want to start Norris anyway after how poorly he pitched in this outing (eight hits, six earned runs in just three and a third innings).
Description: Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie (knee, ankle) does not have a timetable for his return, according to the team's official website.
Insight: Lowrie was putting up elite power numbers for a fantasy shortstop before being sidelined with a sprained right ankle in mid-July. Lowrie has yet to resume baseball activities and he may not return in time to contribute to your fantasy team this season.
Description: Astros starter Lucas Harrell improved to 9-7 and lowered his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since late May with a quality start Saturday against Atlanta.
Insight: Harrell (9-7, 3.98) has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts to lower his ERA from 5.07 to 3.98 in that span. The right-hander doesn't rack up strikeouts and walks too many batters but he's still a solid option in NL-only formats.
Description: Houston reliever Francisco Cordero has been placed on the DL with an inflamed toe.
Insight: Cordero (3-8, 7.55 ERA) inherited the closer's role after the Astros traded Brett Myers to the White Sox but was unable to convert any of his three save chances. He'll likely be a setup man upon his return from the disabled list.
Description: Astros manager Brad Mills said Tuesday that Wilton Lopez is his new primary closer, according to Brain McTaggart of MLB.com. Francisco Cordero blew each of his three save chances after coming over from Toronto.
Insight: Lopez is someone to target in all leagues even if the Astros won't hand him many save opportunities.
Description: After being anointed closer by Astros manager Brad Mills Tuesday, Wilton Lopez threw during batting practice and experienced tightness in his elbow, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Insight: Lopez will be unavailable Tuesday. The right-hander spent time on the DL earlier this season due to a strained UCL.
Description: After going 0-2 on Wednesday, Houston outfielder Jordan Schafer is out of the lineup for Thursday night's series finale against Pittsburgh.
Insight: Schafer's fantasy stock has taken a nosedive in recent weeks. He's hitless in his last 14 trips to the dish (0-for-11 with three walks) and is now hitting .170 for the month with no homers and just two RBIs.
Description: Astros starter Bud Norris' no decision Wednesday was his best result since late May. Norris held Cincinnati to one run on five hits in seven innings after losing seven straight starts.
Insight: Norris (5-8, 5.05) had a sub-four ERA last season and started off 5-1 with a 3.14 this year, but he's gone 0-7 with a 7.43 ERA in nine starts since then. He's only an NL-only option at this point, but he does have a 9.4 K/9 so keep him on your radar if he can string a couple of solid starts together.
Description: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve went 10-for-19 with four walks and no strikeouts in his last five games following a slump that knocked his batting average down to .287.
Insight: Altuve started the second half in a 3-for-28 slump, but he's gotten things going again in his last five games. Most of the second baseman's value is tied to his batting average, so he needs to keep that above .300 in order to remain a viable option.
Description: New Astros closer Francisco Cordero's first save chance with Houston went as poorly as his brief time as Toronto's closer earlier this season. Cordero allowed a go-ahead two-run homer to Drew Stubbs and followed by walking two before serving up an RBI single to Xavier Paul.
Insight: Cordero has recorded an ERA over six this season and it wouldn't surprise us if Wilton Lopez was given a shot at the ninth inning after a few more flameouts by the veteran.
Description: As we predicted earlier, Francisco Cordero will take over Houston's closer role after Brett Myers was traded to the White Sox, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
Insight: Cordero (3-5, 5.77 ERA) was traded to the Astros Friday as part of a 10-player trade. With Brandon Lyon and Myers out of the picture, Cordero is the only member of Houston's bullpen with closing experience so he was the obvious choice to assume the role. Keep Wilton Lopez in mind if Cordero falters.
Description: Now that Brett Myers has been traded to the White Sox, newly-acquired reliever Francisco Cordero may be in line to assume Houston's closer role.
Insight: Cordero (3-5, 5.77 ERA) was traded to the Astros Friday as part of a 10-player trade. With Brandon Lyon and Myers out of the picture, Cordero is the only member of Houston's bullpen with closing experience.
Description: Reliever Francisco Cordero was shipped to Houston Friday as part of a ten-player swap between the Astros and Blue Jays.
Insight: Cordero (3-5, 5.77 ERA) struggled during his half a season with Toronto but perhaps he'll fare better in Houston now that he has a clean slate again. He'll serve as the Astros setup man leading up to closer Brett Myers (0-4, 3.52, 19-for-21 in save chances) in the ninth inning.
Description: Houston first baseman Matt Downs smacked a pair of home runs Wednesday in the Astros' 8-4 loss to San Diego. Downs, who finished with three hits, drove in all four of Houston's runs.
Insight: Downs (.191, 7 HRs, 13 RBIs) is starting to see a bit more playing time at first base now that Carlos Lee has been traded but it's probably still a bit of a stretch to call him "fantasy-worthy" at this point.
Description: Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow believes shortstop Jed Lowrie will be out 4-6 weeks while he recovers from a spained right ankle. Lowrie is also struggling with a nerve problem in his right leg.
Insight: Marwin Gonzalez (.286, 1 HRs, 3 RBIs) is starting at shortstop Tuesday night against San Diego and if he continues to hit the way he has over the past two games (4-8), Gonzalez should get plenty of reps at that position while Lowrie (.253, 14 HRs, 36 RBIs) is sidelined.
Description: Houston shortstop Jed Lowrie has nerve damage in his leg in addition to the sprained right ankle that landed him on the DL, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Insight: Astros manager Brad Mills said the nerve damage is a bigger issue than the ankle injury. It is unknown how long he'll be out with the nerve issue, but it could be awhile before we see Lowrie back on the field.
Description: Houston shortstop Jed Lowrie has landed on the DL with a sprained right ankle.
Insight: Lowrie was DL'd with a sprained thumb earlier in the year so staying healthy has proven to be a challenge for the 28-year-old. When he's been on the field, Lowrie has been one of the steadiest producers in the Astros' lineup, bopping 14 homers to the tune of a .253 average.
Description: Houston shortstop Jed Lowrie injured himself Saturday against the Giants and had to come out of the game in the third inning. He was seen on crutches after the game.
Insight: It's unclear what exactly is wrong with Lowrie. Originally it had been reported as an ankle sprain but other sources are saying Lowrie's injury could a knee issue. Either way, it seems doubtful that Lowrie (.253, 14 HRs, 36 RBIs) will be available to play on Sunday.
Description: Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com that relievers Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon are on the trade market, meaning Wilton Lopez would likely assume Houston's closer role.
Insight: Lopez has a 2.51 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 32 1/3 innings this season, and he's also walked just four batters against 26 strikeouts. The right-hander has had a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the last three seasons, so while Houston may not provide him with many save chances, he's a worthwhile add in all formats.
Description: Houston third baseman Chris Johnson is expected to miss Wednesday's game against Pittsburgh with a strained left lat muscle.
Insight: Johnson (.280, 6 HR, 34 RBI) has been slumping this week going just 2-for-11 in his last three games. There are enough fantasy-worthy third baseman that Johnson is primarily depth on most fantasy rosters.
Description: Houston shortstop Jed Lowrie is a career .111 batter (2-for-18) versus Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett.
Insight: Lowrie's batting average isn't anything to write home about, but his 14 HR and .809 OPS are elite for fantasy shortstops. He's a must start on most day, but has an unfavorable matchup on Tuesday.
Description: Houston first baseman Carlos Lee is unlikely to waive his no-trade clause, which would allow him to be traded to the Dodgers.
Insight: A deal is already in place but Lee's contract allows him to have the final say and it looks like he's going to veto the trade. The 36-year-old is hitting .285 with five homers and 29 RBIs in 62 games for the Astros in 2012.
Description: Astros starter Bud Norris returned from the disabled list Friday against the Cubs. The right-hander served up three homers and allowed four earned runs in a loss.
Insight: Norris (5-5, 4.90) missed two weeks with a sprained knee. The right-hander has solid strikeout potential, but he shouldn't be used away from Minute Maid Park, where he is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts this season.
Description: Houston shortstop Jed Lowrie is not in the Astros' starting lineup Friday against Chicago.
Insight: Lowrie's batting average isn't anything special (.262) but no other shortstops in the National League have been able to keep up with his elite home run production so far in 2012 (14 HRs in 68 games this season).
Description: Astros third baseman Chris Johnson could be in for a rough afternoon at Wrigley Field on Friday. He's 1-12 (.083) with a pair of strikeouts in his career against Chicago starter Paul Maholm.
Insight: Johnson (.280, 6 HRs, 34 RBIs) is having a decent season for Houston but he can't be trusted Friday against Maholm.
Description: Astros starter Bud Norris has been activated from the 15-day DL and will start Friday afternoon at Wrigley Stadium against the Cubs. Norris has been out since spraining his left knee June 12 in a start against the Giants.
Insight: Norris (5-4, 4.81 ERA) is 3-2 with a 1.89 ERA in six career appearances against the Cubs.
Description: Astros closer Brett Myers had a disasterous outing Thursday against San Diego, but five of the six runs he allowed were unearned due to an error.
Insight: Myers entered with a 3-1 lead and allowed four hits, including a grand slam. The Astros closer had a similar appearance on June 18 when he allowed five runs on eight hits in 2/3 innings. Fantasy owners were lucky Myers was able to escape with just one earned run allowed Thursday. Myers may only have one month left as a closer, as Houston may choose to deal him to a contender looking for middle relief help at the trade deadline.
Description: The Astros are hoping to have second baseman Jose Altuve (hamstring) back over the weekend, Houston's official website reports.
Insight: Altuve is not in the lineup Thursday. He hasn't played since he injured his hamstring Sunday. Astros manager Brad Mills doesn't want Altuve back on the field until he can run at 100 percent, so Saturday is likely the earliest day the second baseman will be available.
Description: Astros starter Lucas Harrell handled San Diego Wednesday in his first career complete game.
Insight: Harrell shut out the Padres on six hits and four walks while fanning seven. The right-hander has allowed one run on eight hits and seven walks in 16 innings over his last two starts, both against light-hitting ballclubs. Despite his recent success, he's nothing more than a spot starter to use when he's throwing at home (5-1, 1.99 ERA in seven starts at Minute Maid Park this season).
Description: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is questionable for Tuesday's game against San Diego with a strained right hamstring.
Insight: It appears that Altuve and the Astros got lucky with the injury. Many times these hamstring injuries require a stay on the disabled list, but the second baseman said he felt better when he came to the stadium on Monday night. Altuve has been productive (.309, 45 runs scored, 12 SB) and leads an improving Houston offense (3.79 rpg in 2011 to 4.21 rpg in 2012).
Description: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is doubtful for Monday's game against San Diego with a strained right hamstring which he suffered in Sunday's game against Cleveland.
Insight: Altuve has been productive (.309, 45 runs scored, 12 SB) and leads an improving Houston offense (3.79 rpg in 2011 to 4.21 rpg in 2012). This type of injury frequently requires a trip to the disabled list so have a backup plan ready.
Description: Astros starter Dallas Keuchel picked up his first career win in a complete game effort Saturday against Cleveland. Keuchel held the Indians to one run on six hits in nine innings in his second career start. He walked one and struck out three.
Insight: Keuchel tossed five innings of one-run ball against the Rangers in his first career start last week. He did walk four in that start, but he walked just 15 batters in 80 1/3 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma this season so he likely won't be issuing too many free passes. He also doesn't strike out many batters either, so his value will be limited to NL-only leagues for now.
Description: Astros righthander Bud Norris (sprained knee) is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start at Triple-A Oklahoma City Saturday.
Insight: Norris has been sidelined since June 13, but he should be able to return after the minimum time on the disabled list. Houston's right-hander went 4-0 with an ERA of 0.35 in his first four starts of May. In his next four starts, Norris went 0-3 with a 10.91 ERA before hitting the DL with a sprained left knee.