Members of the Astros traveling party had to break out their passports last night for the first time since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington. The Astros have never played at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Maybe the extra bat in the lineup will help get the struggling Houston offense kick-started. Carlos Lee gets the start at DH tonight. Jason Michaels is in left field and Matt Downs is playing first base. Houston has only scored a paltry six runs in the first four games of the current road trip. Toronto sends lefty Jo Jo Reyes (0-3, 4.75 ERA) to the mound in what appears on paper to be a favorable match-up. Aneury Rodriguez will be making his third start of the season for Houston. The Astros are currently on a five game losing streak.
This weekend marks the first interleague games of the season. Last year the Astros had the second worst interleague record (3-12) in the bigs. The Astros swept Toronto in a three game series in Houston back in 2005. That is the only time the two teams have met and it was a memorable season for the Astros. The Astros currently stand at 15-29 on the season and are mired in last place in the N.L. Central. Believe it or not the 2005 team got off to a 15-30 start. Unlike that team, this year’s squad doesn’t have Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, and Andy Pettitte. So a monster finish is quite a bit less likely. The Blue Jays have won seven of their last eight games and are currently one game over .500 for the year. Astros pitchers will be burdened with the daunting task of trying to contain Jose Bautista. The 2010 homerun champ leads the league once again with 16 round-trippers so far this season.