Astros-Red Sox Preview
At 37 years old, David Ortiz isn't getting any younger. The eight-time All-Star, though, still has plenty left in the tank.
While an Achilles injury kept him sidelined for most of the second half of 2012 and the start of this year, it hasn't taken long for Ortiz to heat up. The slugging designated hitter has hit safely in each of his six games since returning from the disabled list last Saturday, collecting 12 hits in 24 at-bats.
Ortiz kept things going Friday with his second homer in as many nights, helping lead Boston to a 7-3 win.
"I've been working, just like to stay short and quick to the ball, not trying to do too much," said Ortiz, batting .460 during an 18-game hitting streak dating to July 2. "And I always tell you guys, I'm old enough to know what it takes for me to be what I want to be."
Besides Ortiz, backup catcher David Ross went deep twice and Will Middlebrooks added his sixth homer as Boston collected a season-high 17 hits.
"It seems like with this team, it's been somebody else every night," Ross said. "I'm excited to be part of this team."
Batting .355 during a three-game winning streak, Boston (16-7) - which has taken 11 of 14 - is two wins shy of tying the club record for April. The Red Sox, who are 12-0 when scoring first, posted 18 wins in April 1998 and 2003.
The Astros (7-16) went 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position Friday while suffering their seventh consecutive road loss. Houston, which has been outscored 45-20 during its skid, is a major league-worst 23-68 as the visiting team since the start of 2012.
"Never have I seen, and I don't think we will see, these guys fold at any point," manager Bo Porter said as Houston dropped to 0-5 all-time at Fenway. "They're resilient all the way to the end."
Looking to add to the Astros' woes is Felix Doubront (2-0, 4.32 ERA), who's on the verge of winning a career best-tying third consecutive start. After giving up two runs over five innings in a 7-2 victory at Cleveland on April 16, the left-hander yielded three in a season-high 6 2-3 innings during Monday's 9-6 win over Oakland.
While Doubront struck out 15 and allowed seven hits in those outings, he issued nine walks - including a career worst-tying five Monday.
"I feel good. I was throwing the ball real good. My arm feels a lot easier throwing the ball," Doubront, who won three consecutive starts May 7-17, told MLB's official website.
Doubront will be making his first appearance against the Astros, who counter with Brad Peacock (1-2, 7.50). The right-hander is coming off an outing to forget, surrendering career highs of seven runs, nine hits and three homers over 4 1-3 innings of Monday's 7-1 loss to Seattle.
"I didn't have it," he said. "I was getting behind in the count. I've got no excuses. I just have to keep working. I need to get ahead. I fell behind on almost everybody."
Boston outfielder Shane Victorino is expected to miss a third straight game due to lower back troubles.