HOUSTON ASTROS (15-37) VS COLORADO ROCKIES (28-24)
COORS FIELD IN DENVER, COLORADO
The Houston Astros head to Denver to continue this odd Home-and-Home series with their National League “rival”. The Astros split the Houston series, winning Monday’s game and dropping a close one on Tuesday. The Astros’ pitching was phenomenal during the two games, and if the hitters could have come through then this road trip would have a much better feel to it. Nonetheless, there is a lot to like about what you saw on Monday and Tuesday — especially if you watched any of the Oakland Athletics’ series. The rotation put together consecutive starts of seven innings with two runs or less. In fact, over Jordan Lyles last three starts, he has thrown 18 innings and has a 1.50 ERA. The bullpen threw seven innings in the two games and allowed just one run, which proved to be the game winner in Game 2. Hopefully the improved pitching will continue over the six-game road trip to Denver and Anaheim.
I’m sure if you would have told Colorado Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss that his two starters would have given him seven innings apiece and allowed three runs combined, he would have assumed an easy sweep. Unfortunately for the Rockies, their hitters had similar issues to the Astros (or maybe this was just one of the best pitched series in baseball?). The Rockies’ hitters stranded 22 runners over the two games, and have to be relieved to get back to the comforts of Coors Field. They are currently in third place in the NL West, and hope to close the two game gap between them and the first place Diamondbacks over the course of their five game homestand versus the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Erik Bedard has not allowed more than two runs over his last three starts since returning to the rotation. In his last start against the Athletics, Bedard threw five innings and managed to finally get his ERA below a 6.00 for the season. He has struggled mightily on the road this season, posting a 8.83 ERA. We will see if Bedard has finally become the reliable veteran of the staff that the Astros hoped he would be.
Since being called up from Triple-A, Tyler Chatwood has been outstanding. Chatwood faced the San Francisco Giants on each of his last two starts, going 2-0 with 11.2 innings pitched, one run allowed and eight strikeouts. While he throws a slider and changeup, he lives on his good fastball/curveball combination.
Lucas Harrell has not had a win since April 29th against the Yankees. Harrell is 0-4 with a 8.22 ERA for the month of May. After his seven innings of one run baseball against the Kansas City Royals, I had hoped that he had figured things out, but his pattern of alternating good starts with bad ones continued on Saturday versus the Athletics. Harrell did not make it out of the second inning and allowed six runs. Michael Cuddyer is 2-5 with a home run and four RBI in his career against Harrell, and Carlos Gonzalez is 3-6 with a solo homer.
Juan Nicasio has thrown back-to-back solid starts against the Giants, winning one and getting a no-decison in his last start. Nicasio has yet to throw more than six innings in any of his ten 2013 starts. The 26-year old righty relies heavily on his 92-93 mph fastball and 83 mph slider. He does have a changeup as well, but he only throws it for about 6% of his pitches. According to Fangraphs.com‘s PITCHf/x Pitch Values, all of Nicasio’s pitches are below average.
- Jason Castro was awarded the Astros’ first ever AL Player of the Week Award. Over the past week, Castro hit .579 with three home runs and five RBI.
- Astros’ top prospect Jonathan Singleton returned from his 50-game suspension yesterday. While playing with Low-A Quad Cities, Singleton went 2-2 with a HR and two RBI in his debut.
- The Rockies have two players in the top 10 in NL WAR. Carlos Gonzalez is fourth with 2.7 and Troy Tulowitzki is eighth with 2.4.