When the Astros traveled to Arizona last month for a three-game series against the Diamondbacks things didn’t turn out so well. The D-Backs barely broke a sweat while sweeping the Astros by a collective score of 33-13. Since that time the Astros struggles have continued and the Diamondbacks are still trying to get back into the race for a wildcard spot. Chris Johnson was traded to the D-Backs and returns to familiar surroundings tonight albeit in a different uniform.
Johnson got off to a great start for the D-Backs, clubbing five homers in his first eight games. But he has since cooled off and has only one hit in his last fifteen at-bats. CJ has always been a streaky hitter. Now Astros fans will be rooting for him to stay cold for the next three days.
Rookie pitchers Wade Miley (12-8, 3.02 ERA) and Dallas Keuchel (1-4, 5.29 ERA) square off in tonight’s opener. The two youngsters opposed each other in the middle game of the series back in Arizona. Keuchel gave up a pair of homers to Jason Kubel and Miley was fantastic as the D-Backs prevailed by a score of 12-3. Miley has been outstanding all year and should be neck-and-neck with Lance Lynn in the N.L. Rookie of the Year race.
Miley was hit hard by the Nationals in his most recent outing. Lasting only 4 & 1/3 innings, Miley gave up four runs on nine hits Saturday against the Nats. But the Astros have had their troubles against lefties this season. Houston is hitting only .207 against southpaws for the year.
Keuchel has experienced tough sledding since tossing a complete game in his second start in the majors. The University of Arkansas product has failed to last more than six innings in any of his seven subsequent starts. The Astros are hoping that Keuchel can turn it around and get this brief three-game homestand off to a good start. The Astros will be wearing their 1990s era throwback uniforms again this evening. Last weekend the blue and gold attire seemed to possess some magic from yesteryear as the Astros won two straight games in walkoff fashion.