Astros starter Collin McHugh takes his rejuvenation tour to Target Field on Sunday afternoon, where the Astros and Twins will meet in the rubber game of a three-game series.
McHugh will be facing the Twins for the first time in his career, and enters the game riding a 13-inning scoreless stretch. McHugh, picked up off waivers over the winter, has given the Astros a huge boost by going 4-3 with a 2.52 ERA in eight starts after being called up.
Since joining the Astros' rotation on April 22, McHugh leads the American League and ranks third in the Majors in opponents' batting average at .187. He ranks sixth in the AL in strikeouts per inning at 9.72.
"They don't know me, I don't know them," said McHugh. "I like to think I have an advantage because I can look at two, three years worth of at-bats for a lot of these guys -- and there's just not that much video on me. Hopefully, we can go out and execute a game plan, something we've been doing before, and get guys out."
McHugh will face right-hander Samuel Deduno, who's facing an Astros team that has been shut out in two of its previous four games. Deduno picked up the win in his last start on Tuesday against the Brewers, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks over five innings. The four walks were a season high.
"The fastball was a little bit crazy," said Deduno. "But the sinker was pretty good."
Astros: Pitchers praising Castro, Corporan
Astros starting pitchers have been relying heavily this season on veteran catchers Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan, and that's especially true for the younger starters.
After he threw six scoreless innings on Friday, lefty Dallas Keuchel heaped praise on the work Castro did behind the plate.
"A lot of foul tips, a lot of sliders in the dirt he blocked, so he was a warrior," Keuchel said. "I told him that after the game. I said, 'You've got to be exhausted, because I'm exhausted.'"
McHugh, who's new to the organization and the American League this year, has leaned heavily on both catchers to help him navigate through the lineups.
"They're both good communicators, which is good," McHugh said. "In between innings, as a pitcher, you might see something and it's good to know you have a good sounding board out there and you can have some conversations."
Twins: Arcia could return to lineup on Sunday
Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was held out of the lineup for a second straight day on Saturday after spraining his right ankle in Thursday's game. But he's available to pinch-hit and could return to the lineup on Sunday -- although it's likely it'll be at designated hitter.
"The trainers came in ... and said, 'No,' right away about Arcia today," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But he can still hit. But when he pinch-hit [on Friday], you saw him run -- and he wasn't moving very well."
• The Twins are 6-2 against the Astros since the start of the 2013 season and 17-11 against them all-time.
• Twins outfielder Josh Willingham has reached base in nine of his last 17 plate appearances (four walks, four hits, one hit by pitch).
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has hit safely in 27 of his last 29 games, batting .362 (46-for-127) over that span.