Houston gets back in the win column

Astros get best of Bauer, Dodgers to split series

Carlos Correa hit a go-ahead homer off of Trevor Bauer Wednesday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

After a demoralizing loss in the first of this two-game set, the Astros tried to split the series on Wednesday night by getting a win over Trevor Bauer and the Dodgers. They would get the job done, ending their four-game skid and taking one of the two games in this series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Dodgers 2

Astros' Record: 27-22, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (3-3)

Losing Pitcher: Trevor Bauer (5-3)

Altuve greets Bauer with a homer, Garcia tosses an impressive start

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Trevor Bauer took the mound in the bottom of the inning for the Dodgers. He was greeted by a leadoff solo homer by Jose Altuve, giving the Astros an early 1-0 lead. Garcia held the lead until the top of the third when he would have a lengthy inning, allowing an RBI single to make it 1-1. Garcia rebounded well from that lengthy inning, retiring the next nine batters in a row to complete six quality innings. His final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR, 100 P.

Astros split the series

He would end up in line for the win, thanks to Houston's second solo home run off of Bauer, this time Carlos Correa in the bottom of the sixth to give the Astros the lead back at 2-1. Houston extended their lead in the bottom of the seventh, getting an RBI single by Altuve then a two-run homer by Aledmyz Diaz to make it 5-1.

After a 1-2-3 top of the seventh by Brooks Raley, Ryne Stanek would finish the eighth though allowed a solo homer to cut the lead to 5-2. In the top of the ninth, Bryan Abreu would attempt the save and would get it by erasing two two-out walks. The win split the two-game set with Los Angeles and improved them to one game back of the A's for the AL West lead.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off on Thursday, then will continue this homestand with the first of three games against the San Diego Padres on Friday at 7:10 PM Central. Framber Valdez will make his 2021 debut after starting the season injured, while the Padres are expected to start Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 1.64 ERA).

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Jeremy Pena could have some big shoes to fill. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images.

MLB and the MLBPA are embroiled in yet another labor dispute. The owners and players have both dug in their heels and refuse to budge. No end is in site for the lockout as Spring Training is drawing more and more near each passing day. So what does that mean for our 2022 Astros' season?

One sigh of relief came when Justin Verlander signed his new deal. Two years for $50 million dollars isn't bad at all. Factor in he's closer to my age than my son (coming off Tommy John surgery), and some may worry. Not me. He's the closest thing to Tom Brady MLB has seen since Nolan Ryan. Jim Crane and James Click did a great job bringing him back. His spot as the ace with the rest of the staff they have should help shore up the bullpen if one or two starters can make that transition. I know I said I didn't want him back a few months ago, but time has passed, and wounds have been healed.

When it comes to Carlos Correa, I'm growing more and more comfortable with the thought that he may not be back. I talked about his potential replacement months ago. Maybe the reason being is that the club loves Jeremy Peña at that same position, and Pedro Leon could also factor in. Plus, Peña is tearing the cover off the ball in the winter leagues.

At 24 years old, turning 25 in September, he'll be under team control for the foreseeable future. That truly depends on the new labor agreement. So does Correa's new contract. His contract will be largely based on the parameters set in the new labor agreement, since he didn't sign before the lockout took place. And now we know that contact will be negotiated by Correa's new agent, Scott Boras.

I'm all for the doom and gloom when it comes to an MLB labor issue because they've historically screwed over fans. The most notable and egregious was the '94 World Series being canceled. However, there's way too much money at stake right now. More money than ever to be exact. That said, it's precisely why there's a dispute. That, and the fact that the owners have always gotten over on fans and players, and the players are poised to get their just due.

When the season starts, the Astros should be contenders yet again. Don't look for them to come out the gate firing on all cylinders as this team may look a bit different. Guys may not be fully ready after a lockout and there will be some roster turnover. The bulk of the core will be here, ready, and healthy. Whether Correa is a part of that group remains to be seen. Am I concerned? Hell no! This team has enough to fill that void at least partially and will have either guy under team control for a while. Think about this upcoming season as the time you fixed up your older car. New tires, headlights restored, rims polished, inside made over, and a fresh coat of paint after the transmission rebuild. It still has over 150,000 miles on it, but you wouldn't trade it in for anything because it still runs well and has sentimental value. You know one day it'll give out and need to be put out to pasture, but you're holding on and riding until the wheels fall off. Enjoy Astro fans, because the ride will be over one day. Hopefully much later than sooner.

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