Hey, these guys lost 111 games last year! This will be a piece of cake! Right?
Maybe not. Houston comes into this three game set against the Blue Jays with a respectable 3-4 record (exactly the same as Toronto). Nobody should expect these guys to have a winning record by seasons end, but with some progress from their young pitchers and an improved offense around Altuve, Fowler and Jason Castro, it's entirely reasonable they might not lose 100 games again. Anyhow, these aren't going to be three automatic wins that many people will expect, but Toronto taking anything less than 2 of 3 would be a big disappointment. They're the much, much better team.
Tuesday: Brett Oberholtzer (0-1, 4.76) (*2013: 4-5, 2.76) v. Mark Buehrle (1-0, 0.00) (*2013: 12-10, 4.15)
Wednesday: Lucas Harrell (0-1, 15.00) (*2013: 6-17, 5.86) v. Brandon Morrow (0-1, 7.20) (*2013: 2-3, 5.83)
Thursday: Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 7.20) (*2013: 6-10, 5.15) v. Dustin McGowan (0-1, 13.50) (*2013: 0-0, 2.45 *all relief*)
Player Sure to Be a Thorn on the Side of the Blue Jays
Dexter Fowler. He's off to a blazing start to the year (6-12, 2B, 3B, HR) so neutralizing him will be key to stopping the otherwise limited Astro attack.
Peculiar Stat to Watch
The Astros currently lead the American League in home runs with 9. Considering they've only scored 20 total runs, it's definitely one of those quirky, flukey things you see the first few weeks of the season. Still, something Toronto hurlers should be looking to erase like the memory of a bad environmental science exam.
Anyhow, this looks like a good series for McGowan and Morrow to get on track and for the bats to wake up a bit. Let's hope so because the schedule isn't going to get any easier after this.