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Astros: Previewing the Red Sox series with Buster Olney

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Jun 14, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrates with catcher Brian McCann (16) after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrates with catcher Brian McCann (16) after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Setting the stage for the epic showdown between the Astros and Red Sox this weekend at Minute Maid Park with ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Jun 14, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrates with catcher Brian McCann (16) after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrates with catcher Brian McCann (16) after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

With the emergence of Derek Fisher and Francis Martes, the sky is not falling for Astros fans. The Astros have the biggest lead in their division among the American League teams but struggled recently. Good teams are going to hit a slump every once in a while. Even the 2016 Cubs went 5-12 at one point.

The Astros salvaged one game versus the Rangers who feasted on the Astros top three pitchers being on the DL. Maybe make that top four pitchers with Collin McHugh sidelined. Admit it, if you were told the Astros rotation would be without Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, you would think they were in last place.

Instead, the Astros are 45-22, 11.5 games ahead of the Angels in the AL West. While the pitching stats is near the top of the league, the offense has been a significant factor of the Astros winning. The Rangers won 2-3 games this week from the Astros but are still 12 games above them.

With such a big league, the team picked the right time for the injuries. Not that it’s ever good to have injuries, but they have a big enough lead to withstand. However, they face a tough playoff caliber team in the Boston Red Sox this weekend. While the Yankees rule the AL East, the Red Sox are sitting pretty in the first Wild Card slot.

The Red Sox 37-22 record would be good enough for the AL Central, just not good enough for the AL East. While the All-Star break is a few weeks away, this matchup this weekend could have playoff implications.

Which is why MLB and ESPN flexed the Astros versus Red Sox game to be the Sunday Night Baseball game of the week. The game will now start at 7:05 PM CST. It’s not Keuchel or McCullers on the mound. It will be Joe Musgrove.

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