Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
HOUSTON – Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox have heated up in June and look to take their second straight over the host Houston Astros when the teams meet again Saturday at Minute Maid Park. The Red Sox picked up a 2-1 win in the opener of the three-game series Friday night, as Betts snapped a tie with a solo shot in the eighth – his third home run in the last three games and ninth extra-base hit in a span of eight contests.
Boston has won six of its last eight while American League West-leading Houston has dropped seven of 10 since its 11-game winning streak. Hanley Ramirez was out of the lineup for the second straight game as Boston’s designated hitter is dealing with a neck issue. The Red Sox will be hoping for a solid outing from reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, who has lost three straight decisions and is giving up hits in bunches. Houston counters with rookie David Paulino as it tries to improve upon a 2-5 homestand.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (3-8, 4.67 ERA) vs. Astros RH David Paulino (0-0, 6.59)
Porcello has surrendered 66 hits in 43 1/3 innings over his last seven starts and opponents are hitting .310 against him – 80 points higher than during his remarkable 2016 season. He has a 3.76 ERA on the road but that number balloons to 5.89 over his last three outings away from home. The 28-year-old did not face the Astros during his Cy Young campaign and has seen them only twice over the course of his career, allowing five runs in 13 2/3 frames.
Paulino has failed to get beyond four innings in two of his three major-league starts this season and he gave up five runs in four frames of a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. Opponents have 19 hits – including six doubles and three home runs – in just 13 2/3 innings against Paulino since he was recalled last month. The 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic had a 5.14 ERA in three starts at Triple-A prior to the promotion.
1. Boston’s bullpen has not allowed a run in 24 innings, the team’s longest such run since 2009 (25 1/3).
2. Astros C Brian McCann homered Friday for his fourth long ball in the last nine games.
3. Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia has played 89 straight errorless games, nine shy of his own franchise record at the position.