Despite a rocky last outing for Astros starter Collin McHugh, his previous two starts -- in which he allowed just one run in 15 1/3 innings -- may have him in the mix to remain in the rotation when Scott Feldman returns as early as Friday.
If that is indeed the case, Brad Peacock, who's getting the start on Wednesday against the Tigers, could be pitching for his rotation spot. The same could also be said for Brett Oberholtzer, though his role seems safer after surrendering four runs over six innings in Houston's 11-4 loss on Tuesday.
Peacock's start will be his fourth since returning to the rotation after the trade that sent Lucas Harrell to Arizona. Over his first three outings, he's allowed 11 runs (seven earned) in 16 innings.
Facing the Tigers, winners of seven straight, will be a tall order for a pitcher just trying to stick in the rotation.
"It's a pretty big challenge," Peacock said of the Detroit lineup. "I've just got to make my pitches and take one at-bat at a time and one pitch at a time. It's what I've been working on in the bullpen, and I'll see what happens."
Rick Porcello, who will be on the mound for the Tigers, has been a big reason why the Detroit rotation has been among the best in the Majors. Porcello is 4-1 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.
While Porcello's control has been exceptional -- he's averaging just one walk per nine innings -- the same cannot be said for Peacock.
"I'm still kind of all over the strike zone," Peacock said. "I've been working on it, and that's going to be the key -- getting ahead of these guys and making some good pitches. Hopefully I'll have good control."
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is trying not to be too bullish, though his team holds the American League's best record.
"Generally speaking, I agree you don't win a World Series in the first quarter of the season," Ausmus said. "But every game does matter and has equal value. You just kind of take it on a daily basis."
Astros: Altuve proud to draw praise from Vizquel
When he was growing up in Venezuela, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve idolized Omar Vizquel, a fellow Venezuelan who played 24 seasons and won 11 Gold Gloves as a shortstop. Altuve worshiped Vizquel and wanted to be just like him.
When Altuve signed with the Astros at 16 years old, Vizquel came to the Astros' academy in Venezuela and spoke to a group of young players, including Altuve. Now Vizquel is the one admiring what Altuve is doing on the field, especially at 5-foot-6.
"I never thought that one of those guys was going to make it to the big leagues and become the kind of player that he is nowadays," said Vizquel, the Tigers' first-base coach. "I think he has impressed a lot of people -- especially because of his size -- and he can hit the ball a long way. He's a smart player. It's great to see a guy like that establish himself in the big leagues and play with the big guys."
Vizquel, who called Altuve one of the best second baseman in the AL, envisions more All-Star appearances in his future. Altuve, a National League All-Star in 2012, doubled in the first inning Tuesday for his 38th hit and leads the AL with 11 steals.
Altuve smiled from ear to ear when he heard how much Vizquel respects the way he plays the game.
Tigers: Rehabbing Sanchez throws first bullpen session
Starter Anibal Sanchez's throwing hand has healed enough to begin his throwing program. The Tigers right-hander, currently on the 15-day disabled list with a lacerated right middle finger, threw off a mound for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
Sanchez threw a full side session off the bullpen mound at Comerica Park and, by all appearances, came through it fine.
Sanchez is eligible to be activated off the DL on Monday at the start of the Tigers' nine-game, three-city road trip. However, the club could wait if need be to activate him until it needs a fifth starter again, which could be as late as May 20 in Cleveland.
• Detroit long reliever Luke Putkonen, who has been sidelined since April 19 with right elbow inflammation, is scheduled to throw an inning for Class A West Michigan on Wednesday.
• The Astros allowed a season-high 18 hits Tuesday. It was also a season high for the Tigers' offense.
• All nine Detroit starters recorded a hit Tuesday, marking the fifth time this season Detroit has accomplished the feat.
• Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter extended his hitting streak to 13 games Tuesday, which is tied with Baltimore's Nick Markakis for the longest active streak in the AL.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.