Jose Urquidy, Astros out to shut down Angels

National Sports

Jose Urquidy will start for the Houston Astros on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., fully recovered from a shoulder injury that cost him two months of the season.

Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) has made three starts since returning from the injured list after being sidelined due to shoulder discomfort, but it was his most recent time out that showed he was all the way back.

The right-hander gave up just one run and two hits in six innings Wednesday against the Texas Rangers, striking out six and walking one. He got the win as Houston prevailed 7-2.

“I wasn’t afraid to compete; I tried to throw everything through the zone and throw strikes,” he said. “I’m good right now. I was out for two months, and that’s hard coming and throwing a big-league game. You saw in the first game after my injury, I was a little loose with my command with the catcher.

“But right now I feel more comfortable. I’ve thrown bullpens, I’ve got two games already after the injury, and I’ve got more confidence right now. I’ve gotten, more consistently, pitches in the zone; that’s me. I’m working on it, and I’m (getting) better right now.”

Urquidy gradually rebuilt his arm strength, something that Astros manager Dusty Baker said he noticed in the contest against the Rangers.

“He maintained his velocity throughout the whole game — the last time out his velocity dropped in like the third or fourth (inning),” Baker said. “It shows that his arm strength’s coming back. He had a very good changeup, his slider was good, and just an overall good performance. But I was more impressed with the fact that he kept his velocity.”

Urquidy is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in five career games (four starts) against the Angels. In his lone appearance against them this year, he tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a no-decision on May 12 in Houston.

The Astros (89-61) lead the second-place Oakland A’s by seven games in the American League West. The Angels are in fourth place at 72-78.

Left-hander Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32) will start Tuesday for Los Angeles, still looking for his first career major-league win in his sixth outing and fourth start.

He was knocked around for four runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings in his last start, against the Chicago White Sox last Tuesday, but he pitched well enough to win in his outing before that, Sept. 7 at San Diego.

In that game, Naughton threw five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out five. However, he left with the score 0-0 in an eventual 4-0 Angels win.

Naughton isn’t getting any breaks when it comes to pitching matchups. In his previous three starts, he has been matched against the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, the Padres’ Blake Snell and the White Sox’s Lucas Giolito.

“You go up against somebody like Snell, or my (previous start) it was Cole, and you know that runs are going to be hard to come by,” Naughton said. “But you have to stick to your game, and as long as you do that, you’ll end up on the right side of things.

“When (the opposing pitcher) throws up zeros, yeah, I’m paying attention to that, but it’s not like I go out there and feel like I’ve got to throw up a zero. I’m just trying to pitch deep into the game and trying to give us a chance.”

Naughton has never faced the Astros.

–Field Level Media

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