Keuchel looks to continue strong '17 vs. Angels

Keuchel looks to continue strong '17 vs. Angels

Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel and Angels right-hander JC Ramirez are set to battle on Wednesday in the third game of the four-game series between the American League West rivals at Minute Maid Park.

Keuchel (2-0, 0.86 ERA) hopes to keep up his red-hot start. The 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner has thrown seven innings in each of his first three starts, allowing one run or fewer each time. He leads the AL in home ERA since the start of the 2014 season at 2.35. He's 24-10 at home in 45 home starts in that span.

Keuchel is 9-2 with a 3.69 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) against the Angels in his career.

"What I'd like to do is keep on the train of quality pitching," Keuchel said. "[Charlie Morton] started off this long homestand of four days on the right track. It's a weird feeling, because it doesn't feel like the regular season right now. It feels like we've continued on from Spring Training, having fun, kind of getting ourselves ready."

Ramirez made his first Major League start on Friday and took the loss, allowing five runs over five innings against the Royals. Ramirez has been a reliever for most of his career, but he is currently filling in for injured starter Garrett Richards (right biceps strain). The 28-year-old has made 11 career relief appearances against Houston, logging a 6.75 ERA.

Three things to know about this game

• Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game Tuesday because of a right hand contusion suffered in Saturday's win in Oakland. Correa was struck on the hand in the ninth inning by a 96-mph fastball and has had trouble gripping the bat without pain. Correa's status for Wednesday is unknown.

• Keuchel is right back where he wants to be in terms of the contact he's inducing from opponents. The southpaw has gotten grounders on 65.5 percent of his batted balls allowed so far, which is fourth-highest out of 146 pitchers who have induced at least 25 batted ball events, according to Statcast. Keuchel has also allowed just a .111 batting average on ground balls thus far, third-lowest among 33 pitchers who have induced at least 25 ground ball events.

• Ramirez said one lesson he learned from his rocky outing in Kansas City was that he needs to use more of his pitches, specifically his curveball and slider, instead of relying too heavily on his upper-90s fastball. Ramirez surrendered five runs in the first three innings, leading to the Angels' 7-1 loss, but he retired the final seven batters he faced after beginning to throw more breaking balls.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.