Bill Baer

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 25:  Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on July 25, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday’s action

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Wednesday afternoon has already given us three games. The Giants beat the Marlins 1-0. The Dodgers host the Phillies in game that started about an hour ago, and the Nationals are hosting the Indians in a game that is just under way.

Dallas Keuchel will start for the Astros on Wednesday evening, taking on the Twins’ Ervin Santana. His last time out on Friday, Keuchel tossed a shutout on three hits and a pair of walks with seven strikeouts. It’s his first complete game of the season after tossing three of them last year, helping him win the American League Cy Young Award. Indeed, it’s been a rough year for Keuchel. He’ll enter tonight’s start with a lackluster 4.56 ERA with a 126/45 K/BB ratio in 148 innings.

Relative to last year, Keuchel’s strikeout rate is down about 3.5 percent and his walk rate is up nearly two percent. He’s inducing fewer ground balls and allowing more home runs. Overall, batters are making contact classified by FanGraphs as “hard” more than eight percent more often than they did last year. The lefty has also lost about 1 MPH on all of his pitches, including his fastball. There’s lots of evidence that Keuchel is, simply, a worse pitcher now. But he’s redeemable.

The 58-55 Astros have a tough road ahead of them if they want to win the AL West, as they’re currently in third place, 8.5 games behind the first-place Rangers. But they’re only four games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, currently held by the Red Sox. If Keuchel can use his last start as a springboard to finish the final two months of the season in elite fashion, the Astros could slip into the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

San Diego Padres (Edwin Jackson) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Ryan Vogelsong), 7:05 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Blake Snell) @ Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ), 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray) @ New York Mets (Bartolo Colon), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Nathan Eovaldi) @ Boston Red Sox (Drew Pomeranz), 7:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Anthony DeSclafani) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia), 7:15 PM EDT

Colorado Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Ricky Nolasco) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 8:05 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Joel de la Cruz) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson), 8:10 PM EDT

Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel) @ Minnesota Twins (Ervin Santana), 8:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Jose Quintana) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 8:15 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo) @ Oakland Athletics (Ross Detwiler), 10:05 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez), 10:10 PM EDT

Angels claim Brett Oberholtzer off waivers from the Phillies

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 18: Brett Oberholtzer #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the ninth inning during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park on June 18, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Diamondbacks won 4-1. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
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The Angels announced on Tuesday that the club claimed pitcher Brett Oberholtzer off waivers from the Phillies.

Oberholtzer, 27, was used mostly in mop-up duty but struggled to a 4.83 ERA and a 38/20 K/BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings. The Phillies acquired him this past December in the Ken Giles trade. The club designated him for assignment on Saturday.

Oberholtzer is owed the remainder of his $518,000 salary for the 2016 season. He’ll become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season.

Cardinals place Michael Wacha on the disabled list, call up prospect Alex Reyes

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Alex Reyes of the St. Louis Cardinals and the World Team looks on during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that starter Michael Wacha has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. Pitching prospect Alex Reyes has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis. The Cardinals plan to use Reyes out of the bullpen.

Reyes, 21, is considered the Cardinals’ best prospect and¬†ninth overall in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. This season, the right-hander has posted a 4.96 ERA with a 93/32 K/BB ratio in 65 1/3 innings over 14 starts.

Reyes appeared in the Futures Game at Petco Park as part of the All-Star Game festivities last month. He started and went 1 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk with four strikeouts.