That didn't look like the worst team in baseball crushing the opposition last night, did it? With their highest run total of the season at Minute Maid Park, the Astros (42-85) snapped their six-game home losing streak with a 12-4 victory in Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays (57-72). They hadn't scored more since a 16-10 win at Seattle on April 9th. Rookie Robbie Grossman homered and had four RBIs, raising his average to .356 during a 10-game hitting streak. Matt Dominguez went deep for the fourth time in seven games, a stretch in which he's 11 for 27(.407).
Brad Peacock (2-4 5.59) struggled mightily in April where he went 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA, but since being recalled from AAA Oklahoma City, Houston fans and personnel have to believe he will be a part of the future. Peacock's second time around in the now 6 man rotation has seen him split 2 decisions with an ERA under 2 fanning 20 batters in 19 IP. Peacock is coming off a superb effort yielding just 2 runs on 4 hits in 6+ innings against Anaheim last time out. Tonight however could be a challenge as he faces a Toronto lineup who have dropped 6 straight bringing up the rear for the majority of the campaign in the AL East. Offense hasn't been the problem for the Jays averaging nearly 4.5 runs per game along with their 155 overall HR second to only Baltimore in the majors. However capitalizing big innings along with shoddy starting pitching has led to a demise that most penciled in a shoo-in for the postseason. Edwin Encarnarcion (.273 32 94) is 3rd in the AL in HR and 4th in RBI on his way to exceeding his seasonal averages. Jose Bautista (.259 28 73) has been comparably subpar if you want to compare personal bests to his 2013 season that has been marred with injuries and inefficiency. He is currently on the DL suffering from hip soreness. JP Arencibia (.212 20 50) has shown great power behind the plate but is having trouble hitting his weight striking out 122 times in only 391 plate appearances. Colby Rasmus (.273 18 60) has a strained oblique muscle and was also placed on the 15 day DL. Adam Lind (.280 16 44) has been solid when called upon and I guess it's better late than never for Jose Reyes (.300 9 29) who has played through a multitude of injuries, the latest being a knee flareup.
Toronto, who has now lost 7 straight counters with Chien Ming Wang (1-1 7.13) who is making just his 5th start of the season and first since July 2nd when he was sent down to AAA Buffalo. The right-hander allowed 13 runs and 14 hits in two starts failing to escape the second inning in either. Wang faces an Astros lineup who hopes to follow up a solid offensive outburst from Friday night. Houston is only hitting .240 collectively averaging about 3.9 runs per game. Led by Chris Carter (.212 23 64) in production, he also has the dubious distinction of striking out 174 times in just 397 plate appearances or better than every 2.5 at bats. Jason Castro (.273 15 48) has also provided some pop from behind the plate and Matt Dominguez (.237 18 60) continues to impress from the hot corner. Jose Altuve (.276 4 42) has done a good job leading the club in hitting along with his 30 steals in 39 attempts (77%). Robbie Grossman (.270 4 20) extended his hitting streak to 10 games Friday night going 2 for 4 scoring in a run and knocking in 4 more including a 2 run HR. Despite the roster affected with inconsistency and injuries along with limited lineup protection, this is a relatively scrappy bunch that might be about 10 games better than their actual mark given more effective starters in the rotation.
We get a bargain of a price this evening in a ballpark that may have somewhat deeper dimensions straight away than advertised. However, there is good lift and carry to the corners at Minute Maid especially in left field and it's awfully tricky to judge the pitcher's mound like hump in center field which can give speedsters some extra bases. Both of these teams have nothing to lose facing off as AL cellar-dwellers, and the offenses could once again well have their way as we look for our third straight win hopefully in quick and easy fashion like Friday night in Petco. Best of luck however you play!