Astros-Padres Preview

An offensive tear has the Houston Astros on their longest
winning streak of the season. They’re also on the brink of their
best stretch on the road in six years.

The San Diego Padres aren’t providing much of an obstacle for
anyone at home.

The Astros look to continue their hot hitting as they go for a
six-game road winning streak against the last-place Padres on
Friday night.

Houston (23-34) may be at the bottom of the NL Central, but the
club has won the first four contests on its seven-game trip,
including a series-opening 7-4 victory over San Diego on Thursday

The Astros have outscored opponents 32-17 during their five-game
winning streak away from home, batting .323 with nine homers in
those contests. They last won six straight road games July 18-22,

“It’s good to get some stuff going,” said third baseman Chris
Johnson, who is 11 for 27 with two homers and eight RBIs in the
Astros’ last seven road games. “It’s kind of one those things that
we know we’re capable of doing this. It’s almost an about-time
feeling that we’re doing this.”

J.A. Happ (3-6, 4.66 ERA) toes the rubber Friday for Houston,
looking for better support from his lineup. He’s posted a 2.65 ERA
in his last three starts, but has an 0-2 record to show for it as
the Astros have scored a total of six runs for him.

The left-hander helped himself Sunday against Arizona by hitting
his first career homer. He also pitched effectively, allowing one
run and two hits in eight innings while striking out eight, but the
bullpen wasted his effort and Houston went on to lose 4-2.

Happ isn’t letting his misfortune get him down.

“Confidence is everything in this game,” he told the Astros’
official website. “If you can maintain that confidence and just go
out there and be consistent with it, people can get on some pretty
impressive rolls.

“That’s how guys get hot. They have the confidence. It’s not
that they lack ability. I’m trying to get that back, and you get
confidence by having success.”

Happ got one run of support at home against San Diego on April
15, and yielded four runs in seven innings of a 4-2 loss. He was
terrific in his only career visit to Petco Park, tossing seven
scoreless innings in a win with Philadelphia in 2009.

He’ll now face a San Diego team that has dropped six of seven at
Petco to drop its home record to an NL-worst 9-21.

The Padres (24-33) are hitting .199 at home while averaging 2.3
runs on the season. They’ve been even worse during a 2-7 stretch
there, batting .181 and totaling 15 runs in the nine games.

Defense has also become an issue. San Diego committed three
errors during Houston’s five-run third inning Thursday. The club’s
46 errors rank second to the Astros’ 47.

Dustin Moseley (1-6, 3.18) gets the ball seeking to win for the
first time since allowing three hits in seven innings of a 7-0
victory at Los Angeles on May 1.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA in five starts since.
His latest effort was solid, as he allowed three runs – two earned
– in five innings, but he didn’t get a decision in Sunday’s 5-4
victory at Washington.

Moseley was the hard-luck loser in his only career start versus
Houston, yielding one run in 6 2-3 innings of a 1-0 loss April