What just happened?
The RAYS are coming off a 3-game home sweep of the Tigers where they averaged 7 runs scored per game, vaulting them all the way to… 9-8. (Seriously, folks. The AL Central is decidedly not good.) Youngster Steven Souza, Jr. is leading the team, presumably at a brisk marching tempo.
The ASTROS just secured 3 of 4 at home from the Halos by scoring… 12 runs? That’s it, 12 runs in 4 games, but we still won 3 of them? Damn, it’s nice to have good pitching.
The Astros’ winning streak has been attributed to eating grasshoppers and the fans using Ric Flair’s trademark “WOOOOOO!” This author is torn as to these trends – nobody should eat grasshoppers, and nobody but Ric Flat should WOO. But a team on a streak respects the streak, and when you’re 11-5, you don’t go changing.
Friday, April 21, 6:10 PM CDT
Fiers (0-1, 5.40) at Cobb (1-1, 4.50)
Current Rays have hit Fiers to a .294 line (15 for 51), but at least he’s only recorded 1 walk. Beware of Logan Morrison (5 for 13) but hope to face Brad Miller (1 for 7).
Current Astros have only managed to go 7 for 35 against Cobb, including 9 strikeouts and 2 walks. Almost all of the hits are courtesy of Brian McCann, who has gone 6 for 12 with a pair of homers. Reddick has the only other hit, but that’s part of a 1 for 15 record including 5 strikeouts.
None of this bodes well. Get the bullpen ready.
Saturday, April 22, 5: 10 PM CDT
Morton (1-1, 2.81) at Snell (0-2, 2.76)
Morton has allowed a .269 average (14 for 52) to current rays, with 10 strikeouts and 4 walks – and only 1 home run. Corey Dickerson has touched him up at a 4 for 9 clip, and Logan Morrison has gone 4 for 8 with a pair of doubles. Rickie Weeks and his career 1 for 14 may sit this one out.
Snell, your standard fare crafty lefty, has been hammered in a small Astros sample – 11 for 24 with 2 homers. He has one career start against the Good Guys, a Minute Maid Park disaster where he gave up 5 runs on 9 hits in only 3 innings. Altuve, Aoki, and McCann are all 0 for 2 against him; pretty much everyone else touched him up.
Sunday, April 23, 12:10 PM CDT
Musgrove (1-1, 5.87) at Andriese (1-0, 3.38)
Let’s make this brief: Musgrove has never faced any of the Rays, and is coming off his Poo Holes Hazing treatment.
Andriese has held the Astros to 8 for 33 with 2 appearances. Altuve (3 for 4) is looking forward to this, while Beltran (1-7) and Reddick (0-4) will not.