|5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 PM CT, May 24, 2019
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas Attendance: 35,606
Astros set to square off against Sale, Red Sox
Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
- The Astros took two of three in the first series of the season against the Red Sox last week as the teams combined for 21 runs in the three-game series. Since May 1, the Astros have the third-best record in MLB at 15-6 with the Red Sox right behind at 14-6, the fourth-best record in baseball.
- Boston won three of four at Toronto, outhitting the Blue Jays, 48-30, in the series. The Red Sox are 11-3 in their last 14 road games after starting the season just 3-10 on the road.
- Houston split a four-game set with the White Sox, averaging 3.0 runs per game in the series. The Astros have put up 30 runs in their last eight games after scoring 45 runs in their previous four games.
- Mookie Betts plated his 25th run of the season on Thursday against the Blue Jays. He is one of six Red Sox who have reached 25 RBI already this year -- only the Mariners have more such players (seven).
- Carlos Correa has a 1.087 career OPS against the Red Sox in the regular season, the third-highest mark in the live-ball era (since 1920) behind Babe Ruth (1.146) and Lou Gehrig (1.099; minimum 100 PA).
- Chris Sale has struck out 50 percent of batters faced over his last four starts (51/102). The last pitcher to have a four-start span with a 50.0 percent or higher strikeout rate was Pedro Martinez -- also with Boston -- in his 1999 Cy Young campaign (54.2 percent; minimum 80 batters faced).
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When Astros manager A.J. Hinch briskly walked to the mound to remove rookie right-hander Corbin Martin in the fourth inning Thursday at Minute Maid Park, what followed was an extended conversation that featured Hinch doing the talking and Martin all the listening.
Flanked by veterans in the Houston rotation, Martin has plenty to learn in negotiating the challenge of starting every fifth day in the majors. He won't pitch this weekend when the Astros host the Boston Red Sox for a three-game series at Minute Maid Park, but with right-hander Collin McHugh on the 10-day injured list, Martin is sure to get another opportunity to apply what he has experienced so far.
"He was behind a lot, and that's what I told him when I took him out of the game," Hinch said. "Like a lot of young pitchers, he was carrying one bad pitch into the next bad pitch. It's a learning experience for him. He'll be better for it. I know he's frustrated. As he started falling behind, he started going into the middle of the strike zone, they started getting some hits, and it just spiraled from there."
Left-hander Wade Miley (4-2, 3.51 ERA) will pitch the series opener for the Astros on Friday. He did not factor into the decision on May 19 in a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts over five innings. Miley is 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA over five career starts against Boston, for whom he pitched in 2015 to an 11-11 record and 4.46 ERA.
Left-hander Chris Sale (1-5, 4.31 ERA) gets the start for Boston. Sale walked a season-high five batters against Houston on May 19 while also recording 10 strikeouts and allowing three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. Sale is 5-2 with a 2.12 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros.
With their bullpen stretched to the limit the previous game, the Red Sox on Thursday received a salvaging performance from right-hander Ryan Weber, who allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts over six innings in an 8-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. With Boston facing the Astros' potent offense this weekend at Minute Maid Park and fresh off a 6-5, 13-inning win Wednesday that included five relievers working the final seven frames, Weber provided a salve.
The Red Sox on Thursday placed right-hander Tyler Thornburg on the 10-day injured list with a right hip impingement and recalled right-hander Travis Lakins for his second appearance on the active roster. Given the workload on the bullpen and the challenge that awaits them in Houston, the Red Sox were elated with what Weber delivered. He was equally thrilled at helping Boston reset in advance of a rematch of last weekend's series won by the Astros at Fenway Park.
"Giving the team a chance to win and saving the bullpen was really my main goal," said Weber, who logged a total of eight innings over three relief appearances prior to Thursday. "Doing that, I'm excited and proud."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 24, 2019