The Houston Astros welcome the New York Mets to Minute Maid Park this weekend for a three game set. The Mets are entering this series playing much better than the last time these two teams met about a month ago up in the Big Apple. The Mets are 6-4 over the past ten games and just won the last two against the Rockies in Colorado. The Astros are coming off a walk-off winner in the series finale against the Reds but had a four game losing streak before that.
I think it is a safe bet to say that this series won’t be the lead story on Sportscenter this weekend but there are still some interesting storylines to follow this weekend and should be a competitive series. Even though the Mets have been playing better, this is a very winnable series for the Astros and allow them to string some wins together. Take a look at how the series breaks down between the two clubs after the jump.
Game 1: Bud Norris (2-2) vs. Dillion Gee (2-0) 8:05 PM (ET)
Game 2: J.A. Happ (2-4) vs. R.A. Dickey (1-4) 4:05 PM (ET)
Game 3: Aneury Rodriguez (0-1) vs. Chris Capuano (2-4) 2:05 PM (ET)
Things to Watch
1) Can Hunter Pence continue his hitting streak?
Hunter Pence has been the Astros best hitter along with Brett Wallace this season not to mention he has been our most consistent hitter the past few years. Right now Pence is riding a 15 game hitting streak entering this season. Pence this season is hitting .307 and leads the Astros in home runs (5), RBI (31), doubles (12) and hits (46). He also knocked in the winning run Wednesday against the Reds. It is safe to say that Pence is the key to the Astros offense.
2) How does Bud Norris respond to his first loss in over a month?
Bud Norris has been the Astros best pitcher over the past few weeks but is coming off his first loss since the beginning of April. It wasn’t necessarily a bad outing for Norris when he gave up three runs over seven innings of work while striking out nine. The problem was the offense didn’t help him that game as they only were able to muster one run. Norris has pitched at least six innings in his last six outings and the Astros are 4-2 over that stretch. Norris has started to become a strikeout machine, striking out 20 over his last two starts. He also has the benefit of already facing this Mets team when he went 6.0 innings, giving up three runs and striking out six but he gave up 10 hits that game.