Riding a five-game winning streak that dates back to their last contest against the Astros, the Boston Red Sox look to exact a measure of revenge when they welcome Houston for the start of a three-game series Tuesday night.
The Astros took three of four from the Red Sox at home from May 31 to June 3. Houston dropped the finale of the series, 5-1, and Boston has since swept the rival New York Yankees and beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 in the makeup of a May 30 rainout Monday.
The Astros were off Monday after taking two of three from the host Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend.
Houston sends left-hander Framber Valdez (1-0, 1.64 ERA) to the mound after he held Boston to one run and struck out 10 over seven innings in his second start of the season June 2. The Red Sox counter with southpaw Martin Perez (4-2, 3.09).
Perez went 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Houston on June 3 to lead Boston to its sole win in the series. He surrendered just six hits, struck out four and walked one.
“I was throwing a lot of fastballs up, two-seamers down and away, changeups. I think I threw everything tonight, and it was a fun game. I enjoyed it, and we got the win,” said Perez of his strategy last time out.
Perez is 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in his past seven starts. He is 8-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 13 career starts against the Astros.
Valdez picked up the first win of his career against the Red Sox with his brilliant performance last week. He is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in three games (one start) against Boston.
Valdez, who missed the start of the campaign with a broken finger, spoke postgame of his early success on the mound.
“I feel really good where I’m at right now,” he said. “My body physically feels really good — my arm, my legs. My whole body feels good. The only thing I want to do is turn up the intensity, and that comes from working hard and getting after it all the time.”
The three straight losses to Houston last week matched Boston’s longest skid of the season. The two teams are each narrowly in second place in their respective American League divisions.
J.D. Martinez (wrist) missed his third straight game for the Red Sox in Monday’s victory. Manager Alex Cora expects the slugger to return Tuesday.
“That’s the goal for him,” Cora said. “He’s getting treatment the whole day.”
The Astros expect to activate outfielder Michael Brantley (hamstring) from the injured list Tuesday. They placed key utility man Aledmys Diaz on the injured list over the weekend with a fractured left hand that is expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks.
After this series, Houston concludes a nine-game road trip at Minnesota. Boston will continue an eight-game homestand with four against Toronto.
–Field Level Media