Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON – A pair of former American League Cy Young winners will face off when the Houston Astros host the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night in a battle of division leaders. Houston’s Justin Verlander, who leads the majors in ERA (1.11) for the AL West’s top dogs, will take the mound in the third of a four-game series, while Boston counters with veteran left-hander David Price as he goes for his fourth straight win.
Verlander will try to clinch a series victory for the Astros, who took the first two after Friday’s 7-3 triumph as star shortstop Carlos Correa homered for the second straight night to improve his batting average to .418 in his career against the Red Sox. Houston won’t have to face the majors’ top hitter in this series as All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts (left abdominal strain) was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday, retroactive to May 29. Boston received back-to-back homers Friday from Mitch Moreland and J.D. Martinez, who has gone deep four times with seven RBIs in his last seven contests. Jackie Bradley Jr. takes a seven-game hitting streak into Saturday’s contest for the AL East-leading Red Sox, going 8-for-22 during the stretch, and needs one double to reach 100 in his career.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, Fox
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH David Price (5-4, 4.04 ERA) vs. Astros RH Justin Verlander (7-2, 1.11)
Price is unbeaten in his last four starts, giving up a total of seven runs on 17 hits and 10 walks across 25 1/3 innings. The 32-year-old Vanderbilt product was 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA through his first seven outings of 2018 but allowed opponents a .217 batting average in May. Jose Altuve is 7-for-19 against Price, who is 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 10 career appearances (eight starts) versus the Astros.
Verlander has permitted one or fewer earned runs in six straight starts and nine of 10, including Monday when he held the New York Yankees to one run over 6 2/3 innings. The 35-year-old Virginia native has struck out 98 and walked just 15 across 81 1/3 innings – second in the majors through Thursday – while surrendering only five homers. Moreland is 10-for-29 with six doubles and six RBIs against Verlander, who is 5-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 17 career starts versus the Red Sox.
1. Houston C Evan Gattis has recorded four of eight homers and nine of 26 RBIs this season in his last five contests.
2. Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia (knee) missed his second straight game Friday and is questionable for Saturday.
3. Astros 1B Yuli Gurriel is 12-for-35 during an eight-game hitting streak after going 2-for-3 and knocking in a pair of runs Friday.