A seven-game homestand against two teams combined that are a combined 35 games over .500 is not exactly an exciting thing for Astros fans. Realistic expectations would be to get one, two, or maybe, just maybe, three wins against the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.
But, hey, check this out - the Astros already got a W behind a true team effort on Monday night at Minute Maid Park.
The competition has been heated for the starting rotation spots for Houston as this season wears on and the starters have stepped up to the occasion over the past couple weeks. Jarred Cosart has been great in his small amount of big league time, but Brett Oberholtzer is not far behind after a second consecutive excellent start.
The red-haired lefty scattered four hits in seven innings while walking two and striking out two. Even better, it only took Oberholtzer 101 pitches to complete his outing and now has thrown 14 straight scoreless innings in his first two career starts. That will certainly get you a spot in the rotation.
The Astros offense was up to it's usual antics, striking out 12 times behind a golden sombrero from Chris Carter. But the bottom of the lineup got it done as L.J. Hoes and Jonathan Villar combined to go 4-for-5 with a walk. Villar also stole three bases, while Hoes picked up his first career extra base hit, a double.
Hoes singled in the fifth, stole second and following a Villar walk, was driven in by a RBI single to right off the bat of Robbie Grossman to make it 1-0, Houston. The 23-year old outfielder continues to swing a good stick since being recalled, going 13-for-29 in his last eight games. Grossman and Altuve also stole bases, leading to six Astros steals on the night.
Hoes' double came in the seventh and he was then moved to third on a Villar single. Following a Grossman strikeout, Astros manager Bo Porter put on the suicide-squeeze play with Barnes at the plate. We've seen more of safety-squeezes this year from the Astros, but Hoes had a full head of steam towards the plate when Barnes laid down the sacrifice to score the run. Well done.
Lastly, Astros fans
always occasionally jump on the bullpen when they are bad, so let's give them some credit when they are good - like tonight. Wesley Wright was a little shaky as he allowed a walk and a single to put runners on first and third with two outs in the eighth.
But big ups to Josh Fields for coming in and getting the last four outs consecutively, all on strikeouts, to record his first save of the year.
All in all, a very nice win for Houston.
The two teams get back at it tomorrow with Jordan Lyles going for the Astros.