The San Francisco Giants need Jason Schmidt to bounce back from his recent struggles as they try to catch the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and hold off the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card race.
Schmidt will take the mound for the Giants as they finish up a three-game series with the Houston Astros at SBC Park.
San Francisco has won nine of its last 10 games to move within a half-game of the Dodgers for first place in the West.
Schmidt is one win shy of tying his career high, set last season when he went 17-5. He’s 16-7 with a 3.24 ERA despite hitting a rough patch over the last month and a half. Schmidt is 4-5 with a 4.76 ERA over his last 11 starts. The right-hander has a 7.26 ERA over his last five outings.
The Giants’ ace has been awful in his career against Houston, going 3-9 record with 5.51 ERA in 14 starts.
Teammate Noah Lowry didn’t have any trouble with the Astros on Wednesday, winning his sixth straight decision to remain unbeaten in 13 major league starts.
Lowry limited Houston to five hits in his second complete game and Ray Durham hit a two-run double as San Francisco posted a 5-1 victory. The Giants remained a half-game ahead of the surging Cubs for the wild card.
Houston has lost two straight to the Giants to drop three games behind San Francisco in the wild-card race.
Former Giant Jeff Kent, booed for the second straight night in San Francisco, connected for his 23rd homer for the Astros. Kent is just 1-for-7 in the series.
Houston will throw Brandon Backe against Schmidt on Thursday. The 26-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts since getting called up from the minors in August.
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