THE FIELD … ON THE FIELD … ON THE FIELD by Brandon C. Williams
Rookie David Paulino makes his first home start as an Astro when he takes the mound in the series finale against Los Angeles Angels beginning at 1:10pm. The appearance may be the last for Paulino, who has a 4.66 ERA in three games since being called up near the end of last month, as Joe Musgrove is slated to return from the disabled list no later than Monday and will go back to his role in the starting rotation. Paulino will head back to Triple-A in order to allow the top-end prospect time to continue developing as a potential staff ace.The Angels will counter with Jesse Chavez, who earned his fifth win of the season by going 5.2 innings against Detroit Tigers on this past Tuesday. Chavez has an overall record of 5-6 with an ERA of 4.56.
Area fans hungry for a taste of football can come to Stingaree Stadium at 6:00pm where Hitchcock, La Marque, Santa Fe and Texas City will compete in round robin 7on7 play. The four teams will play each Monday this month in preparation for next month’s state tournament in College Station. Entering this weekend, only Hitchcock was assured a berth in the tourney with only two weekends of qualifiers remaining for the other three to join the Bulldogs. Attendance is free.
The Astros will have a chance to further bury in-state rival Texas Rangers deeper behind in the American League West race when the two teams meet at Minute Maid Park beginning at 7:10pm. The aforementioned Musgrove will make his first start since May 26 when he brings his 4-4 record and 4.89 ERA to the bump against Rangers ace Yu Darvish, who comes into the game with a mark of 5-4 and a 3.18 ERA. After being manhandled by the Rangers the last three seasons, the Astros have turned the tables, having won six of the first seven meetings this year.
With Dallas Keuchel back on the disabled list, the title of staff ace goes to Lance McCullers, who goes for the Astros against the Rangers beginning at 7:10pm. McCullers is 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA and is a three-game stretch where he has struck out 24 batters in 17.1 innings of work. Texas will counter with Nick Martinez, who is expected to return to the rotation after struggling to the tune of a 5.24 ERA in his first eight starts. He was banished to the bullpen but with the Rangers in need of pitching help, Martinez has found himself back to starting.