RED SOX @ ASTROS
June 16-18, 2017
It’s time for another series preview which, given recent history, means that the pitching matchups outlined below will certainly be obsolete by first pitch tonight.
What happened in the last series?
The Red Sox (37-29) come to Houston on top of the AL Wild Card standings and have won five of their last seven, winning a three-game series against the Tigers and a four-game series against the Phillies. Much like the Astros, the Sox have been dealing with pitching injuries lately, as three of their 2017 starters (Brian Johnson, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright) are on the DL, and that’s after losing Roenis Elias and Tyler Thornburg before Opening Day. They have Chris Sale, of course, but the Astros managed to dodge him for this series (at the time of this writing, at least).
The Astros (45-22) avoided a sweep at the hands of the Rangers and finally got an off-day to rest their arms. Some significant innings from the rotation would be nice for the next 10-game stretch.
Friday, June 16 – 7:10pm CDT
Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.48) vs. Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.29)
Pomeranz has had his ups and downs this season, and in eight of his twelve starts he has failed to complete six innings (of those eight, he’s only made it to the 6th inning twice). He’s prone to giving up crooked numbers every now and then (he just allowed five earned runs to the Tigers), but he’s largely been effective at holding the score down, just not pitching very economically. The Astros have not faced him since 2015, when he pitched in seven games (three starts) as a member of the A’s. As a reliever he had a 0 ERA and a 1.333 WHIP against the Astros; as a starter he had a 5.02 ERA and 1.605 WHIP.
Let’s hear it for Fiers, huh? Three straight effective starts, three straight wins, and he’s brought his ERA down by nearly a whole run in less than a month. The Red Sox offense does present some danger, although Fiers did decently in limited work against Boston last year. Their lineup bats only .250/.313/.295 against him.
Saturday, June 17 – 7:15pm CDT
Rick Porcello (3-8, 4.67) vs. David Paulino (0-0, 6.59)
Porcello lets a lot of guys on base – his 1.51 WHIP is 14th-worst in MLB. That often comes in the form of hits, with four double-digit hit games this season. He tempers the hits with low walks, a good number of strikeouts (his 82 K’s are 17th-best in MLB) and eating innings like a pro (in 14 starts, only once has he failed to complete six innings). He’s coming off two straight games of allowing five earned runs to the Yankees (excusable) and Phillies (whaaaa?). The Astros have not faced Porcello since 2014 when he was with the Tigers, so many sample sizes against him are small. Of the ones that aren’t, Beltran is 9×25, McCann is 5×21, and Aoki
shouldn’t be playing on Saturday is 1×15.
Paulino got punished in an all-around crappy game against the Angels, not factoring into the 12-6 loss despite giving up five runs in just four innings. He has never pitched against the Red Sox.
Sunday, June 18 – 7pm
David Price (1-1, 5.09) vs. Joe Musgrove (4-5, 4.81)
The Astros’ second appearance on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball this year. What ever would we poor Astros fans do to get primetime national exposure without the Yankees and Red Sox?? OWA’s thank-you card is already in the mail.
There has been much consternation about David Price’s injury-delayed start to the season and then his 5.09 ERA after four starts. A closer look will show that he’s pitched two quality starts and gave up a crapload of runs to the Yankees (who hasn’t? I mean, except for Keuchel and McCullers). Goes to show that the east coast sports media often blows things out of proportion, while simultaneously making ridiculous claims like ESPN’s David Schoenfeld saying the Astros “have no weaknesses” a couple weeks ago. Yeah, most on this site weren’t even saying that. Anyway, Price pitched a good game against Houston in 2016 (6.2 IP, 1 ER, 12 K), and another solid outing as a Tiger in 2015 (6.2 IP, 2 ER, 12 K). Expect to see McCann in the lineup on Sunday; he has a 1.029 OPS against Price in 29 AB.
Musgrove made a decent showing in Arlington coming off the DL, lasting only 4.2 innings but allowing just two runs and getting no run support whatsoever. Like Paulino, this will also be his first start against the Sawks.