I believe in streaks. I respect the streak like any rational and superstitious baseball fan, so as the Houston Astros entered into this series with the Reds with a streak of losses, I did everything I could to change my behavior in the hopes they’d pull out a win.
It took all three games to get there, but the Houston Astros brought their losing streak to an end Sunday.
Friday night when the Reds arrived, J.A. Happ handed his Astros a quality start, but that was not enough to overcome the strong seven inning start and offensive powerhouse of the Reds. Mike Leake definitely put his mark on Minute Maid Park while Joey Votto continued to pound the Astros at home, as he has for quite some time. In the end, Happ’s start wasn’t enough to lead the Astros to a win and they fell 4-1, losing an injured Carlos Lee along the way.
Saturday would prove to be a long and grueling battle between these two clubs as the first four innings along went a whopping two hours. After the Reds started off as an offensive bulldozer, running over Wandy Rodriguez’s pitching with 8 runs in the first two innings, the Astros finally found a groove and began battling back in the 3rd and 4th, putting up another 7 runs of their own. By the top of the 5th it was a 9-8 ballgame with Astros on top. That lead would be squelched in the late innings as the Reds continued to put on a home run display and finished off the Astros 12-9 in an epic 3 hour and 47 ballgame.
Sunday afternoon would tell a different tale and turn the tide of the Astros. After calling up Jordan Lyles to start on the mound as well as Brett Wallace to cover for Lee at first (Matt Downs was sent to AAA as a result), the Astros refused to go down. The 4-8 hitters found a groove against Reds pitcher, Bronson Arroyo and managed to take an early lead then battle in the second half to regain it again after falling behind in the third. Justin Maxwell’s two run homer in the 7th sealed the fate of the ball club as the Astros broke their losing streak and beat the Reds, 5-3.
I have a theory that because Lyles hadn’t been with the big club for that devastating road trip to LA and Denver he wasn’t tainted by the streak. Regardless of whether my theories are right or wrong, it was behind his leadership on the mound that the offense was able to turn things around and the Regulators were able to shut down Cincinnati effectively.
The Astros will take this off day to choose their first overall draft pick in the Rule 4 First year Player Draft and fans will wait with bated breath to see if the they can take this win and carry it into the next series against the division rival St. Louis Cardinals.