Series Preview: Astros vs. Red Sox

The Astros face a hot Red Sox team this weekend in one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the season.

As the Astros continue to navigate through pitching injuries, a potent Red Sox lineup comes to town in what should be an interesting matchup between two of the American League's best teams.

The Red Sox come in with a 37-29 record, third best in the American League and second in the ultra-competitive AL East. 

Two of the three games this weekend will be featured on national television-- Saturday night on Fox and Sunday night on ESPN.

Will the Astros maintain their comfortable lead as the best team in baseball? Or will the Red Sox bats be overcome our shaky rotation? Let's take a look at the matchups:

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 6.48) v. Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.29)

Pomeranz strung together three solid starts before allowing 6 runs on 8 hits Sunday against the Tigers. He's basically a two pitch guy, a four-seam fastball and knuckle curve. He's been weirdly ineffective against left handed hitters, as they are batting .400 against him so far this season.

Mike Fiers--aka Mikey Flames--is coming off his best start of the season, allowing one unearned run in 7.1 strong innings against the Angels.

He's 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts. If he can sustain that level of production, he will find himself playing an integral role down the stretch and possibly into the playoffs.

Game 2: Rick Porcello (3-8, 4.67) v. David Paulino (0-0, 6.59)

Porcello has really struggled in his last two starts, allowing 10 ER in 12.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .310 against him, fourth highest average amongst American League starters\

Paulino has yet to really gain traction this season, going 0-1 with a 5.53 ERA in six starts between AAA and the majors. He's allowed a home run in each of his big league starts this season, each the result of a poorly located fastball. He must avoid the middle of the plate to find success this weekend.

Game 3: David Price (1-1, 5.09) v. Joe Musgrove (4-5, 4.81)

Price has started only four games this year since coming off the disabled list. He's shown flashes of brilliance on the road, allowing 1 ER in 7 innings June 3rd in Baltimore, but also signs of vulnerability, allowing 6 ER in 5 innings June 8th in New York.

Musgrove was mediocre in his return from the DL last week, allowing two runs in 4.2 innings against the Rangers. Hinch had him working on a limited pitch count, as he threw only 75 pitches. It will be interesting to see how Hinch handles him this week, as the Astros can't afford another tired arm.

Red Sox Offense:

Whose Hot:

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley Jr. is leading the team with a .347 average in June. He has hits in 12 of his last 14 games, including 5 multi-hit games.

Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi is leading the team with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs in June. He leads the team with 39 RBIs on the season. 

Mookie Betts

Betts has slowly propelled himself back into the MVP conversation, slashing .305/379/.525 in June. He went 4 for 5 with 2 home runs Wednesday night against the Phillies.

Betts leads the American League with a 1.31 defensive WAR. 

Whose Not:

Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval is hitting .129 in June, by far the lowest average on the team. His 9th inning strikeout with the tying runner on first ended the game last night, and fans were not happy about it.

Sandoval is on the bench tonight, and has started just 2 of the last 7 games. His playing time could be limited.

To everyone who has complained about the lack of attention from the national media-- here you go. Two nationally televised games against the most talked about team in baseball. The entire world is watching. Let's prove we're still for real. #Woke

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