Astros-Red Sox Preview - NBC Sports

Astros-Red Sox Preview
July 3, 2015, 1:05 am

The Houston Astros had little time to enjoy a sweep of the AL leaders before learning they'd open a road swing without their leadoff man and top defensive outfielder.

With George Springer sidelined for an extended period, the Astros look to keep rolling with their fifth consecutive victory Friday night against the resurgent Boston Red Sox.

After hitting .207 over his first 38 games, Springer gave Houston a lift with a .380 average, six home runs and 10 RBIs in a 27-game stretch after being moved into the top spot in the lineup May 24.

The center fielder cooled recently but went 2 for 5 with a home run in his last two games before getting hit on the wrist by a fastball in Wednesday's 6-5 win over Kansas City. Springer, batting .264 with 13 homers and 29 RBIs, was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a broken right wrist.

The Astros recalled Alex Presley from Triple-A Fresno and expect fellow outfielder Colby Rasmus back after he missed five games due to an infected bug bite.

"We're going to allow it to heal on its own," general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB's official website of Springer's injury. "It's definitely going to be a significant loss of time, but we'll have to find a way to overcome it."

Houston (47-34), which moved a percentage point ahead of the slumping Royals without playing Thursday, seeks its fourth win streak of at least five in the opener of this season high-tying 10-game trip.

The last-place Red Sox (37-44) have been playing better of late, winning nine of 14. They took three of four at Toronto after scoring eight runs in the first inning en route to Thursday's 12-6 victory.

Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts had four hits apiece, while Alejandro De Aza and Mookie Betts each added three as part of Boston's season-high 19-hit attack.

"What Mookie, Brock and Bogie were able to do certainly set the tone for us," manager John Farrell said.

The Red Sox hope to continue that production for Justin Masterson (3-2, 5.58 ERA), who returned to the rotation Sunday after a five-week stint on the DL due to tendinitis in his right shoulder.

The veteran right-hander made the most of his opportunity after Joe Kelly's demotion, giving up one unearned run over five innings in a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay. He's facing Houston for the first time.

Jose Altuve, batting .368 over a 10-game hitting streak, has gone 6 for 10 in his last two games at Boston.

Dan Straily will make his Astros debut after replacing demoted Brett Oberholtzer in the rotation. The right-hander, who was 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA in 14 Triple-A starts, has gone 13-12 with a 4.21 ERA over 42 big-league outings with Oakland and the Chicago Cubs.

Straily has faced the Red Sox only once, allowing two runs and four hits while walking three over 4 1-3 innings in a 7-1 loss at Fenway Park on May 2, 2014.

Hanley Ramirez, who hit back-to-back homers with David Ortiz in the first inning Thursday, has a double in two at-bats when facing Straily. De Aza is 3 for 7 with two doubles in the matchup.

Shane Victorino is expected to come off the DL after missing 38 games with a calf injury.

The Red Sox, 17-6 all-time in the series, had been 7-0 at home against Houston until splitting a four-game set last August.

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