Houston has arguably the best overall pitching staff in the major leagues but has run into a big problem because of injury.

The Astros are struggling to find someone to handle those standout pitchers after losing another catcher in their 5-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

The Astros will send right-hander Garrit Cole (9-2 [url=http://www.officiallightningprostore.com/authentic-adidas-ryan-mcdonagh-jersey]Adidas Ryan McDonagh Jersey[/url] , 2.50 ERA) to the mound for the Independence Day, Lone Star State showdown at Globe Life Park in Arlington while the Rangers counter with left-hander Mike Minor (6-4, 4.64).

Houston’s catching situation took a turn for the worst Tuesday when Max Stassi was forced from the game against Texas in the first inning after he was hit on the right wrist by a pitch.

Stassi’s injury comes on the same day veteran catcher Brian McCann met with team medical director Dr. David Lintner ahead of having surgery on his right knee. The Astros placed McCann on the disabled list Tuesday with a sore right knee for the second time this season and recalled catcher Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Fresno.

Federowicz took over for Stassi, who entered Tuesday’s game batting .255 with seven homers and 22 RBIs.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch wouldn’t say what type of surgery McCann would undergo and when the procedure would take place, but admitted that the Astros without McCann, their front-line backstop, “for the foreseeable future.”

“We don’t know other than he’s heading for surgery and we’ll have a better timetable once he sees Dr. Lintner and goes through the medical process,” Hinch told mlb.com. “We had a long conversation in Tampa (over the weekend), and it’s continually the same issue over and over with his right knee. One of the options is surgery, and he went back to Houston to take care of it.”

Texas right-handed reliever Chris Martin was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday prior to the club’s series opener against the Astros. The move made room on the 25-man roster for first baseman Ronald Guzman, who returned from the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Martin’s demotion was to create bench depth

“Chris hadn’t done anything to warrant being optioned,” Banister said. “He’s got options. Obviously [url=http://tampabaylightningteamshop.com/authentic-ryan-mcdonagh-jersey]Authentic Ryan McDonagh Jersey[/url] , he’s pitched well for us in the bullpen. However, you’ve got to be able to protect some of the other players on the team, too.”

Banister told mlb.com that Guzman passed the concussion protocol three days after he was placed on the disabled list. “Ronals was a full-go, as far as baseball activities are concerned,” he said.

The Astros have shuffled their rotation for this week to give Lance McCullers, Jr. and Charlie Morton some additional rest. McCullers was originally scheduled to start Wednesday against the Rangers.

Cole makes his first start in July after going 4-1 with a 3.41 ERA in six June starts, posting a 1.11 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 37 innings. The Astros are 14-3 in games started by Cole, who is looking to reach double digits in wins.

Minor has been one of the Rangers’ best starters of late. He was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four June starts. Minor is 4-2 with a 3.44 ERA in nine home starts this season.

Minor is 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA in nine games (six starts) versus Houston, including 0-1, 5.74 in three starts this season.

Cole is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts against Texas, including 2-0, 1.80 in three turns this year.

Nolan Arenado should have no trouble getting to sleep now.

Arenado homered for the third straight game and drove in five runs to lead the Colorado Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday. After hitting .171 while the Rockies lost eight of 10 over the last two weeks [url=http://www.newyorkrangersteamonline.com/authentic-henrik-lundqvist-jersey]Authentic Henrik Lundqvist Jersey[/url] , Arenado hit .538 in the last three games.

”When you’re losing and you’re not getting hits it hurts,” Arenado said. ”It keeps me up at night.”

Arenado also doubled to back another strong outing from Kyle Freeland (7-6). Freeland has pitched at least six innings in 10 of his last 11 starts and has emerged as the team’s most reliable starter.

Arenado had just two home runs in his first 15 games of June, but has four in his last seven. He put the Rockies ahead 3-1 with a three-run homer in the first off Steven Matz (3-5), his 16th of the season.

He delivered a two-run double in the second to drive in five for the second time this season. He also had five RBIs at the Chicago Cubs on May 2.

”Today was a special day. I’m not going to drive in five every game,” he said.

Todd Frazier gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first with his eighth homer. New York has lost three in a row after winning three straight.

The Mets got within two runs when Frazier and Michael Conforto led off the eighth with singles. Yency Almonte, making his major league debut, relieved Chris Rusin and allowed one inherited runner to score that made it 5-3 before getting an inning-ending double play.

It was the fifth double-play grounder by New York on the afternoon. The Rockies tied a franchise record for a nine-inning game by inducing five ground-ball double plays. It’s only the third time in any game the Rockies induced five groundout double plays.

Freeland got out of three jams with double plays.

”He made some really good pitches down,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. ”I’ve seen Freeland in the past, he does a good job of executing the balls just down under the zone. If you chase one and put it in play, it becomes a double play.”

Gerardo Parra’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth restored the three-run lead. New York got one back when Kevin Plawecki tripled in the ninth and came home on a groundout. Dominic Smith doubled with two outs, but Jake McGee struck out Brandon Nimmo to get his first save of the season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: INF Asdrubal Cabrera was out of the lineup, but Callaway said he was fine a day after hitting his left elbow making a tag. … Callaway said OF Yoenis Cespedes (right hip flexor) did some stretching and the hope is he progresses in the next few days.

NUMBERS GAME

Arenado has only 14 career at-bats against Matz but he’s made them count. He is hitting .357 with four home runs and 12 RBIs against the Mets’ lefty after Thursday.

”I threw a couple of bad pitches and Arenado beat me twice [url=http://www.newyorkrangersteamonline.com/authentic-mats-zuccarello-jersey]Authentic Mats Zuccarello Jersey[/url] ,” Matz said. ”That really sums up the whole game.”

Matz struck out Arenado looking in the fourth and settled down to go 5 2-3 innings.

”When you put your team in a hole like that you gotta look ahead and go as deep as you can,” Matz said.

ROSTER MOVE

Before the game, the Rockies recalled Almonte from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned INF Ryan McMahon to their top farm team. Almonte said he was struggling with nerves when he jogged to the mound in the eighth.

”I came in and it was first and third and I thought, `I need to do something, get a ground ball or a fly out,”’ Almonte said. ”That was huge for me.”

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.82) will open a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. Wheeler has gone six or more innings in nine of his 13 starts.

Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (6-7, 5.89) takes the mound in the opener of a weekend series against Miami. Gray has allowed 12 earned runs in three June starts and holds a 6.75 ERA for the month.

 

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