It’s time we all did some soul searching because it’s obvious that someone screwed up. Things were going so well before they weren’t. Sure, you would be naive to look at the series against the Mariners and not see a couple of chinks in the armor, most notably on Sunday. But to get blown out of your own stadium by the Rangers at a combined mark of 20-5? We all have our responsibilities and someone clearly dropped the ball.
I must confess that it might have even been me. After the win on Sunday I took my daughter to KFC for some chicken. Can’t go wrong, right? However, as I was mowing the yard on Monday night, listening to the Astros maintaining a 1-0 lead into the late innings, I encountered a spider while moving the kids’ toys around on the back porch. In that brief moment before the spider scurried off, I consciously considered eating the spider in the finest TalkZone tradition. Yet, I did not. I didn’t even make an attempt. It was not 15 minutes later that the Rangers had tied it, and not much after that that the streak was gone.
However, as I am sitting in a hotel room in west Los Angeles looking out at the unsuspecting landscape, I can’t get the following thoughts out of my mind:
- Anaheim is seriously AN HOUR AWAY from here? Don’t let the Port Arthur Astros of Houston hear about that.
- Where can a red-blooded American find a got-damn incandescent bulb in this city/state?
- Anaheim/Los Angeles is not Houston, therefore the Astros have more than a fighting chance.
The second place Halos just took two out of three from the hapless Mariners after being swept in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Astros, despite their failings against the Rangers, still own the best record in the AL and lead the league in causing opposing fans to boo their home team. Should make for an interesting weekend. Hopefully circumstances will allow me to make one of the games.
Thursday, May 7 – 9:05pm CDT
Collin McHugh (4-0, 3.41) vs. Hector Santiago (2-2, 3.14)
Both pitchers are coming off outings they’d probably rather have back. McHugh, despite ending up with a win and a decent stat line (eight baserunners over seven innings), gave up four home runs to the M’s. Santiago took the loss against the Giants while giving up four runs in five innings. Although neither pitcher has faced the other team this year, Santiago is 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA against the Astros, while McHugh is 2-2 with a 1.90 ERA against the Angels. Can we please get this guy some run support against LAA this time?
Friday, May 8 – 9:05pm CDT
Roberto Hernandez (1-2, 4.25) vs. Jered Weaver (0-4, 6.29)
The hell has happened to Jered Weaver this year? The Angels have only won one of his starts, a no-decision against the Astros which was also one of his two good starts so far this year. He’s already given up eight homers this year, which puts him well on a pace to be a career worst this season. Meanwhile, Hernandez has induced his fair share of big outs here and there and has been serviceable towards the back of the rotation. Both pitchers own career sub-3.00 ERAs against the other team, so this one could be either a pitching duel or a slugfest.
Saturday, May 9 – 8:05pm CDT
Dallas Keuchel (3-0, 0.80) vs. Matt Shoemaker (2-2, 5.40)
Two beards enter, one beard leaves. Both pitchers have been fairly consistent this year and that works to the Astros’ advantage. Shoemaker has allowed at least three runs in each of his starts, but he’s coming off a game where he pitched into the 8th and struck out ten Mariners bats. That number could easily be higher on Saturday. Cychel (that’s right, I’m starting it) has been outstanding all year and has gobbled up more innings than anyone in baseball. On the surface, this matchup looks the most promising. Then again, when doesn’t a Keuchel vs. Any Random Stooge matchup look promising?
Sunday, May 10 – 2:35pm CDT
Scott Feldman (2-3, 5.50) vs. Garrett Richards (2-1, 2.52)
Richards has strung together three fairly impressive outings since he lost his season debut to the Astros. He has pitched late into games, struck out a fair amount, and has done a generally solid job of keeping himself out of trouble. He’s also 4-1 against the ‘Stros. Feldman had also strung together some good starts before imploding against the Rangers on Tuesday. The Astros’ fate in this game is going to be largely dependent on which Feldman shows up.
Three days ago: Astros SWEEP!!!11!1one
Two days ago: Astros still sweep?
Yesterday: Ok, Astros win 3-1.
Today: Split all the way.