Let's start with the 8th inning of last night's game. The Astros just scored their first run of the game with two outs and also managed to load the bases for J.D. Martinez. Even though Martinez leads the Astros in RBI's this season he's not the same hitter he was earlier in the season. It was no surprise that he was thrown mostly sliders in the at-bat as he has struggled with the breaking balls for much of the season. It was also no surprise to see him swing-and-miss three sliders to strike out with the bases loaded. That's the type of season that J.D. Martinez is having this year.
That 8th inning was the first time that the Astros offense was able to get anything going the whole game as they were held in check by Cubs starter Travis Wood for the first seven innings. The offense really struggled, and only had six hits, and of those six hits only one went for extra bases. The takeaway, and really the only positive of the night is that Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie returned from his lengthy stint on the DL. He was easily the Astros best player offensively this season and it would be nice for him to finish the season with healthy so the Astros don't have any doubts about his injury heading into next season. Tonight he didn't pick up any hits, but did work a walk and did not strike out any. His rehab was rushed a little bit so it may take him some games to get back in the swing of things.
Fernando Abad got the start for the Astros and the Cubbies gave him fits for his abbreviated outing. He lasted 3 1/3 innings, and though he only allowed one earned run, he also allowed four hits and three walks. Since making his first start with the Astros this August Abad has been unable to make it through the fifth inning. After the game DeFrancesco stated that the Astros are committed to Abad as a starter, at least in the short-term, and that he has to battle and work through his struggles.
In other news on the mound Mickey Storey gave Astros fans a scare after being struck in the head on a line drive off the bat of Dave Sappelt. After the game Storey said that he is alright and hopes to be get back on the mound soon. He only suffered a bruise to his jaw and right hand in the incident.
Remember when the Phillies season looked like it was all but done and they started trading away players at the trade deadline. Well, there season has taken a turn for the better and they have now won their last eigth in a row and have thrown themselves back into the playoff hunt. As fate would have it the Astros get to catch them while they are extremely hot and open a four-game set against them tonight.