As frustrating as this season has been for the Houston Astros,
they continue to play well within their division, especially
against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Astros look to improve to 5-0 against the Pirates as the
teams continue a three-game series Wednesday night at Minute Maid
While Houston (33-51) has one of the worst records in the major
leagues, it is 16-12 against the NL Central, including 4-0 against
Pittsburgh (30-53). The Astros posted a 6-2 win over the Pirates on
Tuesday, snapping a three-game overall losing streak during which
they totaled two runs and got shut out twice.
Houston has scored at least five runs in each of its last six
games against teams from its own division. It’s among the
lowest-scoring teams in the majors overall this season with 3.5
runs per game, but it has outscored Pittsburgh 25-10 while batting
.313 over their four meetings.
Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman homered Tuesday and Wandy Rodriguez
struck out 10 in seven innings. Lee, who is 5 for 13 with three
extra-base hits and five RBIs in three games against the Pirates,
came in batting .125 in his previous four games. He had not homered
since June 12.
Lee and the Astros will try to clinch the series win Wednesday
against a Pittsburgh team that continues to struggle on the road.
Although the Pirates came in having won five of seven, they have
averaged 2.4 runs while dropping 19 of their last 21 on the
That could be a good sign for Brian Moehler (1-4, 5.20 ERA), who
will take the mound for Houston. Moehler gave up one run in 5 2-3
innings of a 6-3, 10-inning win over San Diego on Friday. He has a
2.70 ERA over his last three starts.
“What a great job he did,” manager Brad Mills told the Astros’
official website. “He put us in a position to win a ballgame again,
and you can’t say enough about what he did.”
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in the last three starts
The Pirates, who have lost 14 of their last 17 at Minute Maid
Park, will hand the ball to Daniel McCutchen (1-3, 8.87), who may
be losing his spot in the rotation when Zach Duke returns from the
disabled list after the All-Star break.
McCutchen gave up two runs – one earned – in 5 1-3 innings of a
3-2 win over Philadelphia on Thursday. It was his second start
since being recalled from the minors to replace Duke. The
right-hander gave up four runs in six innings of a 5-0 loss to
Oakland on June 26.
McCutchen pitched one scoreless inning of relief against Houston
on April 24 for his only time facing the Astros.