Chris Schwindin (0-0, 11.25) v.s. Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 1.72)
Get out the brooms! The Astros beat the Mets 8-1 this afternoon and swept the series. They have won 3 in a row and 5 of their last 7 (and one of those 2 losses should have been a win as well, the 6-5 loss to the Reds). The Astros were all over Mets starter Chris Schwindin early and often, powered by two Chris Johnson homeruns in back to back innings - his first two homeruns of the year. The Astros move to 11-14 and the Mets fall to 13-12. The Astros have a day off tomorrow before they take on the Cardinals at home over the weekend in a 3 game set.
*Wandy Rodriguez was very good in picking up the Win today, as he has been all season. His line: 7.0 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 5 K. He was very efficient also, throwing only 90 pitches (65 for strikes). His season ERA is now 1.64.
*Jed Lowrie has not committed an error yet this year. On top of being great with the glove, he has been really great with the bat as well. He was moved to the #5 spot today, and responded by going 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored. His double off the wall in the bottom of the 3rd came off a 1-2 pitch, when he was more likely to be defending the plate. Another great game for Lowrie. Season line: .329/.427/.500. Coming into the game Lowrie was 7th in the NL in OBP at .410. He will be even higher up the leaderboard now.
*Jordan Schafer made his return from a left oblique injury and slid right into his familiar leadoff spot. He walked in his first at bat and promptly stole second (heads up move as Mets catcher Josh Thole has now thrown out only 5 of 22 attempted base stealers on the year - despite being 2 for 2 yesterday). What does he do in his second at bat? Walk again. Great discipline. He reached base for the 24th straight game and is now only one game shy of tying Menke's franchise record of 25. He finished 0 for 1 with the 2 walks and a strikeout. His OBP is now .360. Have we seen a game yet where Schafer hasn't had a dirty jersey, and usually within the first couple of innings? This guy plays hard and is a pleasure to watch.
*My only concern with Schafer is that he was favoring his lower back twice tonight, both times during or after at bats. Hopefully he doesn't have some sort of injury there we don't know about that is being aggravated by swinging the bat (although he didn't have to swing it much today with the 2 walks).
*Chris Johnson finally found his power stroke, with a 3 run shot in the 2nd inning and a 2 run shot in the 3rd. He finished 4 for 4 and drove in another run on a single, for a total of 6 RBI on the day. A huge day for CJ. I stand by my observation that he is a much better hitter this year.
*While Bogusevic had a nice day at the plate today (2 for 4 with 2 runs and an RBI), his discipline is lacking - and it's going to be hard for him to be consistent if he doesn't start to be more selective at the plate. This really showed up in his second at bat in the bottom of the 3rd, when he was swinging at pitches up and in (well out of the strikezone) before finally popping one up.
*JD Martinez went 0 for 5 and finished 1 for 9 in the series. He does not look comfortable at all at the plate. In the 8th inning, he was late on a 2-0 fastball, and late again on the fastball that struck him out swinging. He needs to get more aggressive and look for pitches to drive, instead of just reacting as he has been of late.
*Good move by Brad Mills to give Fernando Abad the 9th inning. Coming into the game his ERA was a very unsightly 16.20. What better way to let the guy work out his struggles than to pitch an inning in an 8-1 game. Great move, and Abad pitched well, collecting a strikeout in a scoreless inning of work.
Chris Johnson's first homerun, the three run shot in the 2nd inning, gave the Astros the only runs they would need.
Man of the Match:
Chris Johnson. 4 for 4. 2 runs. 2 homeruns. 6 RBI. He instantly improved his season numbers tremendously, with a line now of .311/.340/.467. Huge game for CJ.
Goat of the Game:
JD Martinez. 0 for 5 with a strikeout. He is officially in a slump now. Perhaps the day off will help clear his head before we get underway with the Cardinals.