The Houston Astros have not played any better under their new
manager than they did for the old one.
Facing Kyle Lohse won’t make interim manager Tony DeFrancesco’s
next attempt at his first win any easier.
Lohse looks to continue his recent dominance while trying to
help the St. Louis Cardinals hand the lowly Astros a sixth
consecutive loss Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.
Houston (39-84) has been outscored 15-1 in two games since
DeFrancesco replaced the fired Brad Mills over the weekend. The
Astros, who were limited to five hits and struck out 12 times
against Adam Wainwright in Tuesday’s 7-0 loss at St. Louis, have
dropped 41 of 48.
“It’s kind of like you get beat down and the big guy keeps
hitting you,” DeFrancesco said.
Things only get tougher against Lohse (12-2, 2.61 ERA), who is
6-0 with a 2.18 ERA in last 11 starts since losing to Kansas City
on June 15.
The right-hander has allowed one run, 12 hits and struck out 18
while going 1-0 in his last three outings. Lohse gave up four hits
in 6 2-3 innings but closer Jason Motte could not hold a 1-0
ninth-inning lead in a 2-1 loss to Arizona on Thursday.
“We keep saying the same thing over and over, but we’ve been
very impressed with just how he comes out and makes his pitches,”
manager Mike Matheny told the Cardinals’ official website. “He gets
into a position for us to win.”
Lohse’s first loss of the season came May 4 at Houston, when he
allowed five runs – three earned – in five innings of a 5-4 defeat.
He’s 8-7 with a 2.77 ERA in 16 starts against the Astros.
Despite missing Carlos Beltran for the second straight game
because of a right hand injury, the Cardinals (66-56) broke out
Tuesday after scoring 10 runs while losing three of the previous
four. It’s uncertain when Beltran, 4 for 23 with eight strikeouts
in his last six games, will return.
Jon Jay and Yadier Molina each had three hits while Allen Craig
extended his hitting streak to 10 games for the Cardinals. Jay is 6
for 14 in the last two games after going 0 for 9 in his previous
four. Molina is 8 for 14 with four RBIs in the last three following
a 2-for-14 slump.
Craig is batting .410 (16 for 39) in his last 10 games overall,
and .438 (21 for 48) in 15 career games versus Houston. He’s 4 for
8 with a homer against Bud Norris (5-10, 5.23), who appears healthy
enough to take the ball after he left last Wednesday’s 7-2 loss at
Chicago in the fourth inning when he was hit in the foot by a line
Norris, 0-9 with a 6.98 ERA in 13 starts since beating the Cubs
on May 21, allowed six runs and three homers in 3 1-3 innings of
his last outing.
“It’s been frustrating,” Norris told the Astros’ official
website. “I have to keep plugging away.”
The right-hander is 7-3 with a 2.47 ERA in 12 starts versus St.
Louis, including 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two at home in 2012. Norris
is 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA in six career starts at Busch Stadium.
Houston All-Star Jose Altuve is 10 for 25 (.400) in his last six
games. He’s 2 for 3 with a homer versus Lohse.