Even a rare victory for the Houston Astros didn’t come without
After losing an everyday player to injury in Tuesday’s win over
the Seattle Mariners, they’ll turn to Lucas Harrell on Wednesday at
Minute Maid Park as they seek only their second series win of the
Center fielder Justin Maxwell is out indefinitely for Houston
(6-14) as he was placed on the disabled list following Tuesday’s
3-2 win after being hit by a pitch in the third inning.
“I have to see the hand specialist tomorrow,” said Maxwell, one
of four Astros to start every game thus far. “But at least we got
the win out of it.
Maxwell was hit with the bases loaded, so he can at least say he
got credit for bringing home what turned out to be the winning
Bud Norris gave up a run in five innings, but it’s been eight
games since Houston has had a starter make it through six. The
rotation has a 12.77 ERA in that stretch.
Harrell (1-2, 4.98 ERA), who didn’t face the Mariners when
Houston took two of three in Seattle earlier this month, has made
it through 5 2-3 in his last two outings. He walked five and
allowed five hits Friday against Cleveland, but gave up only two
runs in a 3-2 victory.
The right-hander is walking 5.40 batters per nine innings, one
of the majors’ 10 worst rates.
“I was struggling to throw strikes again, it’s just kind of been
a trend right now,” Harrell said. “It’s something I need to work
on between starts and definitely focus on that.”
Harrell may not exactly have his work cut out for him as he
takes on a Seattle offense that has been anemic. Tuesday marked the
sixth time in eight games the Mariners (8-14) were limited to two
runs or fewer, and the team is batting .226 on the season.
Seattle is 6 for 37 (.162) with runners in scoring position as
it’s dropped four of five on this road trip.
“I do think we have guys heading in the right direction,”
manager Eric Wedge said. “That is obvious by the quality of the
at-bats. Having said that, it’s all about winning and losing, and
we have to do a better job of finding a way to win ballgames.”
Before returning home, the Mariners give the ball to Joe
Saunders (1-2, 4.50), who has already stifled Houston once. He
threw 6 1-3 shutout innings against the Astros on April 8, limiting
them to one hit, but was shelled by the Rangers on Friday for seven
runs on nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Walks also have been a serious issue for Saunders, who’s 1-0
with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the Astros. He’s yielded 10
in 22 innings – including two in a six-run fifth against Texas.
Both offenses continue to see individual bright spots with
Seattle’s Kyle Seager and Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez. Seager has hit
safely in a career-best 12 games, going 17 for 45 (.378) in that
span with seven doubles, two homers, and eight RBIs. Before that,
he was 5 for 34 (.147) in nine games.
Gonzalez connected for a solo homer on Tuesday, his third this
year in 45 at-bats. He totaled two all of last year in 205 ABs.