June is a new month.
After going 11- 17 through May, Sports Illustrated journalist Tom Verducci recently ruled the Astros out of the playoff race based on Sparky Anderson’s Rule, yet the Astros may have channeled the 2005 team’s defiance of probability with a sweep of the Cubs.
The Cubs look like they are going into a summer hibernation, and the Astros had the brooms ready and opening day starter Brett Myers on the hill. Things seemed to start looking up for the Astros. This series seemed guaranteed to end with a first, but would it be Doug Davis’s first win of the season or the Astros' first sweep?
Kosuke Fukudome’s leadoff home run in the 1st made it seem like the question would be answered early, which gave the Cubs a 1-0 led. Then Jason Michael’s home run to left center tied it up in the top of the 2nd. After both starters showed how their ERAs were above five early in the game, they would settle down. With two outs and three on in the 7th, Michael Bourn’s two-run single off Sean Marshall gave the Astros a 3-1 lead. But could the Achilles heel of the Astros (the bullpen) hold on?
The answer to that was a resounding yes, as Sergio Escalona and Enerio Del Rosario threw a combined two innings of shutout relief. Mark "The Shark" Melancon came in the 9th and closed out the game to get his 4th save. Brett Myers lowered his ERA to 4.82 and his second win of the season, while Doug Davis will have to wait another day for his first victory of the year.
With Alfonso Soriano recently added to the disabled list Tuesday in addition to the sweep, the Cubs' struggles continue. The Astros visit the Padres for a four game series starting Thursday at 9:05 pm, while the Cubs travel to St. Louis.