The Astros haven't had much to smile about this year.
What can one say about the 2012 Astros? There's really no nice way to describe the way they've played lately. Quite honestly, they've sucked. Their July was one for the history books as it was the fifth-worst month for any team in baseball history, and history is quite a long time. The Astros won just three of their 27 games during the month and are officially the worst team in all of MLB right now with a 35-71 record, only 10 of those coming away from home. In the NL, they are 14th in hitting (.242), 15th in ERA (4.82), their bullpen is atrocious (5.04 ERA, dead last in MLB) and the defense has committed the third-most errors (75). Their -135 run differential is the worst of any team. No matter how you slice it, the Astros have been horrible in what is to be their final year as a National League team.
On top of that, they've got a completely different look. In addition to dumping Carlos Lee, whom the Braves just saw with Miami, Houston has traded away five pitchers, one of them their best in Wandy Rodriguez plus their closer Brett Myers, and their regular third baseman Chris Johnson. Johnson had been the second-best hitter on the team next to All-Star Jose Altuve with a .279 batting average, and his 41 RBI were second to J.D. Martinez's 53. New reliever Francisco Cordero has yet to earn any fans in Houston, blowing three saves in his six games since being traded, allowing 11 runs. Jed Lowrie, the team leader with 14 home runs, has been on the DL since July 15 with a sprained right ankle.
This series will also feature the Braves debut of Paul Maholm, acquired from the Cubs July 30.
Pitching matchups after the jump.
Friday, August 3, 7:35 p.m. ET
#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jul 14, 1975
|2012 - Tim Hudson||10-4||17||17||1||1||0||0||110.0||105||48||45||6||29||68||3.68||1.22|
#30 / Pitcher / Houston Astros
Jan 15, 1982
|2012 - Armando Galarraga||0-0||1||1||0||0||0||0||5.0||5||3||2||2||1||5||3.60||1.20|
Saturday, August 4, 7:10 p.m. ET
#17 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jun 25, 1982
#64 / Pitcher / Houston Astros
Jun 03, 1985
|2012 - Lucas Harrell||8-7||21||21||1||1||0||0||127.1||125||65||57||10||46||86||4.03||1.34|
Sunday, August 5, 1:35 p.m. ET
#54 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Oct 07, 1985
|2012 - Kris Medlen||2-1||39||1||0||0||1||1||59.1||50||16||16||2||14||39||2.43||1.08|
#20 / Pitcher / Houston Astros
Mar 02, 1985
|2012 - Bud Norris||5-8||19||19||0||0||0||0||109.1||108||63||61||15||47||111||5.02||1.42|