The Astros return home to start a ten-game home stand after going 4-3 on the most recent trip. Yep, you read that right. The Astros actually had a winning record on a road trip.
But there are some negatives. Roy Oswalt strained his left oblique muscle on Saturday night, and he will miss his start against the Washington Nationals on Thursday night. Carlos Lee was also injured Saturday night, but he is expected to return to action tonight.
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Before his injury, Oswalt was 5-0 for his last five starts, with a 0.82 ERA.
Despite the winning road trip, the Astros have failed to move closer to first place. They are eight games out. Only the Astros now trail the Chicago Cubs, the Cubs having overtaken the Brewers last week. The St. Louis Cardinals, who will be in town for the last three games of the home stand, are also sitting in front of Houston. And while people still whisper about the Astros having a chance for the playoffs, it needs to be noted that the Astros are still closer to the last place Pittsburgh Pirates in the standings than they are the third place Cards.
Maybe that will have changed by the time the Cards come to MMP. And the Nationals and Pirates, the teams the Astros play before St. Louis, are the perfect patsies. Except the Pirates have owned the Astros this season. And the Nationals were tough when the Astros were in D.C. back in July.
The Astros play the first of four games against the Nationals starting tonight. – John Royal