Series Preview: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox, July 3-5, 2015
The Astros head to Boston for the 4th of July weekend. I would suspect these two teams would have expected to have their scripts flipped at the start of the season. Red Sox reloaded their roster this offseason, and looked to make it work on the pitching side in hopes of making another World Series run. Instead, Boston currently sits at 37-44 -- in last place in the American League East.
Houston on the other hands is coming on a high, having swept the American League Champion Royals. The Astros are atop the American League West standing at 47-34, five games ahead of the next team.
The Red Sox are 6-4 in their last ten games and they took three of four from the Blue Jays this week.
Game 1 - RHP Dan Straily (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (3-2, 5.58 ERA, 1.59 WHIP)
Game 2 - RHP Collin McHugh (9-3, 4.51 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (4-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
Game 3 - RHP Lance McCullers (4-2, 2.19 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.92 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
Dan Straily his making his Astros debut tonight, after being traded from the Cubs this offseason. Straily has a 6-6 record with a 4.06 ERA for Triple-A Fresno. Over this last three starts, he has allowed just four earned runs over his last 19 innings. Justin Masterson counters Straily in game one. Masterson is making his second start since coming off the disabled list. He has struggled at home in 2015, allowing 14 earned runs over 20 innings.
It's the battle of two curveball pitchers in game two, Collin McHugh vs. Clay Buchholz. McHugh has found his form again, going on a three-game winning streak. He has allowed just three earned runs over his last 16 innings in two starts. Buchholz has been lights out in the month of June, posting a 2.21 ERA in six starts.
The places the Astros will go if Lance McCullers can pitch like this for the rest of the season. He has allowed one run or less in six of his nine starts thus far in the majors. McCullers has given up just two runs over his last 13 innings. A fellow rookie starts for the Red Sox, Eduardo Rodriguez. He has had a problem tipping pitches but he appears to have corrected the issue. He allowed just one run against the high-powered Blue Jays offense in his last start in six innings.
Jose Altuve has been doing everything he can to show he is All-Star worthy and back to 100% health after a hamstring injury. Altuve is batting .381 in his last 21 at-bats with three extra-base hits, four RBIs, five runs scored, and three stolen bases. The other two Astros batting over .300 in the team's last six games are Evan Gattis and Carlos Correa. Gattis is batting .333 with two triples and four RBIs. Correa is batting .300 with three doubles, a home run, and three RBIs.
The Astros will have to find a way to replace George Springer. Springer had been batting at the top of the lineup before being put on the disabled list. Altuve will more then likely bat leadoff, but Springer's presentence will be sourly missed in the outfield as Colby Rasmus and Jake Marisnick are also out. Ramsus will hopefully back soon from a bug/spider bite.
Alejandro De Aza has been hot for the Red Sox this past week. After being cut by the White Sox and Orioles, De Aza hopes to find a home in Boston -- his is batting .462 (12x26) in his last 26 at-bats with seven extra-base hits and eight RBIs in the Red Sox last seven games.
Young bucks Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, and Mookie Betts are all batting over .300 in the team's last seven games.
My brain says the Astros alway seem to stink up the joint in Boston, but this season has been full of change. The Astros take two of three from Boston.