The Houston Astros head to the South side of Chicago today to take on the Chicago White Sox in interleague play. This is a trip that will become ridiculously familiar in coming years, but for now is still a novelty.
After finishing a long and comically bad loss to the Cardinals at Minute Maid Park in which we saw David Carpenter get his first major league hit and Brian Bogusevic get his first relief pitching appearance in the majors, the Astros will be looking to settle into some normalcy and one again find the magic they’ve been chasing on the road.
Friday, June 8, 2012: Wandy Rodriguez (4-4, 3.14 ERA) v Gavin Floyd (4-5, 5.32 ERA) – Wandy’s had a rough few starts, giving up nine hits and nine runs alone in the Astros game against the Reds last Saturday. He’ll be looking to prove he can bounce back while in Chicago, despite the road woes the team’s been facing. Floyd is in a similar position after allowing four homers in the first four innings of his start last Saturday. Both pitchers will have something to prove which should make for some pretty terrific baseball.
Saturday, June 9, 2012: Jordan Lyles (1-1, 4.97 ERA) v Chris Sale (7-2, 2.30) – This will be a straight up experience versus inexperience matchup of the young guns. Sale is coming off his first complete win that led the Sox to a series win over the Mariners. Meanwhile, Lyles broke the losing streak for the Astros last Sunday in his first win of the season against the Reds. This will be a contest against himself for Jordan Lyles to see if the kid can keep his wits about him on the road against another young pitcher who has more time under his belt.
Sunday, June 10, 2012: Lucas Harrell (5-4, 4.70 ERA) v Philip Humber (2-3, 5.68 ERA) – Harrell will be facing the team that drafted him for the first time in his start against the White Sox. The club drafted Harrell in the 4th round of the 2004 draft. The Astros claimed Harrell off waivers last year. In his last start he led the team to win at home against the Cardinals. Humber, on the other hand, struggled in his last start, throwing a whopping 37 pitches in the first inning alone. If Harrell can be consistent, and the offense can give him some run support, he has the chance to prove to the White Sox just what a talent they gave up.
While playing in interleague play, Carlos Lee is usually slotted as the Astros DH, however, with him on the DL with a hamstring injury, Mills has speculated he will use J.D. Martinez as the DH. Meanwhile, Jordan Schafer has returned to the Houston lineup after illness and struggled at the plate last night, but is hopefully feeling better for the road trip.