The Houston Astros, now in the American League, have been dubbed a “natural rival” for the Rockies in interleague play. You know how the Cubs and White Sox have to play each other a lot, or the Mets and Yankees or the A’s and the Giants? While that’s happening the Rockies get to play the Astros. That might be an underrated wrinkle in a suddenly crowded National League West.
That presumes that the Rockies do not stub their toe against this lowly team, which is a distinct possibility with this series being such a letdown after a much-hyped set in San Francisco this weekend. Here is manager Walt Weiss‘s lineup for today’s game:
It makes sense that DJ LeMahieu gets a day off here. Saturday he went 0-5 in the #2 spot in the order. Sunday he missed that flyball that doomed the Rockies. He needs a day to clear his head, methinks. Todd Helton is out of the lineup as he is mired in his worst slump of the season. As Troy Renck notes his average now sits at .225. Blackmon is in there for the injured Michael Cuddyer. The good news is that it looks like Cuddy will not need to go back on the disabled list.
Astros manager Bo Porter counters with the following lineup:
I’ll set the over/under at 5.5 for how many of those names you had to Google. Take the over.
I have heard of Bud Norris however, and his ability to miss bats potentially presents a problem. We have seen in previous road series that the Rockies are capable of striking out far too often and not getting things going on offense. Whether it’s against the St. Louis Cardinals or the Astros they cannot afford to do that on the road. If Norris gets dialed in and strings together K’s this could be an annoyingly long afternoon for the Rockies.