Can the Astros turn it around?
The Astros are 15-29 for the second year in a row. Last year, you remember, they were 17-34 before they finally got their act together and finished the season with a 59-52 run that was done largely after the trades of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt.
Whether this year’s team can pull off a similar turnaround remains to be seen, but if you’re looking for something positive during the team’s current five-game losing streak you can point to starting pitching. The starters were expected to be a strength for the Astros, and it appears the top four spots in the rotation are beginning to get on track at the same time.
J.A. Happ allowed four hits and three runs in six innings Thursday (a loss to the Cardinals) while striking out eight, and Wandy Rodriguez threw eight scoreless innings Tuesday in Atlanta and really has it going. Then there’s Brett Myers, who righted his ship by allowing eight hits and two runs in six innings Monday in Atlanta.
Of course, the offense has been held to six runs in four games during the four-game trip through Atlanta and St. Louis and is looking more like the 2010 offense instead of the club that was so competitive in each and every at-bat and every inning for the first six weeks of this season.
The Astros open Interleague Play on Friday in Toronto, and that’s going to be a tough assignment. The Blue Jays have been playing very well and have one of the game’s best — and most surprising — sluggers in Jose Bautista. This weekend will be the Astros’ last Interleague venture until a 12-game stretch against AL teams beginning June 20, and considering how tough their Interleague schedule is, they can only hope to have the offense clicking and the starters working deep into games when it starts.