Dallas Keuchel has faced the D-backs twice in his career, both in 2012, going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA. On Wednesday in Houston, Arizona will see a different Keuchel than the one it saw two years ago.
The Astros lefty has gone at least six innings in all but his first start this season, and he has lasted at least 8 2/3 innings in three of his last five outings.
"As long as the team wins, I'm happy," Keuchel said. "That's what it's all about. Nice little streak here, and we'll see if we can keep it going."
With Keuchel on the hill this year, the Astros are 8-4.
"He's started pitching to the top of the strike zone with his fastball," manager Bo Porter said. "And he added the breaking ball, which was the pitch that he rarely used last year.
"Last year, the majority of his pitches were in the bottom quadrant of the strike zone, which made him very predictable. You're talking about a guy who has very good command, he has plus command. And now that he's started to use the top of the strike zone, I think it's opened up the other quadrants of the strike zone for him."
A lot has changed recently, not only for Keuchel, but for the entire Astros team. Entering Tuesday's game in Arizona, they had won 12 of their last 16 contests.
Houston will welcome the D-backs to Minute Maid Park for two games representing the back leg of a home-and-home. In the first leg, Porter had to adjust to managing in a National League park. Now, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson will be the one making adjustments.
"Different game," Gibson said. "We've done pretty good in Interleague Play. It's just a little different game."
Gibson will need a designated hitter for the first time this season, but it will probably not be Cody Ross, who is likely to play left field despite his diminished speed following a hip injury last year.
"I think Cody will probably play," Gibson said. "That short left field out there [in Houston], there's not a lot of room to cover, and he's got a lot of experience playing the outfield, so I think that's a really good place for him to play the outfield."
The D-backs will call on right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who has a Major League-leading eight losses this season. He's run into his share of tough luck, including four outings in which he allowed two runs or fewer, but failed to earn the victory.
McCarthy will attempt to support a D-backs squad that has won six of eight games.
D-backs: Harris recalled to bolster bullpen
Right-hander Will Harris was recalled prior to Monday's game, giving the D-backs 13 pitchers to help support an overtaxed bullpen.
Harris made the Opening Day roster, but he was optioned to Triple-A Reno on April 14 after posting a 9.72 ERA in eight appearances. The 29-year-old responded by surrendering just three earned runs in 24 innings at Triple-A to give himself a second chance.
"I knew the only way I was going to get back here was to pitch well," Harris said. "You know when you get sent down, you don't really know if you're ever coming back. So you have to take the approach that the only way I'm going to get back is by pitching well, and everything else falls into place. Now I've got another opportunity, and it will be whatever I make of it."
Arizona's bullpen had logged 203 innings entering Tuesday, good for fourth-most in the NL.
Astros: Springer could return to lineup
Rookie outfielder George Springer was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game Tuesday with right knee soreness.
Springer, who leads the Astros with 35 RBIs after hitting 10 home runs in May, said before Tuesday's game that he could play if necessary.
"If I can breathe, I can play," Springer said.
Porter preferred to play it safe, but if all goes well, Springer could be back in the lineup on Wednesday.
"We'll get home tomorrow and let him get running around a little bit," Porter said. "If we don't have any ill effects, he'll be back in there."
• Astros left-hander Tony Sipp played right field for one batter on Monday, a move Porter made so that Sipp could face two lefty hitters in Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero. In between, with Sipp in the outfield, Jerome Williams walked Paul Goldschmidt.
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.