Sports

Astros Believe They Can Contend

By ROBERT HENSLEE
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(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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The Astros, to a man, believe they can still be a contender this season.  Despite an NL-worst 18-30 record, they see 114 games remaining and a playoff spot still within reach.  In order to get there though, the Astros are likely going to need to run off several long winning streaks.  They’re hoping Monday’s exciting come-from-behind win over the Dodgers is the start of something big.

The Astros rallied with three runs in the 9th inning to beat the Dodgers 4-3, giving them three wins in their last four games.  If they win again on Tuesday, it will match their season-best three game winning streak.

J.A. Happ (3-5, 5.30 ERA) is hoping to deliver his fourth consecutive quality start as he starts the middle game of the series.  Happ has made strides after starting the season with a 1-4 record and a 6.35 ERA in April.  But he hasn’t found the same success he had after joining the Astros last summer, as he posted a 3.75 ERA over 13 starts with Houston in 2010.

The Astros hitters will be facing Chad Billingsley (2-4, 3.47 ERA).  The Dodgers 26-year-old righthander has been as effective as ever, but has received little run support lately.  Billingsley has posted a 2.25 ERA in May, but is 0-3 in four starts this month as the Dodgers have only scored two runs for him.  He is looking for his first win since April 22.

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