AL West-leading Astros up next for Red Sox
TORONTO — After losing two of three to the Astros at Fenway Park last weekend, the Red Sox have another shot at Houston in a three-game road series this weekend.
It will be the first time the Red Sox have been to Minute Maid Park since last year’s American League Championship Series.
“We know where we’re going,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Thursday. “It’s a good offensive club, it’s a stadium that’s conducive to a lot of runs, but we’ve got our guys lined up and it should be good this weekend.”
Chris Sale gets the start against fellow lefthander Wade Miley in Game 1 on Friday night.
That pitching matchup is a rematch from last Sunday’s game at Fenway, which the Red Sox won, 4-3. Sale went 5⅓ innings and allowed three runs, and Miley went five, also giving up three runs.
David Price will oppose Brad Peacock on Saturday, and Eduardo Rodriguez is scheduled to start against Justin Verlander in a day game on Sunday to wrap up the series.
Verlander is 8-1 with a 2.24 ERA. Houston, 33-17 entering Thursday night, is running away with the AL West.
With Andrew Benintendi scuffling at the plate, Cora elected to move him out of the leadoff spot and down to sixth in the order.
J.D. Martinez was out because of back soreness, Mitch Moreland had the day off, and Cora wanted to break up his lefthanded hitters against lefty Jays starter Clayton Richard. Cora acknowledged that Benintendi hasn’t hit lefties well this season and future lineups against lefthanders could look similar.
“This is a guy that we count on, so it’s not a demotion, it’s just the nature of the lineup today,” Cora said. “I don’t know if we’re going to go with that against lefties for a while, but it might be the case.”
Benintendi has hit .211 against lefthanders this season. Rookie Michael Chavis hit leadoff on Thursday, going 1 for 5 with an RBI.
“I think with his swing, [Benintendi] should be able to hit lefties, he should stay on lefties,” Cora said. “Right now, he’s pulling off. He hasn’t felt right the whole season, it’s one of those that hopefully something clicks in the next few days and hopefully he starts getting hot.”
Thornburg on IL
Before the game, the Red Sox placed righthander Tyler Thornburg on the 10-day injured list with a right hip impingement.
To fill his spot on the 25-man roster, righthander Travis Lakins was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket.
Thornburg, acquired via trade with Milwaukee in 2016, has made 16 appearances this season and allowed 16 runs in 18⅔ innings (7.71 ERA).
Lakins, 24, made his major league debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Tigers on April 23. He pitched a scoreless seventh inning on Thursday after getting the call at 1:30 a.m. telling him to join the big club.
Lakins was with the PawSox in Scranton, Pa., and hopped a short flight to Philadelphia, another to Toronto, and was with the team by 10:30 a.m.
“It actually all worked out fine,” he said. “I didn’t mind getting up early.”
Start time moved
The Red Sox moved the start time of Wednesday’s game against the Indians from 7:10 to 6:10.
The change was made as a courtesy to fans who want to watch Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, which is scheduled to start at 8 at TD Garden.
Updates and video highlights of the Bruins game will be provided between innings to fans attending the Red Sox game.
Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt both had the day off as they continue their rehab assignments.
Both had been playing with Pawtucket, but Pedroia will report to Double A Portland on Friday. Holt will probably go to Portland as well, Cora said, but should be ready to return to the big club soon.
Portland plays a four-game home series against Altoona over the long weekend. First pitch on Friday is at 6, and the games on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday all start at 1.
Pedroia, who went on the 10-day injured list with left knee irritation on April 18, played in five rehab games with Pawtucket, going 3 for 19 with a walk. He made three starts at second base and two as the DH.
Though Pedroia hasn’t been hitting well, Cora said there have been some improvements in his swing.
“They say that it was better yesterday, although he struck out twice, I guess,” Cora said. “At least his foundation was better. His stride was better. At least that’s a step toward the right direction.”
Holt is 6 for 23 with a home run, two doubles, five runs and four walks in seven games with Pawtucket.