Blue Jays-Astros Preview
Excellent production at the plate has the Houston Astros in
position to sweep a series at home for the first time in 15
The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping Mark Buehrle can prevent that
The Astros will attempt to solve Buehrle for the first time and
sweep this three-game set from the struggling Toronto Blue Jays on
Houston (43-85), owner of the worst record in baseball, have
totaled 20 runs in winning the first two games after Saturday’s 8-5
The Astros had dropped 17 of their previous 20 at Minute Maid
Park, batting .213 while averaging 3.4 runs.
Houston has a .329 average over the last two games, with four
home runs among its 14 extra-base hits and 23 overall. Now, the
Astros are trying to sweep a series at home for the first time
taking three games from the Chicago Cubs from May 21-23, 2012.
Sweeping the Blue Jays (57-73), however, may be a tall task
since they’re giving the ball to Buehrle (9-7, 4.23 ERA).
The veteran left-hander started the season 1-3 with a 6.33 ERA
through his first nine starts, but he’s 8-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 17
games since. He’s won his last four decisions behind a 2.41 ERA in
Buehrle seemed to be headed for another win Tuesday, but gave up
a game-tying homer before exiting with two outs in the seventh of a
3-2 loss at the New York Yankees.
“One too many bad pitches, I guess,” Buehrle told the team’s
Buehrle has won both of his starts against the Astros, yielding
one run in 17 innings. He was masterful while tossing a two-hitter
with nine strikeouts in a 4-0 home win July 25.
This will be his first appearance at Minute Maid Park since
getting a save with the Chicago White Sox in Game 3 of the 2005
Buehrle held Jason Castro hitless in four at-bats – fanning him
twice – last month. However, the catcher enters this matchup
hitting .371 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 19 games.
Castro has four hits in this series after going 3 for 3 with two
homers and three RBIs Saturday. His 17 homers have matched the
team’s single-season record for a catcher, set by John Bateman in
“The biggest thing that I’ve really been trying to do this year
is stay as consistent as possible and really not deviate from my
approach,” Castro said. “I’ve tried to be as simple as possible and
it’s worked out so far.”
The Astros will send Dallas Keuchel (5-7, 5.11) to the mound,
and the left-hander is 0-1 over his last two outings, allowing 10
runs in 12 2-3 innings.
He was pulled after four-plus frames Aug. 17, allowing four runs
with three walks while not getting a decision in a 6-5 road defeat
to the Los Angeles Angels.
Keuchel surrendered six runs and three homers in 7 1-3 innings
in an 8-6 victory in his only career start versus Toronto on July
The Jays have dropped seven in a row, matching their season
worst from July 14-24, and are on the cusp of their longest slide
since a nine-game stretch from May 19-27, 2009.