#Royals – #Astros Preview

After the horrid series that was the Lone Star Series, the Astros go back home and face the Royals. The Only good thing that came from the Astros roadtrip was the series win against the White Sox. Considering the competition, a 4-5 roadtrip wouldn’t have been bad, but 3-6, that’s a different story. The Astros are in a bad way right now, and are in desperate need of some home cooking. The Royals are coming to town and are starting what could be a huge ten game home stand.

When previewing a series, you can never actually be 100% sure how the games will turn out. But one thing will always be sure, the Astros need help in just about every series this year. They aren’t good, but what are some other points that will help the Astros this series? So obviously the old cliche ‘good pitching and good defense wins you ball games’ applies in this case.

In all three games against the Rangers, the Astros defense fell apart in the fifth or sixth inning. The Astros can’t afford to bring these young pitchers’ confidence down. That means you Chris Johnson! No more errors or mishandles at third base! As for the series, Jonathon Sanchez makes his second start since coming back from the DL. He goes up against JA Happ. Happ has been awful lately. He really needs to get into a groove as soon as he hits the mound. If not, it’s probably going to be an early exit once again for JA.

The second start will be in the Astros favor. Wandy Rodriguez will be taking the bump for the Astros. He has back to back wins, plus the Astros have had a ton of offense when he’s on the mound this season. Wandy goes up against Luke Hochevar, who hasn’t been exactly that great in his last three starts. In Hochevar’s last three starts, he has 6.50 ERA with 11ks in 18 innings. Wandy doesn’t need to nit pick. He needs to get that curve ball working early and often and set that up with a well placed fastball. If that doesn’t happen, it could be a long day for ‘The Magic Wandy’.

The last game will be the toughest for the Astros. Jordan Lyles hasn’t been to good this year. He’s getting better since he first came up, but his main problem has been elevating his fastball. Lyles needs to work down in the zone. He doesn’t have over powering stuff, and needs to be really on point with his location. Vin Mazzaro has been pretty good for the Royals in his last three starts. He’s going to make it really tough for the Astros hitters.

So basically this entire series comes down to good pitching and defense. Also some timely hitting would be nice. I know it’s really cliche, but that’s been the Astros weakness lately.

Don’t forget to check out leesastros.mlblogs.com and also my thoughts on the Astros – Royals series will be on a Royal’s-centered blog CrownCrazed.com. Richard and I would love guests on our podcast. If you’re an Astros fan/blogger and want to talk Astros baseball, comment on here, let us know. We’re open to everything. Thanks!
-Lee White

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