HOUSTON By simply stalling Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp from his frightening tear through the National League, Astros right-hander Wandy Rodriguez warranted any number of backslaps and handshakes.
The seven shutout innings Rodriguez tossed on Sunday were gratuitous.
Rodriguez insisted that nothing has changed beyond his assuming the title of staff ace. His simplified approach to pitching remains unaltered by the increased responsibility. These results are a byproduct of preparation not promotion. Either way, the Astros are most pleased.
The Astros salvaged their series finale against the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park, rolling to a 12-0 win and supplying the marvelously effective Rodriguez 11 runs more than necessary to complement his handiwork.
After suffering a loss in Washington last Tuesday despite surrendering just one run on five hits over seven innings, Rodriguez (1-2) eliminated that margin for error. He allowed six base runners, only two of which advance into scoring ...