BOSTON RED SOX (37-29)
at HOUSTON ASTROS (45-22)
First pitch: Friday, 8:10 p.m. ET
Line: Boston +100, Houston -110, Total: 9.5
The Astros will be hoping to end their recent struggles with a victory over the Red Sox on Friday night.
The Red Sox are playing well heading into this one, as they have now won five of their past seven games. Boston did, however, lose 1-0 against Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Sox obviously need to be better offensively in this series, as they’re going up against an elite Astros offense. Houston is, however, struggling a bit right now. The Astros are coming off of a 13-2 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday, but they have lost two straight series heading into this one. They’ll hope to snap that streak, as they know that their lead in the division can go away quickly. The starters in this contest are set to be LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.48 ERA, 73 K) for Boston and RHP Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.29 ERA, 58 K) for Houston. One trend that favors the Red Sox in this one is the fact that the Astros are 33-44 against the money line after having lost two of their past three games over the past two seasons. Houston is, however, an impressive 26-10 against the money line when the line is -100 to -150 this season.
The Red Sox are looking to take the first game in this series, and they’ll need Drew Pomeranz to pitch well in order for that to happen. Pomeranz is coming off of one of his worst outings of the year, as he allowed five earned runs in only 4.1 innings of work against the Tigers on Jun. 11. He had, however, allowed two or fewer earned runs in five straight appearances before that game. The Sox are hoping they can chalk that up as nothing more than a bad outing, as they’ll need the lefty to be back on his game on Friday. Offensively, SS Xander Bogaerts (.320 BA, 2 HR, 26 RBI) is going to need to come through for the Red Sox. Bogaerts had five hits in the two games before going 0-for-4 against the Phillies in a loss on Thursday, and it’s clear that him getting on base is crucial. Boston also needs OF Mookie Betts (.279 BA, 11 HR, 37 RBI) to produce more moving forward. Betts had two homers and three RBI in Wednesday’s win over Philadelphia, but he was just 1-for-4 with no RBI against the Phillies on Thursday. It’s important that Betts comes through with an RBI or two on Friday.
The Astros can really use a win on Friday, and Wednesday’s 13-2 victory will certainly have them feeling confident. And while Mike Fiers obviously wasn’t on the mound in that one, he’ll be confident when he takes the mound as well. Fiers has been excellent lately, as he has allowed just four earned runs in his past 18.1 innings of work. He has 20 strikeouts over his past three starts, and the Astros just need him to avoid making huge mistakes in this one. He has gone three straight games without allowing a homer, but he has given up 18 already this season. On offense, the production for the Astros can really come from anywhere. One guy that is worth keeping an eye on is OF Derek Fisher, though. Fisher was called up recently, and he is considered one of Houston’s top prospects. He certainly showed why in his debut, going 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBI, and two walks. It’d be huge for the Astros if he can keep it up moving forward.