Capuano, Dodgers Smother Astros
Sunday afternoon once again started off promising for the Houston Astros as Jose Altuve led off the game with yet another extra base hit. Altuve wound up at third base with a triple, coming home to score the Astros’ first run of the game on a Jed Lowrie groundout, and not a peep was heard from the Astros’ bats after that.
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Chris Capuano must have taken the triple personally, as he made it his mission to ensure that the Astros stayed off the base paths from that point forward, allowing just one more hit the entire game, a single to Lowrie in the sixth inning. Capuano, who improved his record to 7-1 with the win, pitched seven innings, giving up the one run and two hits while striking out eight.
J.A. Happ took the loss for the Astros, going 6.1 innings and allowing three total runs with two earned. Happ struck out a season high ten batters, but allowed nine hits and two walks, plenty of traffic for the Dodgers to make some noise on offense.
Astros May Have Met Their Match
The Astros came into the series against the Dodgers feeling good and flying high after coming off of a home stand in which they went 6-2 and swept the lowly Chicago Cubs. After taking the first game of the series against the Dodgers in L.A. against arguably the best pitcher in the National League, Clayton Kershaw, the Astros perhaps got a little too confident.
The NL-leading Dodgers (32-15) showed why they have the best record in the National League, simultaneously putting the young Astros in their place.
In a season in which the Astros are already exceeding expectations, losing two out of three on the road to a World Series contender may not seem like a big deal to the casual observer, but the way in which the Astros lost the last two games of this series can be disheartening for any team.
Hot Starts, Cool Finishes
In each game of the three game series verse the Los Angeles Dodgers, Astros 2B Jose Altuve started things off with an extra base hit to spark the offense and get the Astros on the board. Still, despite the early offense, the Astros managed just seven runs in the three game set as Dodger pitching settled in and silenced any possibility of an offense explosion from the Houston lineup.
Unlike Sunday’s game, in which the Astros had virtually no base runners to speak of, the Houston lineup had plenty of opportunities to cash in Saturday in the 6-3 loss. Houston hitters went 2-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base in the loss. They could only watch on helplessly as Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis launched a three-run walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth to win it for L.A.
No Rest For The Weary
Despite being unable to win their first road series of the season, the MLB schedule will have no mercy on the Astros as they travel straight to Colorado to take on the Rockies in an unprecedented scheduled double-header for Memorial Day.
The Astros will send Wandy Rodriguez to the mound for game one at 2:10 (CST). Game two is scheduled to begin at 7:10, although Astros manager Brad Mills has yet to name the starter for Houston. The Astros are still looking for consistency for the #5 spot in the starting rotation as Kyle Weiland recovers from surgery.
Jordan Lyles and Aneury Rodriguez are the two probable candidates to get the call to start game two.
Help On The Way?
Although it’s still early in the season, it’s not too early to start dreaming about what could be in the future. Astros’ prospect Jonathan Singleton, acquired from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade, has been on a tear at AA Corpus Christi, hitting .615 with 4 home runs and 11 RBI’s in his past three games.
A Singleton call-up is highly doubtful until rosters are expanded in September, but if he keeps destroying minor league pitching, Astros fans could get the chance to see the young slugger in an Astros uniform by the end of the 2012 campaign.