Close, but not close enough...
Four games, four completely different outcomes. How do we look at this Houston team? Are they the team that beat up on guys like Edwin Jackson and Chad Billingsley, to the tune of 23 total runs? Or are they the team that managed just two runs period in the two middle games of this set.
That's the question I'm sure Brad Mills is asking himself right about now. The Astros showed off a lot of offensive prowess in this one, with Jordan Schafer and Carlos Lee providing all the run support they needed with big home runs. Schafer's was even more crucial, since it came with the bases loaded. I guess that chicken sacrifice went well before the game, huh?
What's more, this team again showed a knack for capitalizing on the mistakes of the other team. We've talked a lot about how flukey it is that Houston's opponents have committed so many errors in the games this season, but for those errors to hurt, Houston has to come up with some big hits. Time and again, they have (though not necessarily with the bases loaded).
Good win, and a solid end to a tough series with one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Let's not focus on the individual efforts as much as one thing in particular: this Astros team leads the league in triples. What a weird thing for the team to be very good at early in the season...
Right now, Houston has hit seven triples, which ties Colorado for the league lead. If they keep on this current pace, they'll hit about 71 triples as a team for the entire season. The team record for triples in a season is 67, and Houston did that twice in 1980 and 1984.
The Astros only hit 28 total triples last season and haven't topped 30 in a season since 2009 and haven't topped 40 since 1997.
It's safe to say this is a statistical abberation.
Wandy was brilliant yet again, holding the Dodgers scoreless through seven innings and never really allowing them to get any scoring opportunities. The red-hot Matt Kemp was also held in check, making this a very big key to the win.
That's four very good starts for Wandy now to open the season, but the first time he's gotten the victory. As Tim likes to point out, that's why the win-loss record is a pretty terrible indicator of whether a pitcher is good at his job.
If I had to say one thing nice about Houston's fielding, it's that Jordan Schafer continues to look good out in center field. As much as he's surprised to open this season, having him be very good in center has been the biggest benefit Houston could have been hoping for. The walks and home runs are nice and all, but they really needed to replace Michael Bourn out there. Schafer isn't that good, but he's pretty darned competent.
Houston will travel to Milwaukee to open a three game set in a quick six game road trip before coming back home.
Lucas Harrell will face off with Zach Greinke on Monday, with the game televised on Fox Sports Houston (check your local listings).