‘Disappointing’ Astros look for better fortune vs. Rockies

MLB

The Houston Astros held a season-high six-game lead in the American League West on July 28, with their series-clinching win in Seattle that day marking their seventh victory in nine games.

Following their 7-5 home loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, the Astros’ division lead over the Oakland Athletics was two games. Houston has lost six of eight, including three of four to the cellar-dwelling Twins, and is struggling to maintain momentum through what has been a steady string of injuries to frontline players and the suddenly inconsistent performance of its rotation.

“It’s disappointing, it’s very disappointing,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said following the loss to Minnesota, which had been 0-4-2 over its previous six series. “But we’ve just got to regroup.”

A solid start from right-hander Jake Odorizzi would advance that goal for Houston, which will host the Colorado Rockies for a two-game interleague series starting Tuesday. Excluding starts from Lance McCullers Jr. against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Luis Garcia against the Twins, Astros starters have produced a series of erratic efforts since the win against the Mariners.

Odorizzi (4-6, 4.95 ERA) has struggled since the All-Star break, going 1-2 with an 8.82 ERA and a 1.116 OPS allowed over four starts. He has surrendered eight home runs during that stretch, including four over three innings in the Astros’ 7-5 loss to the Dodgers on Aug. 4. Odorizzi was 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA and .455 OPS allowed in his last four starts prior to the All-Star break.

Odorizzi will make his first career appearance against Colorado. The Rockies are one of two teams Odorizzi has never faced in his career, along with the Washington Nationals.

Right-hander Jon Gray (7-7, 3.67 ERA) will start the series opener for the Rockies on Tuesday. Gray took the loss in his previous outing despite posting a quality start of three runs on eight hits and one walk with six strikeouts over six innings against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 4. Gray has recorded six quality starts since returning from the injured list on June 25, going 3-1 with a 2.85 ERA over that eight-start span.

Gray defeated the Astros on April 20, allowing one run on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts over 6? innings in a 6-2 victory. He had faced the Astros once previously, surrendering two runs (one earned) on one hit and two walks with six strikeouts over seven innings in the Rockets’ 3-2 win on July 25, 2018. Gray did not factor into the decision.

The Rockies completed a series sweep of the Miami Marlins with a 13-8 win Sunday, their sixth sweep this season. Colorado capped a 5-1 homestand by outscoring the Cubs and Marlins 55-28 while bashing 17 home runs and improved to 38-21 at Coors Field.

Conversely, the Rockies are 13-40 on the road and have won just one road series this season: July 9-11 at San Diego.

“So many conversations about what we need to do on the road offensively,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It starts with the chase percentage.

“It starts with an increased on-base percentage, putting the ball in play, not striking out as much, doing those things on the road that we have to do to win. We’ve done that (of late). We’ve got an opportunity here the next seven weeks to improve our road record.”

–Field Level Media

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