The Astros open a three game series in L.A. tonight against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. Lucas Harrell gets the start for Houston. The Dodgers 30-14 record is the best in the big leagues. The Dodgers are also a league best 19-4 at home this season. Kershaw is currently riding a 22 inning scoreless streak. Add all of that to the fact the Astros struggle against southpaws and this one looks like a mismatch.
Nevermind what the oddsmakers say… that’s why they play the games. The Astros clobbered the Dodgers 12-0 the last time these two teams met. That Sunday afternoon beatdown was the Astros only win in a three game series played earlier this season at Minute Maid Park. The Astros have played well at home recently but have yet to put it together on the road. Houston has a 5-13 record this season in games played away from Minute Maid Park. That’s not good- and neither is Lucas Harrell’s 0-3 record on the road.
The Astros made two trips to Dodger Stadium last season with mixed results. The last trip was terrible and resulted in a sweep as the Dodgers outscored the Astros 14-1. Last June the Astros won two of three in L.A. thanks to some dominating mound work. Brett Myers tossed a complete game in the opener and Wandy Rodriguez followed with a 7-0 win. The Astros wasted a tremendous performance from Bud Norris by dropping the finale by a score of 1-0.
That series win last June was the last time the Astros won a series on the road. It seems like a long time ago- probably because it was. The two teams that will meet tonight are not the same two teams that played last season. Both squads are improved and are playing with renewed life and confidence. With Matt Kemp on the disabled list the Dodgers are missing their best player, but that hasn’t slowed them down a bit. Andre Ethier has picked up the slack and a host of role players including A.J. Ellis and Bobby Abreu have stepped up their game.
The Astros are riding a three game winning streak with Jed Lowrie, Carlos Lee, and “The Regulators” leading the way. But the Dodgers are not the Chicago Cubs and this weekend’s series will be a good test to see how well this team can perform on the road against a quality opponent.