Sonny Gray has been activated and will attempt his Stockton-Ports-rehab-start-of-80-pitches-or-five-innings in Houston. Rich Hill will be resting his strained groin, and the bullpen, who has thrown 14 and 1/3 innings in the last two days, will drum up their late-inning energy no doubt. For details on the current state of Athletic's pitching, see this morning's article by Jeremy Koo: "Oakland A's activate Sonny Gray from DL, option J.B. Wendelken; Sunday's bullpen situation."
On the Houston pitching front, Lance McCullers will climb the mound with 2 wins and a 4.79 ERA with 28 strikeouts in the last two starts--17 of the strikeouts coming in his last two games. This is the right-handed, 22 year-olds fifth starts since being activated this season. Drafted in the 2012 first round (41st overall), McCuller's had one of the best rookie seasons in Astro's history in 2015 by notching a few top-ten, all-time Astros rookie honors including strikeouts per 9 innings (2nd at 9.24) and total strikeouts (7th, 129). McCullers became the ﬁrst rookie pitcher in club history, and the seventh in Major League history, to allow three earned runs or less in 20 of his ﬁrst 22 career starts; the only others to do this were Stephen Strasburg (21g), Aaron Sele (21g), Mike Witt, Brandon Webb, Bruce Ruﬃn and Gerrit Cole.
I like this kid. But not just for his strong pitching, although I know our bats can take him. McCullers and his wife Kara joined a partnership with Houston Pets Alive! I personally love this, being an advocate of adopting rescues, because this organization is a rare no-kill shelter that works to provide resources and education to save these wonderful animals. Here's Lance and his wife:
Starting lineup and our bats that will take on McCullers is as follows:
|OAKLAND A'S||HOUSTON ASTROS|
|Coco Crisp - LF||George Springer - DH|
|Jed Lowrie - 2B||Jose Altuve - 2B|
|Stephen Vogt - C||Carlos Correa - SS|
|Danny Valencia - 3B||Colby Rasmus - RF|
|Khris Davis - DH||Evan Gattis - C|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Luis Valbuena - 3B|
|Marcus Semien - SS||Tyler White - 1B|
|Chris Coghlan - RF||Carlos Gomez - CF|
|Billy Burns - CF||Tony Kemp - LF|
|Sonny Gray - RHP||Lance McCullers - RHP|