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Houston, You Have A Problem

Posted By Dave Leonardis On May 17 2010 @ 11:47 am In Los Angeles Dodgers | 1 Comment

The Los Angeles Dodgers completed their sweep of the San Diego Padres yesterday, giving them their seventh straight win, their second straight sweep and putting them two games back in the NL West.

The boys in blue needed only an RBI single from the suddenly rigamortis-free Russell Martin in the 6th to top the Pods 1-0. Chad Billingsley went 7 1/3, allowing only four hits, a walk and striking out six. Closer Jonathan Broxton came in to shut the door in the 9th for his seventh save of the year.

Next up for L.A. is the light-hitting Houston Astros. The ‘Stros are coming off being swept by the Giants after a surprising three-game sweep of the Cardinals last week. Their lineup, once deep and potent, has been dormant, to say the least. The Astros are dead last in the NL in batting average(collectively hitting a putrid .228), runs(110 in 37 games), on-base percentage(.276), slugging percentage(.324) and OPS(.600). Their best hitter is speedster Michael Bourn, who is batting .287 on the season. Their top power threat is outfielder Hunter Pence, who has 6 homers and 16 RBI so far. All signs point to this being a walk in the park for a rejuvenated pitching staff that has tamed much better offenses in Arizona and San Diego during their current win streak. Rookie John Ely(1-1, 3.86 ERA) will start things off against once-promising Wandy Rodriguez(2-4, 4.81 ERA. After that, Hiroki Kuroda(4-1, 2.66 ERA will match up with Bud Norris(2-4, 6.03 ERA). Both Ely and Kuroda are coming off stellar starts against the Diamondbacks. Ely struck out six in six innings, only giving up two in the Dodgers 13-3 beatdown of Arizona last Tuesday.  Kuroda went a little over seven innings, also giving up two, but striking out nine in a 6-3 victory.

With San Diego coming up once again after this two-game set with Houston, it would be understandable if Joe Torre’s boys look past the 13-27 Astros and set their sights on a first place showdown with the Padres(assuming, of course, the Padres don’t lose their first place spot to the Giants, who are a half game back and will be kicking off a two-game series with San Diego starting today). Regardless, the Astros are going to have their hands full trying to muster up enough offense against a suddenly lights-out Dodger pitching staff.

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