Astros face long road trip

The Astros finally got things rolling at home this week by going 5-2 on their home stand against the Nationals and Cubs, winning five of the final six games after getting pounded by Washington on Memorial Day. Now they have to try to get things ironed out on the road.

The Astros have lost nine of 11 road games since sweeping the Cardinals May 11-13 and will play 20 of their next 26 games away from home. That’s the price they paid for having so many home games early. Houston opens a 10-game trip to Colorado, the Yankees and Kansas City on Monday and returns home for six games before another 10-game trip. Ouch.

“It’s going to be interesting,” manager Brad Mills said. “That’s a lot of travel. We’re going to be playing a lot and then we have an off day [June 14], which is nice because it’s been a while. It’s going to be kind of a fun road trip with using a designated hitter in the American League ballparks and so forth.”

The Astros will use a DH in New York and Kansas City, and Mills said he’s not prepared to name a DH just yet. Carlos Lee is the most obvious choice, and Lee said after Sunday’s game he’d rather play in the field than be the DH. Still, he will likely end up as the DH in most games.

It all gets underway Monday when Houston sends Wandy Rodriguez (3-7, 5.07 ERA) to the mound against Jason Hammel (2-3, 6.09 ERA). Here are the rest of the pitching matchups for the Rockies series:

Tuesday: Brian Moehler (0-2, 6.49 ERA) vs. Jeff Francis (1-2, 3.70 ERA)

Wednesday: Felipe Paulino (1-7, 4.01 ERA) vs. Aaron Cook (2-3, 5.00 ERA)

Thursday: Roy Oswalt (3-8, 3.22 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (3-4, 3.77 ERA)

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