Newbies help buoy Astros entering series with Red Sox (Jun 16, 2017)

BY AP • June 16, 2017

HOUSTON -- It was one game, but the performances of rookies Derek Fisher and Francis Martes bode well for the Houston Astros as they dash headlong into the heat of the summer short-handed in the field and on the mound.

Fisher finished 2-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs on Wednesday night, homering for his first career hit in the Astros' 13-2 romp over the Texas Rangers. Martes, meanwhile, worked five strong innings in his first career start, allowing one run, three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts to get the win.

The Astros (45-22) are sure to need both in the foreseeable future, Fisher in particular, as they open a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox (37-29) on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

Fisher had his contract selected from Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday as a reward for his production and to replace injured veteran outfielder Josh Reddick, who is on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

With Dallas Keuchel (neck), Lance McCullers (back) and Charlie Morton (shoulder) all on the disabled list, the Astros appear set to hand Martes a second turn through the rotation. Even after signing key veterans during the offseason to positive results, the Astros remain committed to their prospects. Martes and Fisher are ranked first and fourth among the Astros' prospects.

"We always have to remember who we are and we're always going to be an internal team first," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's exciting when you make trades; it's exciting when you sign free agents. We've seen a lot of that over the last couple years while I've been here. But we have to remember our core has come from internal (development).

"(Carlos) Correa, (Alex) Bregman, (George) Springer, (Jose) Altuve, Keuchel, McCullers: These guys that came up through the system are internal players, and you've got to feed your team from within when you can and when they're the best available option.

"Getting a short stint or a long stint of these young players to get accustomed to the big leagues, reintroduce themselves to some guys they played with in spring training, can pay dividends later."

Right-hander Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.29 ERA) will start the opener for the Astros. With the rotation collapsing all around, Fiers has been at his best, going 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts. Fiers is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two career games (one start) against Boston.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.48) will start for Boston, which had won five of six before a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday. Before allowing six runs (five earned), eight hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings in an 8-3 loss to Detroit in his last start, Pomeranz was 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in the three preceding starts. He is 1-2 with a 4.73 ERA in 10 career games (five starts) against Houston.

With left-hander Chris Sale twirling a complete game in the loss at Philadelphia, the Red Sox were able to spare their bullpen in advance of their first meeting with the Astros this season. Given the potency of the Houston lineup, that represented a silver lining in the setback.

"Well, any day you get a day off, it's a benefit," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We're going to go up against a good lineup -- we know that."

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