Astros starter Dallas Keuchel will head to the mound on Tuesday against the Nationals with hopes of building on his All-Star resume.
The left-hander boasts an 8-3 record with a 2.38 ERA on the season. His eight wins are tied for fifth in the Majors, while his ERA ranks ninth. Keuchel is also tied for the best WAR in the league (3.8) and is tied for third in complete games (two).
In his last six starts, Keuchel is 6-1 with a 1.33 ERA, allowing 37 hits and only seven walks in 54 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old only had nine career wins entering 2014, but he can match that total in the first half alone with a win on Tuesday night in Washington.
"It'll definitely be a good test," Keuchel said. "It's just a quick two-game set, but at the same time, it's a good test to see where we're at and see where they are because we're playing pretty well, too. They have a great starting rotation. It will be key for me to come out and settle in early and get my thing going."
Keuchel will face off against another rising young pitcher in 27-year-old Nationals starter Tanner Roark, who is 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA. The right-hander has been especially effective in Interleague Play, with a 1-1 record and a 0.69 ERA in 26 career Interleague innings.
Roark has won each of his past two starts. On June 6, he allowed just three hits and no runs while fanning a career-high 11 batters over eight scoreless innings in a 6-0 victory over the Padres. He followed that performance up by limiting the Giants to two runs on seven hits over six innings in a 6-2 win at San Francisco on Wednesday.
Nationals: Return home the answer to recent skid?
Washington is looking to rebound after falling flat in the latter half of a 10-game road trip.
The Nationals started the West Coast swing by taking two of three games in San Diego before winning three straight in San Francisco. However, they then lost the series finale vs. the Giants and concluded the trip by getting swept in a three-game set with the Cardinals.
The team's bats, which heated up toward the end of its most recent homestand, went quiet once again in the final four games of the road trip. The Nationals scored just three runs over the four contests.
Astros: Altuve could return to lineup
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who has led the Majors in hits for much of this season, will return to the starting lineup Tuesday after being held out for the series against the Rays over the weekend. Altuve was hit on the right hand by a pitch on Thursday against Arizona.
Altuve pinch-hit and grounded out in the ninth inning on Sunday.
"All indications are he's much improved," manager Bo Porter said before the game. "With the off-day tomorrow and him improving the way he's improving, we kind of felt like if we could keep him out of today's game and get the off-day tomorrow, by Tuesday he should be as 100 percent as possible."
• The Astros entered Sunday having won 21 of their previous 33 games, which was the second-best record in the Majors since May 11 after the Blue Jays, who compiled a 22-11 mark during the same stretch.
• The Astros have won eight of their last 10 games on the road, posting winning records in their previous two road trips.
• Nationals center fielder Denard Span sat out Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Cardinals because of a stiff back.
Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.