HOUSTON - MAY 17: Jed Lowrie #4 of the Houston Astros watches the ball leave the park as he hits a two run home run in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park on May 17, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Today's game was one of the better games I've had the honor of recapitulating here at the Crawfish Boxes. If you looked at the box score, you would have had no idea that the starting pitcher for your Astros was J.A. Happ. You also probably would be shocked that Wilton Lopez gave up a walk, which is just mind-blowing, even for smart people. But we'll get to that later. The Astros shut out the Brewers 4-0 in the 2-game series finale. Among one of the game's highlights, Jed Lowrie proved once again how that Melancon trade was good as gold as he slugged his 5th homer of the year. Jed's been hitting a lot of warning track fly balls lately. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes on an absolute tear later this season, hitting homers like he's Josh Hamilton.
But someone else really had a good game. Hmm, I wonder who that was. Oh! It was J.A. Happ! Boy, J.A. Happ certainly looked swell tonight. He got out of bases loaded jams, he pitched to Ryan Braun like he was Cliff Lee facing a little leaguer. Need to get out of the inning unscathed? There's a Happ for that. He had a pretty good game, posting a game score of 61, which isn't great, but isn't bad. He pitched 6 innings, gave up 7 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4 as he allowed no runs to score. He worked well with runners in scoring position, escaping a potentially deadly scenario with Ryan Braun up to bat with the bases loaded in a favorable lefty-righty matchup. Fortunately, Braun flew out to end the inning. Happ was pretty lucky as far as getting out of jams. The game could have easily ended had a different outcome had the Brewers been able to take advantage of the opportunities they were given.
Brian Bogusevic really looked nice on the base paths today, running aggressively from 2nd base to home after Chris Snyder hit a single to Norichika Aoki in CF. Chris Snyder did a nice job running to 2nd base on that play, getting in to 2nd just milliseconds before he was tagged by Rickie Weeks. Snyder also ran from 2nd to home as Jordan Schafer also hit another ball to Aoki, who has a terrible arm from what I was able to gather. Schafer was able to advance to 2nd base on that play as well. On defense, Bogey did get his first error in the outfield after failing to pick up a ball, allowing a base runner to advance to 2nd.
Jose Altuve was Al3ve today, going 3-5 in his first multi-hit game since his birthday on May 6, raising his batting average to .319. Jordan Schafer went 2-4 with a double. Chris Johnson went 2-4 as well. Chris Snyder also went 2-4, his first multi-hit game since April 25th.
On the bullpen side, Dequam LaWesley Wright got an out, but managed to walk a batter. Wilton Lopez was brought in to close out the inning. What happened the following inning was just terrible, as Lopez walked his first batter of the season. But all in all, it's very pleasing to have a reliable reliever in Lopez to rely on in games. He has not given up an earned run since April 29th (not including inherited runners), however it is somewhat concerning that Lopez may be pitching too often. Lopez did say that he wanted to pitch everyday in 2010, but he ended up having a bad stretch of games toward the end of that season as he seemed to be worn out. The Astros should hope that such a meltdown doesn't occur again.
Frequent Fernando finished out the game, facing three right handed batters and one lefty in the process. He was able to get all 3 right handed batters out, but ironically gave up a hit to the only left handed batter he faced. It was a good way to finish the game as everybody seemed to pull their own weight and contribute to an Astros win today.
Tomorrow the Astros will face the Josh Hamilton show (and the Rangers) in Inter-league play for a 3-game series. The Rangers are no team to mess around with. They have a powerful offense that will not give mercy to mistake pitches. But it's a good thing we have Wandy Rodriguez pitching for us tomorrow, who has an ERA below 2. The Rangers will have Neftali Feliz on the mound. It all starts tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Central Time.