Astros, Wandy try to avoid sweep


The Astros offensive struggles against the Dodgers continued Saturday. Houston plated only one run for the second straight night, resulting in back-to-back losses. Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp has supplied more offense than the entire Astros lineup in the series, clubbing a two-run homer in each of the first two games. Wandy Rodriguez takes the mound today hoping the Astros offense can get on track and supply some much needed run support.

Rodriguez had an excellent outing in Washington on Tuesday but wound up on the wrong end of a 1-0 pitcher’s duel with Gio Gonzalez. It’s been feast or famine for the Astros offense lately – mostly famine, with the exception of Thursday’s eleven run outburst. Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez have done a good job setting the table at the top of the order along with newly installed #2 hitter Jose Altuve. Schafer and Martinez have both managed to reach base in every game they’ve appeared in this season.

The middle of the order has failed to produce, resulting in six losses in the last seven contests. Cleanup hitter Carlos Lee got off to a good start but is currently mired in a 3 for 28 slump. Lee has failed to drive in a run in the last seven games. Chris Johnson is 0 for his last 14 including seven strikeouts. Brian Bogusevic is hitting .195 for the year and has started to see a reduction in playing time.

Altuve has six hits in his last 19 at-bats and has drawn two walks. The diminutive second-sacker has been dropped back to the #8 spot in today’s lineup after hitting second in three straight games. Jed Lowrie is back in the two-spot today against Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley.