PHILADELPHIA -- The decision to start rookie Marwin Gonzalez on Tuesday afternoon against Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee was made several days before the Astros arrived in Philadelphia.
It had nothing to do with the weather, which played havoc on Houston's decision on a starting pitcher. Nor did it have to do with the fact that Gonzalez pinch-hit his first Major League home run off Phillies starter Joe Blanton in Monday night's 5-1 loss.
It had everything to do with usual starting shortstop Jed Lowrie, who manager Brad Mills said needs to get a day off every now and again. Lowrie, who played a career-high 88 games with Boston in 2011, is coming off shoulder and wrist injuries. Lowrie has played in 28 of the Astros' 35 games, and he has hit just .227 against lefties this year.
"You can look it up. I'm sure he's played in this many consecutive games before," Mills said. "But we want to be careful. I like that he wants to play every day. I like that he's a workhorse, but we also have to be smart."