Astros rookie Martin draws Red Sox for 2nd start
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Reminiscent of the 2018 American League Championship Series, the Astros and Boston Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park played the same tense baseball that highlighted their memorable showdown, with Houston turning the tables via a late-inning rally to win.
In taking the opener of a three-game weekend series 3-1, the Astros did what Boston accomplished while claiming the final four games of their matchup last October.
The series continues Saturday evening in Boston.
George Springer delivered a go-ahead, two-run home run in the eighth inning Friday off Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello. That pitch left Boston manager Alex Cora lamenting his decision to send Porcello back to the mound with 91 pitches on his ledger, although Porcello had retired seven consecutive batters and had yet to allow an extra-base hit through seven sparkling innings.
For the Astros, watching the Red Sox grind out at-bats against starter Gerrit Cole felt eerily familiar.
Cole worked five scoreless innings but needed 99 pitches to do so, with Boston recording more foul balls (23) than swinging strikes (16) against Cole, despite Cole averaging 97.5 mph on 54 four-seam fastballs.
When the Astros take the field on Saturday, they'll know exactly what the Red Sox have in store for them.
"For whatever reason, this is a tough place to pitch," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Part of it is the environment, part of it is their offense. They're dangerous and they make you work. They foul balls off, they do a good job of putting together a game plan very similar to us."
Rookie right-hander Corbin Martin (1-0, 3.38 ERA) will make his second career start for the Astros. Martin allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in his major league debut against the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Martin is a Houston native who graduated from nearby Cypress Ranch High School before pitching at Texas A&M. He was a second-round selection (56th overall) by the Astros in the 2017 draft.
Right-hander Hector Velazquez (1-2, 3.95 ERA) will start for the Red Sox on Saturday.
Velazquez logged a season-high five innings in his previous outing, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts in an 11-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday in what was his 12th appearance and sixth start on the season.
With the Red Sox's rotation shortened by injuries, Velazquez has earned three starts this month while making just one relief appearance.
The Red Sox received a measure of good news Friday via updates on left-hander David Price and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
Price, sidelined since May 2 due to elbow tendinitis, could return next week against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Eovaldi, who had surgery on April 23 to remove loose bodies in his elbow, played catch Friday. He could throw a limited bullpen session Tuesday, inching him closer toward a return.
"On a good note, we haven't had any issues," said Eovaldi, who had no decisions and a 6.00 ERA in four starts before getting hurt last month. "We've been able to continue to take steps forward in the right direction.
"The arm still feels good and strong, and coming out to play catch, it's just make sure you're not doing too much."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 18, 2019