THE FIELD … ON THE FIELD … ON THE FIELD by Brandon C. Williams
Today, Wednesday: The World Series is being held today. That is, the Houston World Series of Dogs, which starts its five-day event at NRG Center. The family-friendly showcase will feature exhibitions, relay races along with grooming contests, a musical freestyle and best in show judging. Tickets are $15 for adults ages 13 thru 54, $10 for seniors 55-plus and free for children 12 and younger. For a complete schedule of events, visit the NRG Park website at nrgpark.com/event-calendar.
The Astros will continue their quest for their World Series bid when they conclude a six-game homestand with a 1:10pm date against Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Charlie Morton brings his 7-3 record and 4.06 ERA to the mound for Houston while having won his last two starts, including a season-high ten-strikeout performance over five innings in a victory against Minnesota Twins this past Friday night. The Mariners counter with James Paxton, who has been the team’s most reliable starter with a 8-3 record and 3.19 ERA. Like Morton, he has been on a recent roll, having won each of his last three outings while allowing just five runs over his past 18.1 innings. The game will be aired live on AT&T Sportsnet.
Tomorrow, Thursday: One of professional sports’ oldest rivalries comes to NRG Stadium as Manchester City meets arch rival Manchester United in the Manchester Derby. The two clubs have faced off 173 times since the initial meeting on the pitch in 1902 and meet for the first time outside of England. Man City and Man U have combined to win 24 English Premier League championships, including seven of the last ten and both clubs will be strong contenders for the crown when EPL regular season play begins next month. The match will start at 8:30pm and while it has not yet sold out, few tickets remain. Pricing ranges from $60 to $250 per ticket, which can be purchased either at the NRG Stadium website or at the box office.
Friday: Collin McHugh will make his 2017 debut with the Astros when they open a weekend series at Baltimore Orioles beginning at 6:05pm. McHugh was placed on the 60-day disabled list at the start of the regular season with an elbow injury and remained sidelined until making a handful of starts in the minors before being activated to the major league roster on Friday morning. He was 13-10 with a 4.34 ERA in 33 starts last season a year after winning 19 games for the playoff-bound Astros.
The Orioles will pitch Ubaldo Jimenez, who brings a 4-5 record with a 7.05 ERA to the mound. Jimenez has allowed at least four earned runs in four of his last five starts, including giving up six runs and 11 hits in 3.2 innings in a loss to Chicago Cubs this past Sunday. AT&T Sportsnet will air the game live.
Saturday: Game two of the weekend set at Baltimore will see Houston hand the ball to Mike Fiers, who comes into the contest with a 6-4 record and 3.75 ERA. Fiers won his previous start when he struck out 11 batters while allowing two runs over seven innings against Minnesota Twins this past Sunday, giving him his first win since June 21. Chris Tillman gets the nod for the O’s as he looks to improve what has been a nightmarish season. Tillman, who had four straight seasons of double-digit wins, is just 1-5 with a hideous 7.90 ERA. Hampered by injuries to start the year, Tillman won his first start on May 7, yet has not won since.
The game, which begins at 6:05 pm, will be aired on AT&T Sportsnet.