|Photo courtesy of the Houston Astros|
Losing to the last-place team is never a good thing. But when you’re the best team in the league, it’s unacceptable. John Lackey pitched another solid outing but was unaided by the Red Sox offense – again – in a 2-0 loss to the Astros. The win was Houston’s 37th of the season, still four less than the second-worst team in baseball (Chicago – 41 wins).
If Boston (68-46) wants to avoid losing a series to Houston (37-74), it will need to win each of the next two games, beginning tonight when knuckleballer Steven Wright makes his first Major League start. Wright is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA for the Red Sox this season and has thrown 8.2 scoreless innings in his last two relief appearances, both in which he earned a win.
Here is the lineup tonight for the Red Sox (first pitch – 8:05 pm EDT):
1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Carp, LF
7. Drew, SS
8. Lavarnway, C
9. Holt, 3B
Houston will start Jordan Lyles on the mound. Lyles is 4-5 with a 4.91 ERA but has not won a game since June 18, going 0-4 over his last seven starts and allowed 31 earned runs during that span.
Rocky start to road trip
Not only did the Red Sox lose to the Astros in the series opener, they did so in embarrassing fashion. The Red Sox had five hits in the game against rookie Brett Oberholtzer. Lackey pitched well enough to earn a win on most nights, striking out 10 batters in six innings. Lackey rolled his ankle fielding a ball and throwing to first, but was able to pitch without any indications of a further injury. The Red Sox allowed a run to score on a suicide squeeze in the seventh inning off Junichi Tazawa. The team that lost Monday night certainly did not look like the team that is the AL’s best.
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