Tops Drop @ Sweet Caroline
May 12-15, 2016
Thursday, May 12 – 6:10pm CDT
Dallas Keuchel (2-4, 4.70) vs. David Price (4-1, 6.75)
After three straight poor starts, Keuchel saw a nice return to form against a Mariners lineup that has given Astros pitching fits. Although it wasn’t enough to get the team a win, he lasted seven innings, only gave up two runs, and fanned eight. Keuchel has only pitched at Fenway once, resulting in a quality start in 2014, and his only other appearance against the Red Sox was in 2013 when he gave up four runs in less than an inning. As such, Red Sox hitters have pretty small sample sizes against modern-day Dallas Keuchel.
It seems unfair that Astros starters’ ERAs have been falling without them picking up W’s, while Price has that kind of record with that ERA. He’s had a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde routine going, alternating between quality starts and giving up lots of runs. Of course, the Sox score runs in droves and the run support has certainly shown up for Price, averaging 6.5 runs per game and bailing him out of some of his bad starts. He historically did well against the Astros when he was with Detroit, and last year took a no-decision in a quality start that the Tigers would end up winning. Of all currently active Houston players, your career OPS leader against Price is… Erik Kratz. /signoftheapocalypse
Friday, May 13 – 6:10pm CDT
Lance McCullers (2015: 6-7, 3.22) vs. Steven Wright (3-3, 1.52)
He’s back. McCullers pitched five scoreless innings in a rehab start last weekend, allowing two hits, two walks, and fanning seven. He only threw 64 pitches so I expect that he will not be allowed to throw a ton in his first start back; here’s hoping Keuchel can help the bullpen get some rest after throwing nine innings on Wednesday. McCullers faced the Red Sox twice last July, each time going five innings and allowing two runs or less.
Wright’s next bad game will be his first: since the Astros last saw him he’s racked up three quality starts in as many appearances, and is coming off a complete game one-run effort against the Yankees. He got away with walking five Astro batters in their matchup in April and ended up with a pretty effective performance that lasted into the 7th inning.
Saturday, May 14 – 12:05pm CDT
Collin McHugh (4-3, 5.50) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-3, 5.90)
In order to make room for McCullers in the rotation, McHugh’s start has been pushed back to Saturday and Mike Fiers will be available from the bullpen Saturday and Sunday. Kind of sucks for Fiers who just pitched his best game of the season, but the rotation has shored up pretty well recently and someone has to draw the short straw. McHugh has improved quite a bit since getting slapped around by Boston, winning three straight starts and shrinking his ERA by two full runs. He lasted seven innings against the Mariners and only gave up one run while inducing twelve groundball outs.
Except for some inevitable strikeouts, the Astros didn’t have much trouble with Buchholz, and he’s remained inconsistent since then. He gave up five runs against the Braves and 12.5% of their wins are now directly attributable to them. He then pitched a quality start against the White Sox, and labored through five innings against the A’s and actually thought he was getting traded. Oh, and he got the win because the Red Sox won that game 14-7. You know, no big deal.
Sunday, May 15 – 12:35pm CDT
Chris Devenski (0-2, 1.72) vs. TBA; probably Sean O’Sullivan (1-0, 6.43)
What, ESPN, no Sunday Night Baseball because Boston? And this week they’re not even giving the Yankees the time of day either. I expected better different.
I didn’t realize this until just now, but Devenski has yet to pitch in a game the Astros have won. Go look it up: in addition to the team getting shutout in two of his starts, they didn’t win a single damn game where he pitched (usually very effectively) in relief. Can we get him some fucking run support already?
Fortunately this may be the right time for it. Injuries in the Red Sox rotation prompted the team to start the portly O’Sullivan on Tuesday, and although no clear determination has been made at the time of this writing, he’ll be in line for Sunday if the schedule holds up. O’Sullivan is one of the newest additions to the Sox and will be making his second start of the season. By and large (pun intended) he has gotten torched at every stop in his career and had a 16:35 HR:K ratio in Philly last season. In his first start he gave up a whopping (pun intended) twelve hits in six innings while allowing four runs. Oh, and he got the win because the Red Sox won that game 13-5. You know, no big deal.