Red Sox’ Tanner Houck says he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he will not be eligible to pitch in Toronto

Red Sox starter Tanner Houck revealed to The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams on Sunday that he is not yet vaccinated against COVID-19. As a result, the right-hander will not be eligible to pitch against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The Red Sox will visit Rogers Centre for the first time this season later this month. Houck was in line to start the second of that four-game series on April 26, but will instead miss it due to his vaccination status.

“I think it’s a personal choice for everyone whether they get it or not,” Houck told McWilliams earlier Sunday morning. “So, that’s all I really got to say on it.”

Any individual traveling to Canada must be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Canadian government defines this individual as someone who has received at least two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Travelers must have received the second dose of Moderna/Pfizer or first dose of Johnson and Johnson at least 14 calendar days prior to entering the country.

For the Red Sox, these guidelines apply to their series against the Blue Jays in Toronto from April 25-28, June 27-June 29, and September 30 through October 2.

Besides Houck, it is already known that fellow Boston starter Chris Sale is not vaccinated against the virus. The left-hander is currently on the 60-day injured list as he continues to recover from a stress fracture in his right rib cage, so he was not going to be able to pitch in next week’s series north of the border anyway.

Still, unless either pitcher gets vaccinated or the Canadian government changes its rules, Houck and Sale will not be eligible to travel to or play in Toronto this season.

In Houck’s case, the 25-year-old hurler will be placed on the restricted list during the Sox’ series in Toronto. While away from the team, Houck will be placed on the restricted list and will not receive any pay or service time for the games he misses.

The Red Sox will, however, have the ability to replace Houck on the active roster while he is on the restricted list. Although the club has yet to announce who will take Houck’s turn in the starting rotation on April 26, it would not be surprising if that responsibility fell to Garrett Whitlock, who pitched in relief of Houck on Saturday.

“We knew it beforehand,” Sox manager Alex Cora said following Sunday’s 8-1 win over the Twins. “So, we’ll plan accordingly.”

As noted by McWilliams, Cora also indicated that Houck will not be the only player Boston places on the restricted list for their trip to Toronto. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “the identities of the others are unknown.”

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Chris Sale resumes throwing: ‘We’re in a good spot’

Red Sox ace Chris Sale threw at Fenway Park on Friday morning ahead of Boston’s home opener against the Minnesota Twins. When speaking with reporters afterwards, the left-hander estimated it was the fifth time he has thrown in the last week.

Prior to that, Sale had been shut down for an extended period of time after suffering a stress fracture in his right rib cage in late February. Since he has been able to get back to throwing, the 33-year-old is in better spirits than he was seven weeks ago.

“We’re in a good spot, obviously,” Sale said. “The worst part of it is time. The build back up is going to take a little bit of time just because I’ve got to get some innings and get my arm stretched out. We’re on the right path.”

The Red Sox placed Sale on the 60-day injured list before the regular season started, meaning he would not be eligible to pitch in a major-league game until June 6 at the earliest.

“The initial blow of this sucked but I’ve got to get over it and start getting back to what I do,” said Sale. “And that’s having fun, getting work in, and being a good teammate.”

Sale made the trip from Fort Myers to Boston to be with his teammates for Opening Day at Fenway Park. He is now pain-free, but understands the importance of exhibiting patience during this recovery period.

“For instance, I went out there and threw today and I feel like I could throw in a game,” Sale said. “But that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. That’s just me being a little overconfident or just being myself, honestly. I like playing. But I understand with this comes a certain level of work that has to be done before. You can’t just go run a couple of sprints and then be like, alright, we have to go run a marathon. I’ve got to get some practice in, I’ve got to get stretched out.”

Sale said he does not yet know when he will begin throwing bullpen sessions. And while the lanky lefty is still a ways away from returning to the mound with the Red Sox, he is undoubtedly excited to be back in Boston for now.

“I love this. I love playing baseball. I love being a member of a team,” said Sale. “It’s something that we’re fighting together for. These guys give me life, man. I’ve got more pep in my step today than I would have if I was down at JetBlue doing that. no offense to the guys down there. Love you guys. It’s just different. We have something going on here. It’s fun, talking trash, catching up with everybody, having some fun, and we’re at Fenway Park. Beautiful day out there. I love being around these guys. They help me.”

Information from The Boston Herald, MassLive, and MLB.com was used in this story.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox add Tyler Danish to major-league roster, place Chris Sale on 60-day injured list in series of moves

Following Monday’s 2-0 loss to the Twins at Hammond Stadium, the Red Sox announced that they had made a series of roster moves.

First off, right-hander Tyler Danish was selected to the major-league roster. In order to make room for Danish on the 40-man roster, left-hander Chris Sale was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right rib stress fracture.

Danish, 27, originally signed a minor-league deal with Boston that included an invite to major-league spring training back in February. The righty has posted a 1.50 ERA to go along with five strikeouts and two walks over five appearances (6 innings pitched) so far this spring.

A former second-round pick of the White Sox out of Durant High School in 2013, Danish debuted for Chicago in 2016 and spent three seasons with the club. The Florida native produced a 4.85 ERA (6.70 FIP) across 11 outings (one start) during that stretch, but has not pitched at the big-league level since 2018.

After being released by the Mariners in 2019, Danish spent the next two seasons pitching in independent ball before latching on with the Angels organization last year. He produced a 3.84 ERA across 32 appearances (three starts) between Double-A Rocket City and Triple-A Salt lake.

Listed at 6-feet and 200 pounds, Danish operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a curveball, a sinker, a changeup, a four-seam fastball, and a slider, per Baseball Savant.

With Danish making the Opening Day roster, the Red Sox created an open spot for the non-roster invitee by placing Sale on the 60-day injured list.

Sale, who turned 33 last week, has been sidelined since late February, when he suffered a stress fracture in his right rib cage while throwing a live batting practice session at his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University, during the MLB lockout.

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Sale has yet to start a throwing program since sustaining the injury, meaning he will not be ready for game action for quite some time. The Red Sox, in turn, have ruled their ace out until June 6 at the earliest since the 60-day injured list clock starts on Opening Day.

While Danish may have made Boston’s Opening Day roster, three other non-roster invitees in right-hander John Schreiber and outfielders Franchy Cordero and Rob Refsnyder were all reassigned to the minor-leagues.

Cordero and Schreiber have been with the Red Sox organization since last February, when the former was acquired from the Royals in the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City and the latter was claimed off waivers from the Tigers.

Refsnyder, on the other hand, inked a minors pact with Boston back in November and appeared to have a real chance to break camp with the big-league camp this spring as a right-handed hitting bench bat who can handle left-handed pitching.

Alas, neither Cordero, Refsnyder, or Schreiber made the team, though they are all expected to accept their assignments to Triple-A Worcester, according to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Elsewhere, the Red Sox transferred two of their top pitching prospects in Brayan Bello and Jay Groome from Triple-A Worcester to Double-A Portland. Both Bello and Groome are on Boston’s 40-man roster and were initially optioned to Worcester earlier this spring.

Rather than begin the 2022 season with the WooSox, though, the pair of young hurlers will return to the Sea Dogs’ starting rotation to kick off the minor-league campaign.

With Monday’s transactions made, the Red Sox now have 30 players at major-league spring training with only three days to go until Opening Day. Of those 30 players, only two non-roster invitees remain in veteran reliever Hansel Robles and corner infielder Travis Shaw.

Regardless of who and does not make the team from here, Boston still needs to trim down the size of their big-league roster to 28 players before taking on the Yankees in the Bronx on Thursday.

(Picture of Tyler Danish: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Red Sox ace Chris Sale’s MRI shows ‘some healing,’ Alex Cora says

Red Sox ace Chris Sale underwent an MRI on Thursday to evaluate how he is recovering from the stress fracture in his right rib cage. On Friday, Sox manager Alex Cora revealed that Sale’s MRI showed “some healing” when speaking with reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) at Charlotte Sports Park.

While there has been “some healing,” Cora also noted that there is still no timetable for when Sale could start throwing again. Rather than establishing a timetable, the next step will be to see how Sale feels symptom-wise in the coming days. From there, the Red Sox can then determine when exactly the veteran left-hander can get back on the mound.

Sale, who turned 33 on Wednesday, has been sidelined since suffering the rib injury while throwing at his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University, on February 24.

When speaking with reporters at the Fenway South complex on Tuesday, Sale indicated that he was in better spirits and was hopeful that he could begin his throwing program at some point next week.

“I think they want to get me past a certain point numbers-wise with weeks because with bones, it’s probably scheduled out,” Sale said. “I think they want to get me to a certain number before I start doing that just to really give it some time.”

Regardless of when Sale starts throwing again, the southpaw will still need a considerable amount of time to build back up before he is deemed ready to pitch at the major-league level.

With that, it might not be until May or later when Sale takes the mound for the Red Sox again. There are still plenty of hurdles he needs to clear before that can happen.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox ace Chris Sale could restart throwing program early next week as left-hander continues to recover from rib cage injury

Red Sox ace Chris Sale will not be ready for the start of the 2022 season. That much we know. The veteran left-hander is, however, in good spirits as he continues to recover from a stress fracture in his right rib cage that he suffered last month.

In a conversation with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers on Tuesday, Sale revealed that he is slated to restart his throwing program early next week.

As highlighted by Cotillo, the plan for Sale would be to start throwing on flat ground before doing so off a mound. From there, he would pitch in games at extended spring training or perhaps for one of Boston’s minor-league affiliates.

The Red Sox, for what it’s worth, are not providing a timetable for when Sale could potentially return to action at the major-league level. However, the fact that he is close to throwing again is certainly encouraging news for both player and club.

“For now, the plan is probably sometime early next week,” Sale said Tuesday. “I think they want to get me past a certain point numbers-wise with weeks because with bones, it’s probably scheduled out. I think they want to get me to a certain number before I start doing that just to really give it some time.”

Sale, who turns 33 on Wednesday, initially suffered the rib injury while throwing a live batting practice session at his alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University, on February 24. Due to the nature of the lockout, the Florida could not alert Red Sox coaches and staff of the injury until the work stoppage ended in early March.

It has been nearly five weeks since Sale first started feeling significant pain in the vicinity of his rib cage. At that time, the 32-year-old felt great discomfort whenever he would cough, laugh, or sneeze. Now, as noted by Cotillo, it is more of an annoyance than anything.

With that, Sale said he has been moving around more recently in an attempt to convince the Red Sox to let him throw. While that is currently on tap for next week, there is one more hurdle for the seven-time All-Star to clear, per Cotillo: “A series of tests to see how quickly he can rotate the affected area.”

If Sale passes those tests, his unspecified timetable could then come into focus. While nothing is definite yet, it is worth mentioning that the lefty does not feel as though he would have to completely restart his throwing program since he was already in a good place prior to the injury. If anything, this could just be a roadblock.

“I was in too good of a spot before all of this happened for me to feel like I’m starting back at zero,” said Sale. “I’m not starting back at 100 like if I came in here full systems go, but I’ve felt it coming back pretty quick, even through this process. I had a really good work schedule this off-season.”

To that end, Cotillo predicts that Sale could return to the Red Sox at some point in May. Until then, though, Boston will have to rely on the likes of Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Michael Wacha, and either Rich Hill or Garrett Whitlock to fill the void left by Sale for the time being.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Nathan Eovaldi named Red Sox’ Opening Day starter

For the third consecutive year, Nathan Eovaldi has been named the Red Sox’ Opening Day starter, manager Alex Cora announced on Wednesday.

The news comes after Cora revealed earlier this week that Eovaldi would make his first spring training start against the Rays on Friday, lining the right-hander up to get the Opening Day nod on regular rest against the Yankees in the Bronx on April 7.

Eovaldi, who turned 32 last month, is entering the final season of the four-year, $68 million contract he signed with the Red Sox in December 2018. He is coming off a career-best 2021 campaign in which he posted a 3.75 ERA and 2.79 FIP to go along with 195 strikeouts to 35 walks over 32 starts spanning 182 1/3 innings of work while also being named an All-Star for the first time and finishing fourth in American League Cy Young Award voting.

This off-season, Eovaldi spent his winter at home in Houston, throwing bullpens at least once a week to catcher Connor Wong. He did not face hitters during that time, but did so as part of a two-inning live batting practice session at Fenway South on Tuesday.

With that, Eovaldi is expected to go another two innings in his upcoming Grapefruit League start against Tampa Bay at JetBlue Park. The veteran hurler told reporters on Tuesday that he believes he can be stretched out to 100 pitches by the time his name is called on Opening Day.

Since Eovaldi is slated to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season, he was also asked about his future in Boston. The ACES client responded by saying he has spoken with his agents about exploring a new deal before the year is over.

“I’m very open to staying here with the Red Sox,” Eovaldi said. “I haven’t been in this situation. I usually try not to focus on it.”

As for how the rest of the Sox’ starting rotation will shake out to begin the year, Cora said Wednesday that it is still a work in progress. Chris Sale, of course, is out of the equation since the left-hander will miss the start of the 2022 season due to a stress fracture in his right rib cage.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox ace Chris Sale has stress fracture in right rib cage, will not be ready for start of 2022 season

Red Sox ace Chris Sale has a stress fracture in his right rib cage and will not be ready for the start of the season, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom announced on Wednesday morning.

Sale sustained the injury while throwing a live batting practice at his alma mater — Florida Gulf Coast University — last month. The soon-to-be 33-year-old felt the effects in the following days before meeting with Dr. Patrick Joyner, who diagnosed the stress fracture.

“I was throwing a live session over at FCGU, it was a Thursday and after that felt a little side discomfort, nothing too crazy — I didn’t think anything of it,” Sale explained. “Over the next handful of days, not only did it stick around, it kind of got worse.”

The live bullpen session in question was live streamed on Instagram. Not by Sale, who does not have any social media accounts, but by Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes.

“Probably a lot of you saw the live BP that was streaming on Instagram,” said Bloom. “Obviously we were not in touch with him at that time (because of the MLB lockout). Talking to him, that’s when this happened. That’s actually the last time that he threw. We found about it when we were able to get back in touch with him.”

Sale joked that his injury was the “curse of social media,” noting that “I get on social media for the first time and look what happens.”

As soon as the lockout ended last Thursday, Sale alerted the Red Sox of the injury in his first phone conversations with Bloom and manager Alex Cora. His timetable as of now has yet to be determined, but he will not be ready for Opening Day.

“We’re talking weeks, not days before we can get a baseball back in his hand,” Bloom said of Sale. “Obviously everything he does is rotational. … He’s doing a lot better now than when he first came in. But we don’t know (a timetable). We just know he’s not going to be ready for the start of the season.”

Sale himself seems optimistic about his recovery. Although disappointed by the prospect of another setback as he approaches the two-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery, the veteran lefty appears to be maintaining a positive outlook.

“I’ve never dealt with this, but I know bones take, what, six to eight weeks to heal,” he said. “That’s a pretty universally across-the-board timeline. I’m like a dog on a chain right now. I can’t wait to get off this thing. The last couple of years have sucked, and I’ve run into some pretty unlucky circumstances, but what can you do?”

(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Who is Jordan DiValerio? Red Sox pitching prospect walked just 5.1% of the batters he faced with Low-A Salem in 2021

Jordan DiValerio was one of 16 undrafted free agents the Red Sox signed in the wake of the pandemic-shortened 2020 amateur draft.

Two days before officially signing with the club, DiValerio received a phone call and recruiting pitch from Boston ace Chris Sale, which made the decision to put pen to paper that much easier.

“It was definitely really surprising,” DiValerio told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo at the time when describing his conversation with Sale. “It means so much to just be wanted by such a great organization.”

A right-handed senior coming out of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, DiValerio signed with the Sox for $20,000. Due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Nescopeck, Pa. native was unable to make his professional debut in 2020 since the minor-league season had already been cancelled.

Instead, DiValerio got his first taste of pro ball during fall instructs in Fort Myers. He took what he learned there into minor-league camp the following spring and opened the 2021 season with Low-A Salem.

In 31 appearances (one start) for Salem, the righty posted a 5.72 ERA and 4.21 FIP to go along with 72 strikeouts to just 16 walks over 72 1/3 innings of work. The length of his outings ranged from 2/3 of an inning to four full frames.

On the surface, a 5.72 ERA is not exactly an eye-popping statistic. But, in DiValerio’s case, his ERA does not tell the full story when you consider the fact that he also put up a 4.21 FIP and much more respectable 3.95 xFIP.

Among the 35 pitchers who accrued at least 70 innings in the Low-A East last year, DiValerio ranked ninth in FIP, seventh in xFIP, fourth in walks per nine innings (1.99), fourth in walk rate (5.1%), and seventh in swinging strike percentage (14.6%), per FanGraphs. The 24-year-old hurler also yielded a .347 batting average on balls put in play, which suggests he might have been the victim of some bad luck behind him.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, DiValerio throws from a high three-quarters arm slot and operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of an 89-92 mph that tops out at 94 mph, a 77-79 mph curveball, an 80-83 mph changeup and splitter, and an 82-84 mph slider, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Like fellow right-hander Devon Roedahl, DiValerio — who does not turn 25 until October — may not be regarded by any major publication as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. That being said, he is projected by SoxProspects.com to kick off the 2022 season in the bullpen for High-A Greenville.

As is the case with Roedahl, perhaps DiValerio can earn himself a promotion to Double-A Portland before the end of the year.

(Picture of Jordan DiValerio via his Instagram)

Red Sox’ offensive struggles continue in 9-1 blowout loss to Astros in Game 5 of ALCS

Momentum can be a fickle thing, particularly when it comes to postseason baseball.

Two days ago, it appeared as though the Red Sox had all the momentum after taking a two-games-to-one lead over the Astros in the American League Championship Series.

Less than 48 hours later, it is the Astros who now have all the momentum after they took their second straight game from the Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Boston fell to Houston by a final score of 9-1 in Game 5, which puts them in a three-games-to-two hole as this ALCS heads back to Houston.

Playing at Fenway Park for possibly the last time this year, the Red Sox got what they needed out of Chris Sale, though the left-hander’s final line may not reflect that.

Sale, making his third start of the postseason, allowed four runs — only two of which were earned — on three hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work.

After retiring the side in order to begin his day, Sale kicked off the top half of the second by serving up a towering solo shot to Yordan Alvarez on a first-pitch 94 mph heater that wasn’t in the strike zone.

Still, the Astros went up 1-0 on Alvarez’s home run, but Sale did not let that put a damper on things for him, as he rebounded and sat down the next seven batters he faced in order.

With one out in the fourth inning of what was still a one-run contest that favored Houston, Sale issued an eight-pitch walk to Alex Bregman that was followed by another hard-hit single from Alvarez that put runners at the corners.

Again, Sale did not back down and instead fanned Carlos Correa on three straight strikes before doing the very same to Kyle Tucker on four pitches to escape the jam.

Upon getting Tucker to fan on a 98.5 mph four-seam fastball — his fastest pitch of the night — that was up and out of the zone, an energetic Sale pumped his left fist, put his glove to his face, and let out a fiery scream while heading back to his dugout.

Sale’s evening was not done yet, however, as the lefty came back out for the fifth and put up another zero. At that point, Sale had gone through the dangerous Astros lineup twice and managed to avoid any serious damage aside from the Alvarez home run.

With his pitch count rising and Houston’s batting order flipping back over, Sale took the mound for the sixth and promptly issued a leadoff walk to Jose Altuve.

Michael Brantley then made matters worse when he reached base safely on a missed catch error committed by Kyle Schwarber at first base, which allowed Altuve to advance all the way up to third.

A groundout off the bat of Bregman moved Brantley up to second and kept the rally alive for Alvarez, who the Red Sox decided to pitch to despite first base being open.

Alvarez made Boston pay dearly for that mistake, as he proceeded to hit Sale hard yet again when he laced a two-run double down the left field line that plated both Altuve and Brantley.

Suddenly down 3-0, Sox manager Alex Cora quickly turned to his bullpen, giving Sale the hook in favor of Ryan Brasier. Brasier, in turn, yielded a two-out single to Tucker that put runners at the corners before Yuli Gurriel drove in another on an RBI double down the right field line.

Jose Siri made sure to keep it going by blooping a softly-hit two-run single to shallow right field that gave the Astros a commanding 6-0 lead before the sixth inning mercifully came to an end.

By the time the third out of the sixth was recorded, the book was officially closed on Sale’s outing while Brasier himself was charged with two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.

In the top of the seventh, Hansel Robles took over for Brasier, but was unable to get through the inning. The right-handed reliever yielded a leadoff single to Altuve and allowed the speedy second baseman to advance an additional 90 feet on a failed pickoff attempt.

Altuve then scored all the way from second on an RBI single off the bat of Brantley before Bregman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that was followed by a pitching change that saw Darwinzon Hernandez replace Robles.

Hernandez did what he was called upon to do by punching out Alvarez on six pitches to set the Red Sox up in the bottom half of the frame.

To that point in the night, the Sox lineup had been held in check by Astros starter Framber Valdez in the process of squandering several scoring opportunities.

After going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in Tuesday’s Game 4 loss to Houston, Boston had been no-hit by Valdez through four innings on Wednesday before Rafael Devers led off the bottom of the fifth with a sharply-hit single.

J.D. Martinez followed by taking a curveball off the knee that put runners at first and second for Hunter Renfroe, whose postseason struggles continued to drag on when he grounded into a soul-crushing 6-4-3 double play that ultimately stranded Martinez at third.

An inning later, the Sox had the chance to respond to the Astros’ five-run sixth when Christian Vazquez ripped a one-out double off Valdez. He, like Martinez, was left in scoring position after both Enrique Hernandez and Schwarber were sat down by the opposing left-hander.

This takes us to the aforementioned bottom half of the seventh. Shortly after Houston tacked on another run to their lead, Devers got that one run back immediately.

With one out and the bases empty, Devers stayed hot by unloading on a 1-0, 94 mph sinker on the inner half of the plate from Valdez and wrapped it 402 feet around Pesky’s Pole in right field.

Devers’ fifth homer of the postseason left the young slugger’s bat at a scorching 110.7 mph. It also trimmed Boston’s defecit down to six runs at 7-1.

Another walk drawn by Martinez kept the inning alive momentarily, but Renfroe followed by grounding into another twin killing that extinguished the threat.

In the eighth, after Hernandez and Hirokazu Sawamura somehow combined to toss a scoreless frame of relief, Valdez capped off his stellar day for Houston in the bottom half by sitting down the final three batters he faced in order.

Martin Perez then surrendered two additional runs to the Astros to begin the ninth, while Ryne Stanek retired the side in order to close this one out.

All in all, the Boston bats went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left two runners on base as a team in what will go down as a lopsided 9-1 defeat.

With this loss, which is their second straight, the Red Sox’ backs are now against the wall as they trail this best-of-seven ALCS, 3-2.

Next up: Eovaldi on top for Game 6 in Houston

The Red Sox will have Thursday off as they board a flight to Houston for the final leg of this championship series at Minute Maid Park.

On the brink of elimination, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston in Game 6 on Friday night. Houston, on the other hand, will turn to fellow righty Luis Garcia in what will be a rematch of Game 2 from last Sunday.

First pitch from Minute Maid Park on Friday is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. eastern time on FS1.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox lineup for Game 5 of ALCS vs. Astros: Kiké Hernández leading off, J.D. Martinez batting fifth

The Red Sox will look to bounce back from an unexpectedly lopsided 9-2 loss to the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday with a quick turnaround for Game 5 on Wednesday.

After Boston dropped Game 4 to Houston at Fenway Park, this best-of-seven ALCS is now tied up at two games apiece and has essentially turned into a best-of-three race.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Sox have given home-field advantage back to the Astros, as the series will definitely be heading back to Houston since it will be at least six games in length.

Wednesday’s clash between the Red Sox and Astros will feature a pair of left-handers getting the start for their respective clubs, with Chris Sale getting the ball for Boston and Framber Valdez doing the same for Houston in what will be a rematch of Game 1.

In Game 1 of this series at Minute Maid Park, Sale went just 2 2/3 innings while allowing one earned run on five hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with two strikeouts on 61 pitches (37 strikes).

Valdez, meanwhile, did not last long either, as he surrendered three runs — two of which were earned — on six hits (one home run), three walks, and two strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings of work.

Since a left-hander will be starting for the Astros, Sox manager Alex Cora has made some slight alterations to his lineup. For instance, the right-handed hitting Enrique Hernandez will be leading off in front of the left-handed hitting Kyle Schwarber.

J.D. Martinez, on the other hand, has been bumped up to fifth in the batting order, resulting in Alex Verdugo dropping down to the seven-hole behind Hunter Renfroe.

Christian Vazquez, who will be catching Sale, is batting ninth after second baseman Christian Arroyo. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind Sale:

First pitch from Fenway Park on Wednesday is scheduled for 5:08 p.m. eastern time on FS1.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)