It’s time to forget the past, cherish the present, and charge forward towards the future. That has been the theme of the Dodgers season thus far through 13 games. Again the team will need to put their unfortunate luck in the past in favor of the reality that they have moved on to Houston to oppose an Astro team that was the weakest in baseball a year ago, and holds the second-poorest record in the National League. Tonight Ted Lilly looks to build off of his terrific 7.0 inning outing against the Padres last Saturday. Lilly allowed just two hits and struck out four batters. His counterpart is also a lefty, the former Philadelphia Phillie, now Astro J.A. Happ. Both lefties have had success against their opponents, but it’s Happ that has suffered four defeats against the Dodgers.
Questionable for the weekend series is third baseman Juan Uribe who is nursing a sore wrist. Uribe is batting .235 with an RBI. His absence allowed for Jerry Hairston, Jr. to make a fantastic defensive play to aid the Dodgers in defeating the Brewers on Thursday morning.
Los Angeles Dodgers (10-3) at Houston Astros (5-8)
5:05 PM PST, April 20, 2012
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
TV: Prime Ticket, MLB Network
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 69 degrees, partly cloudy
Brewers Projected Starters:
P: J.A. Happ
C: Jason Castro
1B: Carlos Lee
2B: Jose Altuve
SS: Jed Lowrie
3B: Chris Johnson
LF: J.D. Martinez
CF: Jordan Schafer
RF: Brian Bogusevic
Key Bench Players: C Chris Snyder, SS Marwin Gonzalez
For more information on the Astros, check out our pre-series report.
Dodgers Last 10: (7-3): W @ MIL, L @ MIL, L @ MIL, W vs SD, W vs SD, W vs SD, W vs PIT, W vs PIT, W vs PIT, L @ SD.
Astros Last 10: (3-7): W @ WAS, L @ WAS, L @ WAS, L @ WAS, L @ MIA, W @ MIA, L @ MIA, L vs ATL, L vs ATL, W vs ATL.
- The Dodgers lead the overall series against the Astros by a margin of 384-318. The Dodgers were 5-4 against Houston last season, including 1-2 at Minute Maid Park.
- While Astros starter J.A. Happ has held Matt Kemp hitless in three at-bats, he has allowed three hits in as many at-bats to Juan Uribe, including a home run.
- Ted Lilly is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA against the Astros — his second-lowest ERA against any team in the Major Leagues.
Keys to a Dodger Victory:
- Lilly must stay grounded
Ted was phenomenal in his debut outing, allowing only two hits. Last season he had a problem keeping the ball in the park, a feat he must keep restrained in order to bounce back this season.
- Wake-up Dee
Dee Gordon has stolen eight bases in nine attempts, but is batting just .192, with an OBP of .250. If this keeps up it will take effect on the rest of the Dodgers offense, as it did in the Brewers series. The Dodgers need their table-setter, and he needs to run wild on the Astros.
- Hold the Lead
The Brewers bullpen earned a strong consideration to be the MVP of the prior series. Three one-run games were played, two won by Milwaukee. Javy Guerra settled down and converted his sixth save of the season yesterday. That’s clearly something to be positive about. The goal is to shorten the game to six innings, then allow the bullpen to finish things off.
Best-Case Prediction: Dodgers 8, Astros 4
Worst-Case: Astros 3, Dodgers 2