Lucas Harrell and Brandon Morrow will be aiming to notch their first win of the season in Wednesday night's Blue Jays-Astros matchup after they both had rocky 2014 debuts.
Harrell, the Astros' No. 4 starter, is coming off a tough 11-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his first outing of the season last Friday, while Morrow will try to rebound from a 7-2 loss to the Rays last Thursday. They'll duel at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre.
Harrell, for one, isn't dwelling on the the past. Following his loss to the Angels, when he pitched just three innings and allowed five runs on seven hits, the 28-year-old sinker-baller was already looking ahead to Wednesday's game.
"It's over with and on to the next start," Harrell said. "I'll get better for my next start."
Wednesday will mark Harrell's first career start and third career appearance against the Blue Jays. He faced Toronto once last season, allowing three runs in three innings of relief in a 4-0 Astros loss.
Morrow, meanwhile, is coming off a loss to the Rays in which he allowed four earned runs over five innings. The 29-year-old is looking for his first win since May 23 of last season. A series of forearm injuries limited him to 54 1/3 innings in 2013.
He struggled with his pitch count early in his last outing, but found ways to grind out at-bats. He was at the 76-pitch mark by the end of the fourth inning, leading to a relatively short night. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons saw some positive takeaways from Morrow's last start.
"What I liked is that I thought he finished strong," Gibbons said. "We still have to monitor him, because he's coming off those injuries last year."
Blue Jays: Melky homers in fourth straight game
Melky Cabrera's two-run home run in the seventh inning of the Blue Jays' 5-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday night marked the fourth consecutive game the left fielder has gone deep. He is now in the company of a large group of Blue Jays who've gone yard in four straight contests, which includes Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus. Jose Cruz Jr. holds the record with six consecutive games with a home run, which he accomplished in 2001.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Cabrera took an 0-2 slider from Astros reliever Kevin Chapman and drove it over the left field wall to give the Blue Jays a 5-2 lead. Cabrera -- whose 2013 season was hampered by a benign tumour on his spine -- is leading Toronto offensively, batting .314 with five RBIs through the team's first eight games. Gibbons isn't isn't surprised by Cabrera's surging offense.
"I thought when we signed him last year, he had some chances to hit homers here," Gibbons said. "He's not known as a home run hitter, but this is a perfect place for him. He's off to a good start, and he and Jose [Bautista] keep going back and forth [with home runs]. It's a little competition."
Astros: Fowler makes pinch-hitting appearance
Outfielder Dexter Fowler pinch-hit for center fielder Alex Presley in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays. Fowler's return was unexpected. He missed the previous four games due to a stomach virus.
"Today's the first day I feel like I have some strength to do anything," Fowler said prior to the team's game on Tuesday night.
Fowler, who was acquired in an offseason deal with the Rockies, is hitting .462 with a homer, triple and two doubles over five games. He was originally hopeful to return to the lineup for Wednesday's game, and participated in batting practice Tuesday for the first time since getting sick.
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve went 3-for-4 against Toronto left-handed pitchers Mark Buehrle and Aaron Loup in a losing effort Tuesday night. He's now batting .500 (6-for-12) against left-handed pitching this season.
• Four of Jose Bautista's six hits this year have been home runs. The Blue Jays right fielder hit his fourth home run of the season in the first inning on Tuesday night.
• Fifteen of Toronto's 27 runs scored so far this season have come via home runs. With their 5-2 victory over Houston Tuesday night, the team registered more than four runs for the first time this season, ending the record-setting streak of seven games with four runs or less to begin a season.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.