30 Sep

in the spotlight

Drew Pomeranz, who has been outstanding for Boston, can put an exclamation point on his season today against Houston at Fenway Park. The left-hander out of Ole Miss, who is 16-6 with a 3.38 ERA, goes to the bump for a Red Sox club that needs a win to claim the American League East championship. The Red Sox could also take the crown if New York loses at home to Toronto; both games start at 12:05 CDT. Asked if this is the biggest game of his career, Pomeranz told the Boston Herald: “I guess, yeah, but all these games have been big. We’re in a good position here.” Well, maybe. The Astros, runaway AL West champs, are on another roll with five straight wins. Behind former Mississippi Braves standout Charlie Morton, Houston won 3-2 on Friday, dropping the Red Sox to 1-4 on their current homestand. Pomeranz, coming off a rough start against Toronto on Monday, will face an array of right-handed hitting thumpers – see Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Bregman – taking aim at the Green Monster in left field. Ex-Mississippi State star Mitch Moreland, who broke up Morton’s perfect game with a double in the fifth inning on Friday, likely will be in Boston’s lineup against Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. (7-3, 4.01). Could be a wild afternoon at both Fenway and Yankee Stadium. P.S. Meanwhile, in the cellar of the National League West, far from the spotlight, former Mississippi State teammates Chris Stratton and Hunter Renfroe faced off Friday when San Francisco hosted San Diego. This one belonged to Stratton. The rookie right-hander threw 6 2/3 shutout innings to lead the Giants to an 8-0 victory at AT&T Park. He retired Renfroe three times, punching him out twice. Stratton, a first-round pick in 2012, is 4-4 with a 3.68 ERA and will head to spring training as a strong candidate for a job in the Giants’ rotation. Renfroe, a first-round pick in 2013, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and saw his average dip to .229. The rookie right fielder, who has 25 homers, may have to battle for the starting job next spring.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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