Christian Arroyo ties it and Alex Verdugo walks it off as Red Sox rally to defeat Blue Jays, 6-5

The Red Sox were trailing the Blue Jays for the majority of the night on Friday, yet still found a way to battle their way back from a 5-1 deficit for another comeback victory at Fenway Park.

For the second night in a row, Christian Arroyo came through in the clutch with a game-tying solo home run off Blue Jays reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to knot things up at five runs a piece.

In the ninth, Enrique Hernandez led things off against Jays closer Rafael Dolis by reaching first base on a throwing error committed by shortstop Bo Bichette, and then advanced to second — into scoring position — because of Toronto’s mistake.

The speedy Danny Santana pinch-ran for Hernandez as he represented the winning run, though he did not stick at second base for long.

That being the case because Alex Verdugo laced an RBI single off the Green Monster to score Santana and walk things off for the Sox in what would go down as a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.

Verdugo’s first walk-off hit in a Red Sox uniform sealed Boston’s 23rd come-from-behind victory of the season, which is the most in the major-leagues.

With the win, the Sox improve to 39-25 (19-15 at home) on the year. They remain a game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Richards gets off to rocky start, but settles in

Garrett Richards made his 13th start of the season for Boston to begin things on Friday.

The right-hander labored through his first two innings of work — and surrendered three runs as a result — but was able to pitch into the sixth before his day ended.

After throwing 64 pitches to record six outs while yielding a healthy amout of hard contact, Richards settled in nicely, stringing together three straight scoreless frames leading up to the sixth, at which point he gave up a one-out single to Marcus Semien, and that was that.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (66 strikes) to eclipse the century mark for the first time this season, the 33-year-old hurler also allowed a season-high 11 hits. His next start should come against the Braves on Wednesday.

Sawamura serves up moonshot to Vlad Jr.

In relief of Richards, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he allowed the lone runner he inherited to score by serving up a towering 443-foot two-run homer to the vaunted Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero Jr.’s blast gave the Blue Jays a 5-1 lead and officially closed the book on Richards’ night as the Sox starter wound up getting charged with four earned runs to raise his ERA on the season to 4.09. Sawamura was able to get out of the sixth.

Taylor bails out Workman

From there, Brandon Workman only managed to retire one of the three hitters he faced in the seventh, which led Red Sox manager Alex Cora to deploy Josh Taylor.

Taylor fanned the only two Blue Jays he faced (Cavan Biggio, Riley Adams), to strand a pair of runners in scoring position and extend his scoreless appearances streak to 17 consecutive games.

Whitlock closes it out

Garrett Whitlock took over in the eighth, maneuvered his way around a leadoff single in his first inning of work, and also stranded the potential go-ahead runs by leaving the bases loaded in a scoreless top half of the ninth. The right-hander would earn his second winning decision of the season.

Dalbec’s homer gets scoring started for Sox

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran right-hander in the form of Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling.

Bobby Dalbec kicked off the scoring for the Sox against Stripling by crushing his seventh home run of the season — a 441-foot solo shot to dead center field — to cut Toronto’s lead down to two runs at 3-1.

Three-run sixth with a side of wildness

Fast forward to the sixth, and the Red Sox knocked Stripling out of this contest when Hunter Renfroe drove in Alex Verdugo on a two-out RBI single to center field and Christian Vazquez followed with a single of his own.

Blue Jays reliever Tyler Chatwood did not fare much better, as he plunked Christian Arroyo to load the bases, walked in a run by issuing a free pass to Marwin Gonzalez, and threw a wild pitch that allowed Vazquez to score from third to trim the deficit to one run. 5-4.

Verdugo walks it off

With contributions from the likes of Garrett Whitlock and Christian Arroyo in the eighth and ninth innings, Alex Verdugo sent the Fenway faithful into a frenzy with a game-sealing walk-off single in the bottom half of the ninth.

It should be noted that Verdugo played a quality left field on Friday night as well.

Next up: Matz vs. Pivetta

Saturday’s starting pitching matchup between the Blue Jays and Red Sox will feature a pair of former National League East foes going at it.

Ex-Mets left-hander Steven Matz will be getting the start for Toronto, and he will be opposed by ex-Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta getting the start for Boston.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox injuries: Xander Bogaerts scratched from Friday’s lineup due to sore left knee

Xander Bogaerts was scratched from the Red Sox’ starting lineup against the Blue Jays on Friday night due to a sore left knee.

Bogaerts was originally slated to start at shortstop and bat cleanup at Fenway Park for the first of four against Toronto on Friday, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora changed things up about an hour and a half before first pitch.

When speaking with NESN’s Tom Caron pregame, Cora explained that Bogaerts’ left knee was a feeling “a little bit sore” after diving for an Alex Bregman base hit in the third inning of Thursday night’s 12-8 win over the Astros.

The 28-year-old was able to remain in for the rest of the contest and even went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored in Boston’s rollercoaster come-from-behind victory.

The hope now, per Cora, is that Bogaerts will only be out of action for two days before being cleared to return to the Sox lineup on Sunday.

On the 2021 campaign as a whole, the star shortstop comes into play Friday slashing an astute .324/.382/.547 to go along with 11 home runs and 38 RBI over 60 games played.

In Bogaerts’ place, the switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez will start at shortstop and bat eighth in Friday night’s series opener. Rafael Devers moves up the cleanup spot.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: MassLive.com’s Chris Mason joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Chris Mason, who covers the New England Patriots for MassLive.com.

Among the topics Chris and I discussed were how how he got into sports journalism at a young age, how it was to go from covering the Red Sox for a newspaper to covering the Patriots for MassLive, his impressions of the 2021 Red Sox so far, his predictions for the 2021 Patriots, the key differences between the amenities at the Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium press boxes, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Chris for taking some time out of his Friday to have a conversation with me.

You can follow Chris on Twitter (@ByChrisMason) by clicking here. You can check out his Patriots coverage for MassLive.com by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Fenway Park: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo, Red Sox outslug Astros in action-packed 12-8 victory to avoid sweep

When playing the same team seven times within a 10-day span, some wild things are bound to happen, as was the case between the Red Sox and Astros at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

Boston was able to come away with a hard-fought, action-packed 12-8 win over Houston to avoid a three-game sweep, but not before 25 hits and five lead changes were exchanged between both sides over the course of a contest that took nearly four hours to complete.

Rodriguez fails to get through five innings

Eduardo Rodriguez made his 12th start of the season for Boston on Thursday and had a relatively tough time of things against a team he has regularly struggled against.

Over just 4 2/3 innings of work, the left-hander surrendered six runs — all of which were earned — on six hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those six Astros runs came courtesy of a solo home run off the bat of Yuli Gurriel in the second inning. The next two came on a two-run double from Yordan Alvarez an inning later.

After settling into a bit of a groove and recording the first two outs of the top of the fifth, Rodriguez gave up a single to Alex Bregman and a six-pitch walk to Alvarez, which filled the bases for Houston and in turn marked the end of Rodriguez’s outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 106 (64 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler saw his ERA on the season inflate to 6.03 while taking home the no-decision. His next start should come against the Braves in Atlanta next Tuesday.

With his pitch count where it was at, Rodriguez got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora in favor of Matt Andriese, who proceeded to walk in a run and serve up a bases-clearing, three-run double to Kyle Tucker to close the book on the starter’s night before getting out of the inning with his side now trailing 7-4.

Red Sox bullpen keeps Astros in check

From the sixth inning on, the Red Sox bullpen combined to allow just one more run to the Astros, with Jose Altuve taking Darwinzon Hernandez deep to left field to make it an 8-7 contest in the top half of the sixth.

Besides that, Adam Ottavino tossed a scoreless top of the seventh with the help of an unconventional, inning-ending 2-3-4 double play, Josh Taylor continued to impress with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Matt Barnes closed things out in the ninth to seal a 12-8 victory for the Sox.

Getting going against Greinke

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a tough opponent in Astros right-hander Zack Greinke.

A string of three straight one-out singles in the bottom of the second got the scoring started for the Sox, with Christian Vazquez plating Rafael Devers from third for their first run of the night.

Enrique Hernandez followed by drawing a bases-loaded walk, while J.D. Martinez crushed a solo homer — his 13th of the year — and Vazquez knocked in another run on an RBI single in the third inning to put Boston ahead, 4-3.

Arroyo answers the call

After falling behind by three runs in the top half of the fifth, the Red Sox were able to respond right away by punishing Astros reliever Brandon Bielak in their half of the frame.

Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez both reached base on a pair of singles, which brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Christian Arroyo with two outs in the inning.

Arroyo came through in the clutch, as he demolished a hanging slider from Bielak and sent it flying over the Green Monster for his second big fly of the season — and his second against the Astros.

The 437-foot three-run shot knotted thing back up at seven runs a piece heading into the later innings.

Six-run sixth seals it

While the Astros briefly retook an 8-7 lead to begin things in the sixth, the Sox wasted no time in taking that lead back in the bottom half of the inning.

Enrique Hernandez led off with a double, advanced to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout, and scored on a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly that was dropped by Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker. 8-8.

A pair of walks drawn by Xander Bogaerts and Hunter Renfroe filled the bases for Christian Vazquez, who added on to a productive night at the plate by getting plunked by Astros reliever Enoli Parades to bring across yet another run.

Christian Arroyo followed suit by also getting beaned with a pitch to drive in Xander Bogaerts from third, and the Red Sox had a 10-8 lead just like that.

Following an Astros pitching change that saw Brooks Raley take over for Parades, Bobby Dalbec all but put this one to bed when he drilled a 106 mph double off the left field wall and scored both Renfroe and Vazquez in the process of doing so.

That bit of added insurance gave the Red Sox a commanding 12-8 lead, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score. Boston is now 38-25 on the season.

Next up: Bring on the Blue Jays

After halting a mini two-game losing streak, the Red Sox will welcome the 31-29 Blue Jays into town for a four-game weekend series that begins on Friday night and wraps around to next Monday.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the start for Boston in the series opener, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Ross Striping for Toronto.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Hirokazu Sawamura dealing with right hip soreness; stint on injured list a possibility, Alex Cora says

Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura has been dealing with soreness in his right hip and will not be available to pitch out of the bullpen in Thursday’s series finale against the Astros, manager Alex Cora said.

Per Cora, Sawamura first experienced discomfort in his hip during his most recent outing on Monday in which he worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in a a 5-3 win over the Marlins.

“There’s a few guys banged up, obviously,” Cora told reporters prior to Thursday’s contest at Fenway Park. “One of the guys that we’re paying attention to is Sawamura. He’s been sore from his last one, his right hip. So we got to see where he’s at. He’ll be down today.”

While the 33-year-old has been getting treatment on his sore hip this week, Cora did mention the possibility of a stint on the injured list for the right-hander if he is not ready to return to action in the coming days.

“We’ll see how he we feel about him in the upcoming days,” said Cora. “And if we have to make a move, maybe that’s the route we go.”

It turns out that the Red Sox did make a roster move to replenish their bullpen, though it did not involve Sawamura.

Boston recalled righty Brandon Brennan and optioned fellow right-hander Phillips Valdez to Triple-A Worcester on Thursday evening.

Under normal circumstances, Valdez would be required to spend at least 10 days with the WooSox, but as noted by OverTheMonster.com’s Matt Collins, “that restriction goes away if he replaces someone who hits the injured list.”

With all that being said, it’s still no sure thing Sawamura will end up on the injured list. That likely all depends on how the Japanese hurler respond to treatment.

“We’re not sure yet,” Cora said when asked if Sawamura is going to be placed on the IL. “We have to pay attention to his situation. He’s been down the last few, but he complained about it in the last outing. And he’s been getting treatment, but we have to know if he’s going to be available tonight, tomorrow, or when he’s going to be available, and we go from there.”

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Red Sox recall Brandon Brennan from Triple-A Worcester, option Phillips Valdez

Before wrapping up a three-game series against the Astros at Fenway Park on Thursday, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Brandon Brennan from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty Phillips Valdez was optioned down to the WooSox, the team announced Thursday evening.

The move to swap relievers comes at a time when the Red Sox bullpen has been heavily used as of late, and with Hirokazu Sawamuara dealing with right hip soreness, Boston opted to bring up a fresh arm in the form of Brennan.

Brennan, who turns 30 next month, was originally claimed off waivers by the Sox from the Mariners in early May, shortly after he was designated for assignment by Seattle.

While he was optioned to Worcester as soon as he was claimed by Boston, Brennan has gotten his 2021 season off to a solid start with the WooSox.

In eight appearances out of Worcester’s bullpen to this point, the 6-foot-4 righty has posted a 2.16 ERA and 3.65 xFIP to go along with 11 strikeouts and five walks over 8 1/3 innings of relief thus far.

Prior to joining the Red Sox organization this spring, Brennan spent parts of two big-league seasons with the Mariners in 2019 and 2020. He put up a 4.45 ERA, a 4.73 FIP, and a 54:29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 49 total outings spanning 54 2/3 innings of work.

The California native operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a changeup, a sinker, a four-seam fastball, and a slider, per Baseball Savant. He is known for his ability to induce swinging strikes.

A former fourth-round draft pick of the White Sox in 2012, Brennan was selected by the Mariners in the major-league phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, so he will join fellow Rule 5 draftee Garrett Whitlock in the Red Sox bullpen for the time being.

Valdez, meanwhile, was optioned to Triple-A Worcester after being used three times in the last four days.

On the 2021 season as a whole, the 29-year-old owns an ERA of 4.24 and FIP of 3.96 over 20 relief appearances (23 1/3 innings), though he has seen his numbers inflate as of late on account of the fact he has allowed at least one earned run in four of his last six outings.

(Picture of Phillips Valdez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo returns to Red Sox lineup for Thursday’s series finale against Astros

After missing the last two games due to back tightness, Alex Verdugo is back in the Red Sox’ lineup for Thursday night’s series finale against the Astros at Fenway Park.

Verdugo was held out of action the last two days on account of discomfort in his back that he first felt pop up on Sunday, but was able to play through on Monday.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had been confident that the outfielder would be able to return on Thursday after getting two consecutive days of rest, and that is now the case.

Verdugo will start in left field and bat out of the two-hole behind center fielder Enrique Hernandez, who returns to the leadoff spot for the first time since June 2.

Coming into play Thursday, the 25-year-is old is slashing .292/.351/.469 with eight home runs, 11 doubles, one triple, 26 RBI, 36 runs scored, 18 walks, and 28 strikeouts over 56 games played this season.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox (37-25) will be lining up behind Hernandez and Verdugo as they look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Astros (35-26).

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be making his 12th start of the season for Boston, and he will be opposed by veteran right-hander Zack Greinke making his 14th start of the season for Houston.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi surrenders 5 runs on season-high 11 hits as Red Sox fall to Astros, 8-3

The Red Sox’ problems against the Astros ensued at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Boston fell to Houston by a final score of 8-3 on Wednesday in the process of getting outhit 17-4.

With the loss, the Sox drop back down to 37-25 (1-5 against the Astros) on the season. They remain 1 1/2 games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Eovaldi gets bombarded

Nathan Eovaldi made his 13th start of the season for the Red Sox after missing the Astros in Houston last week.

Over 5 2/3 innings of work, the right-hander yielded five runs — all of which were earned — on a season-high 11 hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those five Astros runs came on a two-out ground-rule double in the top half of the second, while the majority of the damage was done an inning later.

A leadoff home run off the bat of Jose Altuve in the third set the tone for what would turn out to be a disastrous frame for Eovaldi, as he saw a 2-1 Red Sox lead turn into a 5-2 deficit after giving up three additional runs on three hits and a walk.

For how poorly as he pitched in the third, Eovaldi was able to rebound and — after escaping a bases loaded jam in the fourth — retired five of the six hitters he faced before issuing a two-out walk to Alex Bregman in the sixth. That would mark the end of his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 107 (74 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing one swing-and-miss and topping out at 99.9 mph with the pitch.

Ultimately falling to 8-3 on the season while raising his ERA to 4.11, Eovaldi’s next start should come against the Blue Jays on Monday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

After a busy Tuesday night, the Red Sox bullpen took over for Eovaldi with two outs in the top half of the sixth. Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call and sat down the only Astro he faced to end the inning.

From there, Garrett Whitlock surrendered one run on two hits and a sacrifice fly in the seventh, Phillips Valdez served up a two-run homer to Alex Bregman in the eighth, and Brandon Workman tossed a scoreless ninth to hold the Astros at eight runs.

Sox get out to early lead, then scuffle

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Astros starter Jake Odorizzi, who they got to for three runs in just three innings last Thursday.

Once more, the Sox were able to take advantage of Odorizzi early on Wednesday, with Xander Bogaerts and Hunter Renfroe each picking up an RBI in the first inning on a sacrifice fly and run-scoring single to give their side an early 2-0 lead.

While it looked like Boston could be on the verge of an offensive breakout, they were held in check the rest of the way.

Bogaerts provided the only other offense when he belted a 413-foot solo home run to lead off things off in the bottom half of the fourth.

Besides that, they went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left two men on base as a team in the process of falling to the Astros by a final score of 8-3.

Renfroe records seventh outfield assist, could have eight

In addition to notching his 26th RBI of the season on Wednesday, right fielder Hunter Renfroe also recorded his team-leading seventh outfield assist by gunning down Alex Bregman on a 98 mph dart to home plate in the first inning.

Renfroe very well could have picked up his eighth outfield assist of the year as well on a Myles Straw sacrifice fly in the seventh that allowed Michael Brantley to just barely score from third base.

His seven outfield assists are tied for the most in the major-leagues.

Next up: Greinke vs. Rodriguez in series finale

Looking to avoid getting swept at home, the Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound for Thursday’s series finale against the Astros at Fenway Park.

Rodriguez will be opposed by Astros ace right-hander Zack Greinke.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Matt Barnes open to in-season contract extension talks: ‘I’m sure that’s something that my agent and I can discuss and see if anything comes of that’

Matt Barnes has long been interested in remaining with the Red Sox past the 2021 season, when he is set to hit free agency for the first time.

Originally selected by Boston in the first round of the 2011 amateur draft out of UCONN, Barnes has spent the first 11 years of his professional career and first eight years of his big-league career with the Sox after debuting for them in 2014.

As he prepared for his eighth season in the majors this past spring, the right-hander and his camp were approached by the Red Sox about signing a potential contract extension with the club. The two sides also discussed an extension last spring before the COVID-19 pandemic-induced shutdown in March.

While contract extension talks are typically reserved for spring training and tabled as soon as the regular season starts, Barnes would be all for continuing those conversations with Boston in the coming weeks.

“I would be open to it,” Barnes said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Astros. “But I can tell you firmly nothing has happened. We haven’t had any discussions since spring training. So if the Red Sox want to make an offer and they want to start those conversations… then I’m sure that’s something that my agent and I can discuss and see if anything comes of that.”

In conversing with the Red Sox throughout spring training, Barnes did say that the talks were more than just those of the preliminary variety. Put another way, dollar figures were involved.

“There were numbers exchanged,” he said. “It was definitely serious enough. It wasn’t just a one or two phone calls and, ‘Hey, we’re interested,’ ‘Hey we’re interested,’ and that was the end of it.”

Barnes, who turns 31 next Thursday, is putting together a career year at just the right time. Through 26 relief appearances this season, the Red Sox closer has posted a 2.73 ERA and 1.36 FIP to go along with 47 strikeouts to just seven walks over 26 1/3 innings of work thus far.

One reason as to why Barnes has been so effective in 2021 is simply because he is throwing more strikes and is punching out more batters and walking less as a result of doing so.

Among qualified big-league relievers, Barnes comes into play Wednesday ranked second in strikeout percentage (49.5%), 49th in walk percentage (7.4%), ninth in batting average against (.136), first in expected ERA (1.33), first in xFIP (1.50), and first in fWAR (1.5), per FanGraphs.

“One of the things that he has done is actually throw more strikes this year,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora in regards to Barnes’ success. “Stuff-wise, very similar. His fastball is actually playing in the strike zone. I do believe the biggest adjustment that he has made is actually throwing competitive pitches.

“There were a lot of pitches whenever he went out there [before this season],” added Cora. “Now he’s more efficient — there’s quick innings. The fact that he can bounce back from that is a testament to where he’s at physically. We’re very happy with the way he is performing.”

If Barnes continues to impress with the way he has been pitching out of Boston’s bullpen, the 6-foot-4 hurler will certainly be in line for a hefty payday.

Whether that payday comes courtesy of the Red Sox or another team has yet to be determined. But in the meantime, Barnes is all ears when it comes to contract talks.

“Listen, I’ve always been a firm believer that listening to information is always free,” he said. “Whether that’s in baseball or life. Listening is free. … But as of right now, nothing has happened.”

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo out of Red Sox lineup for second straight night due to back tightness; outfielder expected back for Thursday’s finale against Astros

As they look to even their three-game series with the Astros at Fenway Park on Wednesday, the Red Sox will be without Alex Verdugo for a second straight night.

Verdugo has been dealing with back tightness the last few days, per Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The hope is that the outfielder will be ready to return for Thursday’s contest against Houston.

“He’s a little banged up,” Cora said of Verdugo when speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday’s game. “His back — he was tight on Sunday. Played on Monday. We decided to give him yesterday off. I talked to him yesterday during the game, and he felt like one more game will benefit him.

“So we’ll give him one more day,” added Cora. “He should be ready for tomorrow.”

Verdugo dealt with tightness in his back in early May as well, but only missed one game because of it.

The 25-year-old is hitting a sturdy .292/.351/.469 to go along with eight home runs, 11 doubles, one triple, 26 RBI, 36 runs scored, 18 walks, and 28 strikeouts over 56 games played so far this season.

With Verdugo out of the lineup, J.D. Martinez gets the start in left field and bats third, Enrique Hernandez gets the start in center field and bats ninth, and Hunter Renfroe gets the start in right field and bats fifth.

Danny Santana will hit leadoff and start at first base against Astros’ right-handed starter Jake Odorizzi. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind Santana.

Houston-area native Nathan Eovaldi will make his 13th start of the season for Boston. The veteran righty comes into play Wednesday sporting a 3.78 ERA and 2.40 FIP through 66 2/3 innings pitched on the year.

First pitch between the 34-26 Astros and 37-24 Red Sox on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)