BRAVES @ ASTROS
May 9-10, 2017
Here’s a quick two-game homestand between former NLDS rivals before heading to the east coast to face the Yanks and Fish. The Astros haven’t played the Braves since 2014.
What happened in the last series?
The Braves just got swept in their house by the Turds and have lost six of their last seven. At 11-18 they are in last place in the NL East and only the Giants, Royals, and Blue Jays have worse records. As such, it’s hard to find anything that they do well: their team ERA is 0.01 runs away from MLB-worst (when broken out between starters and relievers, both are comfortably bottom-third), and while their team batting average is good they are at or below average in most other offensive categories.
The Astros put the bow on another series win last weekend. The sweep has eluded them this year, and in particularly annoying ways, but I don’t think anyone can complain too much about winning eight out of ten series so far this year.
Tuesday, May 9 – 7:10pm CDT
Bartolo Colon (1-3, 6.27) vs. Charlie Morton (3-2, 3.97)
Colon is undefeated at Minute Maid Park, but this may be the year to ruin that streak. He has given up hits and runs in bunches (5+ runs allowed in half of his starts) and is having trouble consistently working deep into games. His best start of the season came against the offensive powerhouse of San Diego (T-25th in runs scored), but since then he’s gotten rocked for 15 runs on 29 hits in his last 16 innings. He hasn’t really lost any velocity on any of his pitches from previous seasons, although his location has drifted to the outer edges of the plate instead of staying in the middle of the strike zone. Beltran (.277/.346/.596, 4 HR) and Altuve (.412/.412/.529) have both hit well against him.
Morton had a very good outing against the Rangers and has benefited from plenty of run support recently. A career National Leaguer, he has played the Braves a number of times and is 2-0 against them since 2014 despite a 5.73 ERA.
Wednesday, May 10 – 1:10pm CDT
Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.99) vs. Joe Musgrove (1-3, 5.40)
Fun fact! Garcia was the Cardinals starting pitcher in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series that the Rangers lost in excruciating fashion. Since then he has missed significant time with shoulder issues and thoracic outlet syndrome, but has been pretty solid in his first year with the Bravos. He comes to Houston having thrown three straight quality starts and has pitching through the 6th inning in all but one game this season. He has been issuing a lot of walks, though, and his current 17:13 K:BB ratio is well off his roughly 3:1 career pace.
Musgrove had a rough go in his last outing, spotting the Rangers a 5-1 lead after two innings.