|Astros set to square off against Sale, Red Sox|
When Astros manager A.J. Hinch briskly walked to the mound to remove rookie right-hander Corbin Martin in the fourth inning Thursday at Minute Maid Park, what followed was an extended conversation that featured Hinch doing the talking and Martin all the listening.
Flanked by veterans in the Houston rotation, Martin has plenty to learn in negotiating the challenge of starting every fifth day in the majors. He won't pitch this weekend when the Astros host the Boston Red Sox for a three-game series at Minute Maid Park, but with right-hander Collin McHugh on the 10-day injured list, Martin is sure to get another opportunity to apply what he has experienced so far.
"He was behind a lot, and that's what I told him when I took him out of the game," Hinch said. "Like a lot of young pitchers, he was carrying one bad pitch into the next bad pitch. It's a learning experience for him. He'll be better for it. I know he's frustrated. As he started falling behind, he started going into the middle of the strike zone, they started getting some hits, and it just spiraled from there."
Left-hander Wade Miley (4-2, 3.51 ERA) will pitch the series opener for the Astros on Friday. He did not factor into the decision on May 19 in a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts over five innings. Miley is 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA over five career starts against Boston, for whom he pitched in 2015 to an 11-11 record and 4.46 ERA.
Left-hander Chris Sale (1-5, 4.31 ERA) gets the start for Boston. Sale walked a season-high five batters against Houston on May 19 while also recording 10 strikeouts and allowing three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. Sale is 5-2 with a 2.12 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros.
With their bullpen stretched to the limit the previous game, the Red Sox on Thursday received a salvaging performance from right-hander Ryan Weber, who allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts over six innings in an 8-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. With Boston facing the Astros' potent offense this weekend at Minute Maid Park and fresh off a 6-5, 13-inning win Wednesday that included five relievers working the final seven frames, Weber provided a salve.
The Red Sox on Thursday placed right-hander Tyler Thornburg on the 10-day injured list with a right hip impingement and recalled right-hander Travis Lakins for his second appearance on the active roster. Given the workload on the bullpen and the challenge that awaits them in Houston, the Red Sox were elated with what Weber delivered. He was equally thrilled at helping Boston reset in advance of a rematch of last weekend's series won by the Astros at Fenway Park.
"Giving the team a chance to win and saving the bullpen was really my main goal," said Weber, who logged a total of eight innings over three relief appearances prior to Thursday. "Doing that, I'm excited and proud."
--Field Level Media