The Boston Red Sox (68-46) got off to a rough start on their 10-game road trip with a loss, receiving a dismal performance from their offense despite a 10 strikeout performance from an emotional John Lackey. Tonight they will look to get on the right side of the scoreboard against a still-major league worst Houston Astros (37-74).
The Red Sox send knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-0, 3.65 ERA) to the hill in search of his third major league win. Although manager John Farrell has said that the spot start for the knuckleballer is to get an extra days rest for the rest of the rotation, this isn’t just an inning eater getting thrown a bone.
In his last two appearances, both coming against the Seattle Mariners, Wright has recorded his first two wins in the majors, only allowing 5 hits over 8.2 innings pitched. His three innings of scoreless pitching against the Mariners on August 1st allowed the Red Sox to go on to win that game in walk-off fashion, scoring an astounding seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Opposing him for the Houston Astros will be righty Jordan Lyles (4-5, 4.91) who will looking for his first win since June 18th. Lyles has been abysmal over his last three starts with a record of 0-2, an astronomical 9.82 ERA and allowing 26 hits over just 14.2 innings.
With an anemic showing from the Red Sox offense last night look for Farrell to shake up tonight’s line-up to get any advantage he can.
Likely to see action at the revolving door at third base will be Brock Holt. Holt is one of just five Red Sox hitters to have any experience with Lyles and has recorded a hit in each of his three at bats against him, including a double.
Mike Napoli could start seeing time on the bench, especially if he’s unable to pick himself up out of one of his worst slumps of the season. Over his last 10 games Napoli is batting just .135 in 44 plate appearances, recording just five hits compared to a staggering 17 strikeouts over that stretch.
If Napoli does find himself with less playing time Mike Carp would be the likeliest fit.
Despite going 1 for 11 over his last four appearances his batting average for the season still stands at .312. Prior to those last four appearances Carp had been on a tear, going 10 for 22 with three doubles and three RBI from July 8th to July 27th.