Houston (21-25) at Arizona (25-23)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 52° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Thu May 24, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Scoring hasn’t been easy for both Arizona and Houston lately. At least the Diamondbacks might be getting some help.

Arizona is expected to have Chris Young back in the lineup when it opens a four-game series with the Astros on Thursday night.

The Diamondbacks (25-23) lost the final two games of a three-game series with Colorado, dropping the finale 2-0 on Wednesday night after losing 3-1 the previous day. The Diamondbacks were a combined 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in those final two games.

Young, tied for second on the team with six home runs, could be a factor as he likely will play for the first time since leaving Friday’s 11-5 loss to Pittsburgh with tightness in his right groin.

Young was scratched 90 minutes before game time Wednesday because the Diamondbacks wanted to give him one more day to heal.

A bright spot for Arizona in their latest loss was rookie third baseman Mark Reynolds, who went 3-for-4. He is batting .393 with a home run, two doubles, a triple and six RBIs in eight games since being called up from Double-A Mobile on May 16.

“There’s some inexperience involved, but he’s continuously playing hard and swinging the bat well, swinging the bat better than anybody we have,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said.

Reynolds has filled in for Chad Tracy, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left rib cage.

Houston (21-25) scored a total of three runs en route to being swept in a three-game set with San Francisco, losing the series finale 9-1 on Wednesday night. The Astros have dropped four in a row, and has scored two runs or less in six of its last eight games.

Houston will be facing Arizona’s Micah Owings (2-1, 4.96 ERA), who struggled in his last start. The rookie right-hander gave up a season-high seven runs and six hits in 2 2-3 innings, but the Diamondbacks rallied to beat Pittsburgh 9-8 on Saturday night.

Owings came out of the bullpen to face Houston in his previous appearance, surrendering one run and two hits in 1 2-3 innings of Arizona’s 5-2 loss on May 13.

Wandy Rodriguez (2-3, 3.99) got the win in that outing and will get the start for Houston. The left-hander has allowed one run in each of his last two starts and gave up four hits while striking out seven over six innings to beat Texas 5-1 on Saturday night.

In 49 2-3 innings, Rodriguez has struck out 47 and needs five more to pass Roy Oswalt for the team lead.

Houston is expected to have slumping slugger Lance Berkman back in the lineup after giving him a day off to rest. The first baseman is batting .265, well below his .302 career average, and has just six extra-base hits—five home runs and a double.

“I don’t feel like I’m pressing, but my swing mechanics have gone by the wayside,” he told the Astros’ official Web site. “From the very first day of spring training until right now, I have yet to step into the batter’s box and feel normal or comfortable. I don’t know why.”

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Starting Pitchers

W. Rodríguez Atl vs. M. Owings Was
9-13 Record 8-8
4.58 ERA 4.30
158 K 106
62 BB 50
1.32 WHIP 1.28


Thursday, May 24