Lucas Harrell (10-8, 3.81) vs Adam Wainwright (11-10, 3.87)
Maybe it was Houston's continued road woes. Maybe it was the odd bad day for Lucas Harrell. Maybe it was the change in his catching partner, or maybe they just ran into a buzzsaw in Adam Wainwright tonight. Blame whatever you will, but it was another rough night for the Astros as they started the final 40-game stretch of their forgettable 2012 season. Wainwright went wire to wire for the third time this year, recording his second shutout by a 7-0 margin, and dropping Houston to 38-84 overall.
*Dave Raymond noted before the game that Chris Snyder had caught Lucas Harrell's previous 20 starts, but Jason Castro had much better career numbers against Wainwright, so Castro got the start tonight. Whether it was the disruption of Harrell's routine, or if he was just overdue for a bad start, it was apparent from the outset that tonight was not the Lucas Harrell we've all come to admire this season. Harrell's line: 5 IP / 8 H / 6 R / 6 ER / 3 BB / 3 K. Chuckie Fick gave up a run in two thirds of an inning against his old mates, then Rhiner Cruz and Xavier Cedeno combined for 2.1 scoreless.
*Three singles, two doubles, and a walk were all that the Astros would manage against Adam Wainwright tonight, contrasted against 12 strikeouts.
*Jason Castro still has Wainwright's number, I guess, as he was the only Astro to reach base more than once, going 1 for 3 with the lone walk.
*Ben Francisco (1 for 4) and Steve Pearce (1 for 2) had the two doubles.
*Jose Altuve (1 for 4) and Justin Maxwell (1 for 4) had the other two singles.
*Scott Moore, Brett Wallace, Francisco, and Tyler Greene each struck out twice apiece.
Lucas Harrell's night went south quickly, as John Jay began the 1st with a double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, then scored on a balk. That was followed by five consecutive singles, producing three more runs, before Harrell got Rafael Furcal to ground into a double play to end the inning. As St. Louis had more hits in the 1st than Houston would have all night, this one was over early.
Man of the Match:
Jason Castro. It would be unfair to blame Harrell's rough night entirely on the Castro-for-Snyder lineup swap, and Castro did okay against Wainwright, justifying his start. I'd still bet on seeing Snyder next time Harrell pitches, though.
Goat of the Game:
Lucas William Bradley Harrell. Different catcher or not, Lucas still threw the pitches himself, and he had a rough go of it tonight.