Harrell vs. Humber to decide series


The Astros and White Sox have each tallied a lopsided victory in the first two games of their interleague series in Chicago. The pitching matchup in today’s deciding game is an interesting one for a number of reasons. But first let’s take a quick look at how we got here.

Brett Wallace and Jed Lowrie staked Wandy Rodriguez to an early lead in Friday’s game with a couple of longballs. The Sox battled back, knocking Wandy out of the game with one out in the sixth. Wilton Lopez and the regulators shut down the Sox bats for the rest of the night and Brian Bogusevic sealed the deal with a 3-run bomb in the ninth. Astros 8 White Sox 3

Saturday the Astros placed DH candidate Fernando Martinez on the disabled list with post-concussion syndrome and recalled Matt Downs. But it wouldn’t have mattered who the Astros had hitting for the pitcher against Chris Sale the way the Sox young lefty was throwing. Sale shut down the Astros offense for eight innings, allowing only four singles. Only one Astros base-runner advanced as far as second base while Sale was in the game. Jordan Lyles matched Sale pitch for pitch until the fifth inning. In that frame a couple of throwing errors opened the flood gates and the Sox scored five times. Adam Dunn added a grand slam off Rhiner Cruz in the eighth and the route was officially on. The only bright spot for Houston was Jed Lowrie’s ninth inning homer. It was the third consecutive game with a homerun for Lowrie. White Sox 10 Astros 1

Now that you’re all caught up, back to today’s intriguing pitching matchup. Lucas Harrell makes a homecoming of sorts, facing the team that drafted him and brought him to the big leagues. Philip Humber played his college ball in Houston, leading Rice University to a national championship back in 2003. Harrell has never faced the White Sox and Humber has never opposed the Astros.

Harrell (5-4, 4.70 ERA) has won three of his last four starts. With the exception of a nightmare outing in Colorado, Harrell has been consistently effective over the last month or so. Lucas has an outstanding groundball to flyball ratio which bodes well against a powerful White Sox team. Harrell is seeking his second road win of the season and the Astros hope to get their first road series victory.

Philip Humber authored a perfect game in Seattle on April 21 but has struggled ever since. Humber didn’t win again until May 29 and followed up that outing with another loss giving him a 2-3 record and a 5.68 ERA for the year. Humber hasn’t won at home in almost a full calendar year. He is 0-6 in 13 starts at Mobile Phone Park since beating Oakland on June 12, 2011.

Humber can’t win at home and the Astros can’t win on the road. Something’s gotta give! It will be interesting to see who is able to rise to the occasion and buck the trend. Let’s go ‘Stros!