The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox conclude their weekend series at Fenway Park this afternoon. An early start at Fenway, with Chris Devenski and Sean O’Sullivan getting their chances on the mound. Let’s just say that you aren’t going to find this pitching matchup in the All-Star Game, but to Devenski and O’Sullivan, these early season starts are incredibly important. O’Sullivan hasn’t done anything of merit in the past few years and Devenski is trying to impress his employers as a rookie who has spent all of his professional years in the minors. Not many rookies get the chance to come out this early to showcase their work. Teams like to give the some work at the end of the year and see what they have for the following season. With Devenski though, he has been with the Astros from about the start. And thus far, he has taken the opportunity and made the most of it. Beating the Red Sox at Fenway would be a big accomplishment for him this young in his career.
Devenski started out in the bullpen and did well there, then the Astros rewarded him with some jobs as a starter. He was great in the bullpen for the ‘Stros, allowing only 1 run in 13.2 innings pitched. The Astros took note and felt like he warranted some work in the starting rotation. I’ll get to his starts more below in this article. His counterpart this afternoon, Sean O’Sullivan, has fought and convinced teams to keep him around. To be completely honest, I’m not sure how he is still floating at the major league ranks. It just tells you how rare aces are in baseball today and how hard it is to find quality pitching. Finding a bad bullpen is much easier than finding a good one these days. So, while O’Sullivan has a career 5.96 he still has a job, making a pretty solid penny for being a below average pitcher. The Astros and Red Sox split on Friday and Saturday, today the rubber match in Boston. Let’s look for a winner at Fenway.
Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox
Chris Devenski (0-2, 1.72 ERA) vs. Sean O’Sullivan (1-0, 6.43 ERA)
O’Sullivan has appeared in 7 innings in 2016, and well, it’s been more of the same for him. He does have a win to his credit, though. I will say, he has looked better than his final three starts of 2015, where he allowed 6 runs in every one of those starts. O’Sullivan enters today with a 6.43 ERA, allowing 5 runs in 7 innings pitched. Particularly troublesome is the fact he’s given up 14 hits in 7 innings. He got out of some jams against the Athletics last game, or it could have been much worse than only 4 runs allowed.
O’Sullivan has had an ERA above 6.00 in four out of his last five seasons. Now you know, and can question how he has been able to keep a job in baseball. It looks like he is going that same direction in 2016 as well. When he is on the mound, the Red Sox just have to hope that the offense is in order. Devenski has been stellar though, allowing only 5 runs in his starts this season. He’s allowed 2, 1, and 2 runs his last three outings. He has yet to get hit for more than 2 runs. I don’t expect him to keep this up, but he should be able to do enough to make it past O’Sullivan today. There is no way O’Sullivan should be -102 against any team. The Astros look attractive Sunday afternoon.
PICK: ASTROS TO WIN -106