April 7, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Lucas Harrell (64) pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
The Astros wrap up the opening home stand 3-3 and head out on the road for the first time this season. What will be different on the road?
I think most people would agree that starting the season 3-3 with one series win and one series loss is a step in the right direction for the 2012 Astros.
There were definite missed opportunities in the two losses to the Braves as errors and an inability to hit big in clutch situations turned productive hitting into productive hitting that couldn't win a ballgame. Combine that with a rough outing for Wandy Rodgriguez and the team finds itself leaving town on a loss rather than a win.
There were high points during the loss as well. Jordan Schafer continued to be a bat to contend with, but really stuck it to his old team with base stealing. Chris Johnson extended his hitting streak to four games. In fact, all around the bats were generally pretty lively, just not in those crucial moments.
So what's ahead for the Houston Nine? After a traveling off day today the Astros will spend three games in Miami and three games in our Nation's capital before returning to MInute Maid Park again. I'm really looking forward to this road trip. I want to see how this team responds away from a home crowd (although the crowd at MMP is often a blend of Astros and visiting team fans).
It's likely that Jed Lowrie will rejoin the lineup on Friday in Miami and that will add another layer of anticipation to this road trip. Now it's not just about seeing this team on the road, it's about seeing this Astros team the way it was constructed. With all of the starters that Brad Mills wanted to have on Opening Day we should get to see a bit of his master plan for the season.
Combine that with Lucas Harrell's second start to lead off this time away from Houston and now we've got a little something to get excited about.