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Matchup/Thread Game # 85 vs. Dodgers

Used to pitch in the Astros' minor league system
Never pitched in the Astros' minor league system
DJ Houlton   Rogér Clemens
4 - 2, 6.33 7 - 3, 1.41

Tonight Houston faces one more former Astro prospect made good with another team. Righthander DJ Houlton was drafted in the eleventh round of the 2001 by the Astros out of the University of the Pacific, and assigned thereupon to Rookie League Martinsville. He was named to the 2001 Appy League postseason All-Star, as well as to the 2002 Midwest League midseason squad.

Houlton split 2003 between Round Rock--then a AA club--and AAA New Orleans, posting a 3-4 record with a 5.40 ERA, then, busted back down to AA last year, he went 12 - 5 with a 2.94 for the Express in 2004.

Houlton was then picked by the Dodgers in the first round of the major league phase of the December Rule V draft.

The Dodgers had to keep Houlton at the major league level or offer him back to Houston, and he began the year in the bullpen, appearing in 13 games without a hold or a save, before taking the place of injured lefty Wilson Alvarez in the rotation on June 6, and you can see his record since then.

Houlton's out pitch is a big dropping curve. He's got a fastball in the high 80's, low 90's and the ability to throw a good change off it. If not overpowering, it does seem as if Houlton has sharp location, moving the ball back and forth across the plate in addition to changing speeds.

Houlton's last start was not good, as he gave up 6 runs and 6 hits over 2 innings in last Sunday's home loss to the D-Backs. Still, the Dodgers are pleased enough with Houlton that not only are we unlikely to see Houlton offered back to us, Houlton might even remain in the LA rotation even after Alvarez has returned from the DL.

Given how horrifically banged up the Dodgers are, I was surprised to see that LA is actually number three in the NL in team OPS for the month of July, trailing only Atlanta and the Astros.

I knew immediately what the team preview chart must be:

Great in July, Not So Good at Other Times
OPS Dodger Pos Astro OPS
x .685 Jason Phillips C1 Brad Ausmus .626
.457 Mike Rose C2 Raul Chavez .502 x
.772 Hee Seop Choi 1B Lance Berkman .822 x
.808 Antonio Perez 2B Craig Biggio .853 x
x .803 Oscar Robles SS Adam Everett .702
.748 Mike Edwards 3B Morgan Ensberg .976 x
.769 Jayson Werth OF1 Jason Lane .758
.689 Jason Repko OF2 Willy Taveras .694
.552 Jason Grabowski OF3 Chris Burke .597 x
.408 Cody Ross OF4 Orlando Palmeiro .855 x
x .859 Olmedo Saenz Util/PH Eric Bruntlett .649
.583 DJ Houlton P1 Roger Clemens .636 x
x .545 Jeff Weaver P2 Roy Oswalt .301
.269 Odalis Perez P3 Brandon Backe .679 x