These days, the once-proud Houston Astros are more like a Triple-A minor league franchise than a bona fide big-league team.
So when the `Stros came to town over the weekend, it was welcome news for the up-and-down Arizona Diamondbacks, who are (or should be) in desperation mode now as the dog days of August loom.
The results? Great for the locals, a three-game sweep and a butt-kicking (33-13 overall score) at that.
Yesterday's 8-2 thumping had similarities to the previous two games--timely extra-base hits by the home team, decent starting pitching, and good at-bats from the top to bottom of the lineup.
Jason Kubel continues to show why D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson was so pleased when team owners signed the hard-nosed outfielder during the off-season. He excels at every phase of the game, and his four home runs over the weekend--three on Saturday night--made him Arizona's MVP for the series.
Kubel's stats for the year include 21 homers and 71 RBI's, with the season just a bit more than half-completed.
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Josh Collmenter, the pitcher who lost his role in the starting rotation after a terrible start to the 2012 season, was outstanding. He's really spotting his pitches now, and not trying to overpower hitters, which he generally can't. Collmenter hasn't given up more than two runs in any of his last six starts, a remarkable run.
Even with the Houston sweep, Arizona remains one game under .500, and six games behind the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants.
The upcoming three-game series in Chase Field against last place Colorado, a team almost as bad this season as Houston, provides another great opportunity for the D-Backs to get back into the hunt, especially with two wild-card berths this season, one more than in previous years.
Ian Kennedy, a disappointment this season, gets the start for the Diamondbacks tonight at 6:40 p.m. The game will be televised on FSAZ, and will air, as always on 620 AM.