Major League Baseball
Preview
Houston at Boston
When: 7:10 PM ET, Friday, July 3, 2015
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

The Houston Astros blew right past a fellow first-place team this week and own the most wins in the American League. The Astros will try to keep up that intensity when they take a step down and open a three-game series at a last-place team in the host Boston Red Sox on Friday.

Houston swept a three-game series from the Kansas City Royals to push its winning streak to four straight but was dealt quite a blow when slugger George Springer suffered a broken right wrist after being hit by a pitch on Wednesday. "We're going to allow the bone - the particular bone, it's a non-displaced fracture - we're going to allow it heal on its own,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters after placing Springer on the 15-day disabled list. “We'll do whatever we can to speed that up, but nature has to take its course, so it’s hard to tell (how long he'll be out).” The Astros could have used Springer to keep up with the Red Sox, who pounded out a season-high 19 hits on Thursday to polish off a series win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Boston will send Justin Masterson to the mound on Friday while Houston will give Dan Straily a chance to win a regular rotation spot.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ROOT Southwest (Houston), NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Dan Straily (2014: 1-3, 6.75 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Justin Masterson (3-2, 5.58)

Straily was recalled to take over the rotation spot of recently demoted left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and is making his debut for Houston after appearing in the majors with Oakland and the Chicago Cubs in previous seasons. Straily was 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA for Triple-A Fresno this campaign. The 26-year-old went 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in his last full season as a starter for Oakland in 2013.

Masterson returned to the major-league rotation for the first time in more than a month on Sunday and allowed only an unearned run on five hits over five innings to earn a win at Tampa Bay. Most encouraging for the sinkerball specialist was six strikeouts without walking a batter. Masterson is making his first career start against the Astros and is 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA in four home starts this season.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Astros recalled OF Alex Presley to take over Springer’s roster spot.

2. Boston OF Alejandro De Aza tripled in three of the last four games and has hit safely in eight straight.

3. Houston 2B Jose Altuve has hit safely in 10 consecutive games and driven in a run in three in a row.

PREDICTION: Red Sox 6, Astros 5
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Houston 47-34 W4 28-16 19-18 10-8 7-9 22-16 8-1
Boston 37-44 W1 17-20 20-24 16-25 4-6 11-9 6-4
Last Meeting
Houston Boston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/17/14 HOU 8 BOS 1 .314 3 .976 .242 0 .597
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston N/A
Boston A. De Aza .000 0 .000
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston J. Altuve 0 0 0
Boston J. Aro 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 0.00 .000 0
Boston 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston J. Altuve .298 87 .763
Boston D. Pedroia .306 86 .819
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston L. Valbuena 19 41 35
Boston H. Ramirez 16 43 39
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 3.52 .241 627
Boston 4.47 .255 585