Preview: Rays set sights on handing Astros' Dallas Keuchel first loss

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TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 7:30 p.m.


HOUSTON -- With the clubhouse still buzzing over the lack of an impact arm added to the rotation or bullpen, the Houston Astros continued to succumb to pitching injuries on Tuesday when relievers Michael Feliz and Tony Sipp landed on the 10-day disabled list.

Both Feliz (shoulder) and Sipp (calf) struggled in recent weeks, but that doesn't mitigate the concerns for the Astros, who have been piecing together their staff for the better part of two months, largely due to nagging injuries to starting pitchers.

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Now the problems have shifted to their bullpen, which was already overworked, as the Astros prepare for the third game of a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

"It seems like every day this session has turned into a medical update," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It seems like right now we're getting bitten by the injury bug quite a bit, especially on the pitching side. We need to get our guys healthy. Different lineup card every day."

The Astros (69-37) added veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano on Monday, and he was activated Tuesday but was unavailable. Liriano is set to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, which means he could be poised to pitch in relief if his number is called. In a meeting with Hinch, Liriano showcased a readiness to do whatever is needed to help out.

"He's a veteran guy. He's been around," Hinch said. "He won't be spooked by a playoff race. He's willing to do anything. I had a long conversation with John Gibbons, his manager in Toronto, and it sounds like he's got a ton of characteristics that will fit perfectly."

Ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel (9-0, 1.94 ERA) will make his first home start since May 27 on Wednesday. Keuchel missed nearly two months due to neck discomfort before returning to pitch three innings, the second-shortest start of his career, against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

He is 1-4 with a 4.70 ERA in seven career starts against the Rays.

Right-hander Austin Pruitt (5-2, 6.63 ERA) will get the start for the Rays. In his lone appearance against the Astros, Pruitt earned the win in relief by retiring all seven batters he faced on April 22 at Tropicana Field. He needed just 20 pitches to work 2 1/3 innings.

Pruitt is in his third stint with the Rays this season following his recall from Triple-A Durham on Friday.

The Rays (55-53) received three scoreless innings from their bullpen in a 6-4 victory over the Astros on Tuesday night. A pair of newcomers -- left-hander Dan Jennings and right-hander Steve Cishek -- helped bridge the gap between starter Chris Archer and setup man Tommy Hunter.

In addition to Jennings and Cishek, the Rays added right-hander Sergio Romo prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, rebuilding their bullpen on the fly in preparation for a postseason push.

"They're going to be very critical," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I'm not sure if they're totally settled in; I know they're completely on board with everything. There's a lot of excitement.

"Those guys … they want the ball in those big situations, and they're going to get it. Romo, he got huge outs for us the getaway day in New York, and we're going to lean on all of them to help us piece together to get the ball to Tommy and (closer Alex) Colome."