1. Best of the best. The Orioles head to Houston to face the best team in the majors. Some expected the Astros to arrive last season, but it was delayed a year. They possess one of the majors' best offenses and the second-best pitching staff. Fortunately for the Orioles, they start the series by facing the weakest link in the Houston rotation: Joe Musgrove, who allowed seven runs in three innings his last time out.
2. Gausman rising? Kevin Gausman has shown signs of coming out of his early-season funk, with two quality starts in his past three games. Gausman allowed two runs in six innings in his most recent start despite giving up 10 hits. Two starts earlier, Gausman had his best performance of the season against a potent Washington Nationals lineup, with two earned runs and eight strikeouts in seven innings. Can he do it again against a talented Astros club?
3. Machado woes. Manny Machado has been productive this season with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs. But he has not been anything close to consistent, and his latest slump has him batting .218 through 44 games. Machado is hitting .148/.258/.296 with two extra-base hits and two RBIs over his past seven games. Will the day off do him some good?