Cooper explains Saturday's lineup

The Astros had an unusual lineup Saturday against the Dodgers with Chris Coste at first base and Jason Michaels in center field. Coste was playing in place of the injured Lance Berkman, and Michaels was in place of Michael Bourn, who was given the day off.

“I need to get Michaels going somehow,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “I think this is a pretty good test, and the other guy [Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw] has been tough against left-handed hitters. This will give Michaels a chance to hopefully get going.”

This will be the 10th start of the season for Michaels. He’s hitting .173 this season, and eight of his 13 hits have been doubles.

Coste, acquired July 10 off waivers from Philadelphia, will be making his first start for the Astros while facing a left-handed starter.

“That’s going to be his role for now,” Cooper said. “That’s going to be a role he can fill.”

Second baseman Kaz Matsui, who’s hitting lead-off with Bourn out, has four consecutive multi-hit games coming into Saturday. He has reached base safely via a hit or walk in 10 consecutive games. Batting right-handed, he’s hitting .348 with a .444 on-base percentage this year.

“He’s been really going strong,” he said. “He’s really swung good from the right side. The left side, he’s been missing a little bit and chasing a lot of bad balls. The last few games he’s looked much better from the left side.”

Cooper said Matsui would likely be out of the lineup Sunday for rest.


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