What we’re watching: Astros go for sweep
- As great as he is, Tim Lincecum has still won a mere 45 percent of his 76 career starts. However, he’s 5-for-5 against the Braves heading into another showdown tonight. He blanked the Braves for eight innings in his only start against them this year, that coming on May 26. Jair Jurrjens, who ranks seventh in the NL in ERA, will be the opponent tonight.
- 26-year-old Carlos Torres will make his major league debut for the White Sox tonight against the Rays. The 2004 15th-round pick moved back and forth between the rotation and pen during his first five minor league seasons, but an impressive 2008 in Double-A caused the White Sox to make him a full-time starter this year and he was 8-4 with a 2.20 ERA, 72 H and 96/38 K/BB in 98 IP for Triple-A Charlotte. It seems unlikely that he’ll notch so many strikeouts in the majors with his cutter and curveball, but he could prove to be a pretty useful swingman.
- Chad Billingsley will attempt to bounce back from his shortest start since 2007 when he faces the Reds. He’s 2-1 with a 0.92 ERA against Cincinnati in his career, but he appears to be battling fatigue of late. He allowed five runs in five innings on July 10, struggled through his inning in the All-Star Game and then gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Astros on Friday. Bronson Arroyo is due to start for the Reds. If Manny Ramirez plays -- he left last night’s game with a bruised hand -- he’d be facing his former Red Sox teammate for the first time.
Game of the Night
St. Louis vs. Houston - The Astros will aim for a three-game sweep of the first-place Cardinals with Roy Oswalt on the mound. Houston has won each of Oswalt’s last four starts, with the right-hander amassing a 1.69 ERA in the process. Oswalt, though, hasn’t beaten the Cardinals since 2007, going 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in three starts over the last two seasons. St. Louis will start Chris Carpenter, who has won three straight this month and is 8-3 with a 2.26 ERA for the season.