Tonight the Astros start a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox. Let’s hope last night’s blowout at the hands of the Cardinals isn’t a sign of things to come. The Astros have been terrible on the road and will be observing American League rules against a first place White Sox team. Tonight’s Astros lineup features J.D. Martinez as the DH, batting cleanup. I find it interesting that Fernando Martinez isn’t in the lineup, especially since Brad Mills said “we didn’t call him up to sit on the bench.” J.D. may be the DH of the future, but Fernando should be the DH right now.
Altuve, Schafer, and Lowrie are at the top of tonight’s order. Altuve is one of the hottest hitters in baseball but had a rough night last night. Schafer is striking out a ton, and Lowrie has been the best power hitter on the team. As I’ve stated before, I like Jed in the #3 spot. J.D. has had his ups and downs but has driven in a team high 32 runs this season.
Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson occupy the 5 & 6 spots tonight. Wallace looks good since being called up. He is 6 for 14 in his first four games with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. Johnson has shown better plate discipline in recent games, with six hits and five walks in his last five games.
Castro, Maxwell, and Bogusevic round out the order. Castro has eight hits in his last 14 at-bats. Maxwell has shown good power, and Bogusevic is apparently feeling no ill-effects from last night’s stint on the mound.
Wandy Rodriguez gets the assignment tonight against Gavin Floyd. The White Sox currently lead the A.L. Central by a game and a half over Cleveland. Paul Konerko is having an MVP type season. The big first-baseman carries a .371/.451/.618 slash line into tonight’s action. He has 11 homers and 33 RBIs on the year. A.J. Pierzynski has been a steady contributor as well. His 10 HR & 37 RBI could earn him a trip to Kansas City for this year’s All-Star Game. Young outfielders Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo have also been key components in the Sox recent surge to the top of the division.
A healthy Jake Peavy (6-1, 3.05 ERA) and lefty Chris Sale (7-2, 2.30 ERA) anchor a solid rotation that also includes Philip Humber and John Danks. Rookie manager Robin Ventura has done a good job with a team that had low expectations entering into the season. Addison Reed and Nate Jones have emerged as leaders in a strong bullpen for the south-siders.
Brent Morel and Alexei Ramirez have struggled offensively but Adam Dunn is making a bid to be comeback player of the year. Yesterday newly acquired Orlando Hudson was the hero. Hudson, who was claimed off waivers from the Padres, hit a walk-off single to oust the Blue Jays.