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Fan’s Preview: Will Ryan Vogelsong Return to Form for Giants’ Sweep of Astros?

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Despite winning his last start against the Atlanta Braves on August 24, San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong had struggled in his last three outings. Aside from the three solo home runs he allowed against the Braves, Vogelsong's two starts previous to his August 24 outing lasted only three innings or less and resulted in losses to the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres. Making a few mechanical adjustments on Friday, he has made changes to his delivery that could perhaps help him through the rest of the season.

"It just felt like my direction to home plate needed to get better," Vogelsong said. "I felt like I was swinging off the ball a little bit the last few games, and I was showing the ball maybe too early. I just really tried to work on getting some better direction to the plate and hide the ball a little bit longer."

After going through most of the bullpen on Wednesday night, the Giants would like to see Vogelsong last long in this series finale against the Houston Astros. After having an incredibly-long quality start streak spanning three months, a restart to his streak would provide relief to the Giants bullpen. On Wednesday, Barry Zito lasted only 2 1/3 innings, causing everyone but Sergio Romo to pitch in the game.

Going for the Astros in hopes of preventing the Giants sweep is Jordan Lyles. Coming off his first win in nearly two months against the New York Mets, he won his only start against the Giants back on August 20, 2011. In that game, he got the better of Madison Bumgarner, who was roughed up by the Astros lineup.

Matchup:

The San Francisco Giants will visit the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park located in Houston, TX on Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 5:05 p.m. PT. This will be the third game in a three-game series.

Season series:

Giants lead season series 7-1.

Standings:

San Francisco comes into the matchup with a 73-57 record and in first place in the National League West. They are 36-29 when playing on the road and have won seven of their last 10 games.

Houston enters the game with a 40-90 record and in sixth place in the National League Central. They are 27-37 when playing at home and have won one of their last 10 games.

Starting pitcher matchup:

San Francisco: Ryan Vogelsong

2012 season: 11-7, 2.90 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 122 Ks

Career numbers vs. Astros: 2-2, 2.72 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 19 Ks

Houston: Jordan Lyles

2012 season: 3-10, 5.47 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 74 Ks

Career numbers vs. Giants: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 4 Ks

Where to watch and listen to the game:

The game can be watched and heard live locally at the following:

In San Francisco: CSN-BA HD & KNBR 680

In Houston: KTRH 740 & KLAT 1010

Next series on tap:

Following this series, the Astros will host the Cincinnati Reds from August 31-September 2 and visit the Pittsburgh Pirates from September 3-5.

Meanwhile, the Giants' next two series will be on the road against the Chicago Cubs from August 31-September 2 and at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks from September 3-5.

Sources:

Astros' Lyles stands in way of Giants' sweep, MLB.com

Giants-Astros Preview, AP

Ryan Vogelsong Game Log, Yahoo! Sports

San Francisco Giants/Houston Astros Box Score Saturday August 20, 2011, Yahoo! Sports

More from this contributor:

San Francisco Giants Bring Back Guillermo Mota Following 100-Game Suspension: Fan's Preview

Giants' Matt Cain Looks for First Career Win at Minute Maid Park: Fan's Preview

Tim Lincecum and Tim Hudson Faceoff on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball: Fan's Preview

Madison Bumgarner Goes for Giants' Season-High Winning Streak Once Again: Fan's Preview

Fan's Preview: Will Giants' Ryan Vogelsong Bounce Back Against Braves and Continue Excellent Run by Starting Pitchers?

Austin Chang is a lifelong San Francisco Bay Area native, baseball fan, and supporter of the San Francisco Giants. Follow this Featured Contributor on Google+ and Twitter @_austinchang.

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