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Game 122 Preview: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox

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The Astros head east on the first of three series on the road.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (50-71) at Boston Red Sox (54-65), 6:10 p.m. (CST)

TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Red Sox SBNation Blog:Over the Monster

Pitching matchup

RHP Scott Feldman (6-8, 4.14 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) vs. RHP Allen Webster (2-1, 4.91 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)

Preview

Welcome to another installment of the Jeff Bagwell memorial classic, between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. How much a difference one season makes for the Red Sox. In less than one season they go from the top of the mountain to only four games ahead of the Astros. The Red Sox are sitting in last place in the division at the trade deadline, and decided to burn the remaining chances for a playoff run to build for next year. Red Sox traded John Lackey Jon Lester and everyone else that wasn't nailed down for actual major league players not prospects. Boston brought up the question if the new market nificance was finished products as they brought back Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, and Joe Kelly.

Fast forward 14 days post trade deadline and Craig is on the disabled list. Cespedes may have been close to joining him, as he left yesterday's game early with a bruised hand. The Red Sox have only one starter, Clay Buchholz, remaining from the Opening Day rotation.

The Red Sox lineup is a mix of old faces and a youth movement. Dustin Pedroia has looked like his old self in his last 23 at-bats, batting .348 with two stolen bases. Mike Napoli (.158) and David Ortiz (.133) are slumping at bit over the team's last six games. The new kids, Xander Bogaerts (.226 in last 84 at-bats) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (.145 in 62 at-bats), bats haven't come around yet. But, the future is once again bright for the Red Sox with these prospects - which makes them a step closer to the Astros in a way.

Scott Feldman will attempt to tame this Red Sox roster tonight in game one at Fenway. Feldman has been lights-out in his last three starts, allowing just five runs over his last 22.1 innings. Feldman has a slightly lower ERA on the road, 3.75 compared to 4.38 at home. The last time the Red Sox faced Feldman, they worked his pitch count early and pounced on him earlier this season. He arguably his worst outing of the year - allowing seven runs on 11 hits over 5.1 innings on July 11.

As a result of that thumping, there many Red Sox hitter with a positive track record against Feldman. Mike Napoli and David Ortiz each two home runs and seven RBIs in their careers against Feldman. Running down the rest of tonight's lineup - Brock Holt is 2-for-3 with two extra base hits, Cespedes is 3-for-8 with two doubles, Will Middlebrooks is 1-for-4 with a double, Daniel Nava is 4-for-8 with a home run, and Christian Vazquez is 3-for-3 with two doubles.

For the Red Sox, Allen Webster makes his fourth start of the 2014 season and 11 career start. He had his best outing of 2014 in his last outing, allowing two runs over 6.2 innings against the Angels. Opponents are batting .184 this season over his three starts. The only Astros will previous experience against is on a rehab assignment, Jesus Guzman.

Series Prediction

I missed for the first time in a while with the Twins taking the series in Houston. The Astros split the four-game series in Boston. Jose Altuve steals more bases than Dustin Pedroia. Chris Carter puts one on Yawkey Way.