The Houston Astros are in the middle of a 15 game stretch of NL Central foes and will be heading to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a three game stretch starting tonight. The Astros are entering this series on a high note after taking the last two from the Brewers, one of them thanks to walk off single by Jason Bourgeois. Even the pitching staff looks like things are starting to turn around as they have gotten strong performances from Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris.
The Astros however will most likely be without Carlos Lee for this series, as he suffered a rib injury after colliding with Angel Sanchez in Sunday’s game. All indications are that there was no serious damage done but with the Astros on the road and an off day Thursday, I could see Lee resting until the weekend series with the Pirates. This will add a new dimension to the Astros offense as speedsters Jason Bourgeois and Brian Bogusevic will fill in Lee and pairing them with Bourn at the top of the order could give pitchers and catchers nightmares on the basepaths.
Game 1: J.A. Happ (1-3) vs. Mike Leake (3-0)
Game 2: Aneury Rodriguez (0-0) vs. Sam LeCure (0-1)
Game 3: Brett Myers (1-1) vs. Travis Wood (1-3)
Game 1 will be a pitching rematch between Happ and Leake who faced each other back on April 5th. Leake got the better of Happ that day, giving up two runs over six innings. Happ on the other hand was only able to go 4 innings and gave up 7 runs before it was all said and done.
Game 2 will be the first start for Aneury Rodriguez, who over the weekend was put into the starting rotation for Nelson Figueroa. Rodriguez is a Rule 5 draft pick and has pitched pretty well over his past few outings, giving up only two runs over 5.2 innings of work while striking out seven. It will be interesting to see how Rodriguez does making the transition from the bullpen to a starting role.
Game 3 will feature the ace of the staff, Brett Myers who will be looking to get back on track after two poor outings for his standards. The last starts he has given up a combined 9 runs in 12.1 innings of work and has struggled with the long ball, giving up 4 home runs. Both starts came against the Brewers and it may just be that lineup gives Myers trouble and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds. He has had one start already against the Reds, back in the beginning of April, where he went 6.1 innings and only gave two runs.