The Atlanta Braves desperately need to put together a winning streak in order to keep their faint postseason hopes alive. Facing Houston’s Wandy Rodriguez(notes) in his home park likely won’t make starting one very easy.
Trying for a second straight victory, the Braves look to prevent Rodriguez from winning a sixth consecutive start at home when the teams continue their series Wednesday night.
Atlanta (71-67) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 win at Houston on Tuesday. Though the Braves were able to end that skid, they are 7 1/2 games behind wild-card leader Colorado, and eight back of first-place Philadelphia in the NL East.
LaRoche is batting .339 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 34 games since being acquired in a trade with Boston. He’s 6 for 15 lifetime against Rodriguez (13-9, 2.82 ERA), who hasn’t lost at Minute Maid Park since June 4, against Colorado.
The left-hander snapped a two-game losing streak after allowing seven hits and striking out seven in seven innings of a 7-0 win over Philadelphia on Friday. Rodriguez is 8-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 13 home starts and has given up one earned run while striking out 33 in 38 innings to win his last five there.
“With Wandy taking the mound every day, we feel like we’re in good shape, especially at home,” outfielder Hunter Pence(notes) told the Astros’ official Web site. “He’s been outstanding all year for us.”
Pence went 2 for 4 with an RBI on Tuesday for Houston (67-71), which was coming off a four-game sweep of the Phillies, but had seven hits and struck out nine times.
“We just couldn’t get the big hit,” Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. “It’s tough to put anything together when you’re not putting the ball in play.”
Hanson allowed one run and two hits while walking four in five innings, but didn’t receive a decision after the Braves bullpen couldn’t hold a two-run lead in an 8-3 loss at Florida on Thursday.
The right-hander is making his first start against the Astros, who look to bounce back from their second loss in 10 home games.