Boston at Houston , 7:10 pm (CT)
Astros took game one from Boston, despite a young pitcher making his first start and bullpen that keeps no lead safe. The only explanation for this even is 'that's baseball', that's baseball in a nut shell. If you wait long enough you're bound to find that anything is possible when the two teams cross the white lines.
The Astros hope to build upon their success with veteran (for this team at least) Jordan Lyles on the mound tonight. Lyles has had a rough go as of late on the mound - 0-2 with a 8.18 ERA over his last four starts. Looking over Lyles' outings this season at the Juice Box, he has held teams to three runs over less in six of his nine starts. In those three terrible starts of four runs or more, he has given up 21 runs. Think about that, Lyles has given up 21 of 31 earned runs at home in three starts.
Brock Holt is getting the start at third today. It may have something to do with the fact the is 3-for-3 of Lyles with a double in his career. Stephen Drew (1-5) and Jacoby Ellsbury (1-3) each have a single of the Astros right-hander lifetime. Drew remains hot with a double against Oberholtzer in yesterday's game. Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino are hitless against Lyles in their careers, but Pedroia has accounted for two walks. The Red Sox second baseman may have ended his slump with a 2-for-4 outing yesterday.
On the mound today is Stephen Wright, making his first major league start tonight. A new pitcher with a knuckleball, sounds like a chance for the Astros make another Cy-Young for a night. Well, I guess R.A. Dickey or Tim Wakefield would be a more appropriate reference. Wright had a 5-6 record over 19 starts in AAA Pawtucket this season with a 3.89 ERA. He has made three relief appearances with Boston this season. In his first, he gave up five earned runs over 3.2 innings against Oakland. Since then he's had 8.2 scoreless innings - including 5.2 innings in Seattle.
Since the Astros have no previous experience against Wright, let's talk more about the knuckleball at Minute Maid Park. The knuckler is about deadening the spin of the ball, and letting it flutter. Thus I tend to believe that even a strong breeze can effect a knuckleball. Of course, at Minute Maid there is no breeze with the roof closed. Thus begging the question, will this help to keep Wright's pitches in the zone? Or, will it create a less lively knuckleball? R.A. Dickey in three starts (19.2 innings) at the Juice Box has a 0-1 record with a 5.03 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 4 walks. Of course, not every knuckleballer is the same, but you have to start somewhere.
L.J. Hoes is one again in the lineup after going 2-for-3 with a double last night. Marc Krauss steps in at designed hitter, Krauss is batting .214 with tow home runs and five runs batted over his last ten games.