Travis Wood (0-0, 4.50) vs JA Happ (3-3, 4.96)
The Astros and Cubs battled to a good old pitchers duel (well, it wasn't so much a pitchers duel as it was a battle between two bad offenses), and the Astros came out on top in a 2-1 nailbiter. The Astros improve to 20-23, within 3 games of .500 again, while the Cubs fall to 15-28. The Astros go for the SWEEP tomorrow!
*JA Happ had his second straight great outing, with a Soriano homerun being his only real blemish of the night. Happ's line was a very solid 6.0 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB/ 6 K. Wright and Lopez combined for 2 innings and each picked up ah old, while Myers grabbed his 11th save of the season with 2 strikeouts in a scoreless 9th.
*Jordan Schafer returned from his lower leg injury tonight, but was inserted into the 8 spot in the batting order. I personally love the move, as Schafer has simply been striking out too much lately to be a great leadoff option. Schafer went 0 for 3 in his return to the lineup (but he didn't strike out!).
*Jose Altuve batted leadoff and looks great there. He reminds me a lot of another smaller second basemen who batted leadoff for the Astros for many years....especially with his homerun tonight, which the other unnamed second basement hit a few of leading off games as well. Altuve finished 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI (both on the homerun obviously).
*In a big vote of confidence, Justin Maxwell got the nod in the 3 spot. I'm not sure what Brad Mills obsession is with batting a slumping hitter in the 3 hole exclusively.....first JD and now Maxwell. Why not put a guy like Lowrie in there who has been having a really great year?
*Maxwell went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout, and he did score the winning run. Lowrie went 1 for 3 with a walk from the #2 spot.
*Chris Snyder got another start behind the plate, which was great to see...but he cooled off with an 0 for 3 evening.
*The Astros drew 3 walks and only struck out 5 times tonight. They only collected 4 hits, and were a dreadful 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
JD Martinez' single in the 6th scored Maxwell and gave the Astros a 2-1 lead which they would never surrender.
Man of the Match:
Tough one! Happ was very good, but Altuve was the difference maker tonight. 2 for 4 from the leadoff spot with a big homerun leading off the game, his 3rd of the year.
Goat of the Game:
Pretty happy with this performance all around tonight. On paper CJ had the worst night, 0 for 2 with a strikeout - plus he got ejected, but it was a good team win in a tight game tonight.