Justin Masterson

Friday’s Red Sox-Astros matchups: Justin Masterson vs. Dan Straily

July 03, 2015 - 4:22 am

In the Red Sox' series opener with the Astros, Justin Masterson will get the ball for Boston while Dan Straily pitches for Houston. Masterson inspired confidence during his most recent trip to the mound, hurling five innings for the Sox on Sunday and holding the Rays to just one unearned run with six strikeouts and no walks. The start helped improve his season ERA to 5.58 and his record to 3-2, marking his first outing back up in Boston since May 12 when he gave up six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings to the A's. "The break was nice," Masterson said Sunday of his time in Triple-A Pawtucket. "We worked on some minor things, trying to get stronger, trying to get healthier and just hone in on the mechanics more. Tonight was just throwing strikes and that's the biggest thing and velocity was where it was. I just felt confident in everything that we had." Now in his eighth year as a major league pitcher, Masterson still hasn't recorded a start or appearance against the Astros, though he has faced a few current members of the team before. Houston is just one of three teams that the righty has yet to see, the other two being the Padres and the Rockies. Against the other teams of the AL West, Masterson has conceded 113 earned runs over 230 total innings for a 4.42 ERA and a 12-13 record. Straily has not made a start for the Astros yet this season, spending his time in Triple-A Fresno and posting a 4.06 ERA, a 6-6 record and 70 strikeouts over 77 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old is no stranger to the majors, though, as he pitched for the A's from 2012 to midway through last season, when he was traded to the Cubs. Straily made seven starts for Oakland in his first year with the team before becoming a full-time starter in 2013, recording a 10-8 mark with a 3.96 ERA in 152 1/3 innings. The right-hander was used as a bullpen arm after his first and only start in Chicago, appearing in seven total games for the Cubs. "He's got some experience to take from, he's gone down [to Fresno] and pitched very well, pitched deep into games," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday. "He's earned the opportunity. We've run through a number of starting pitchers so far, some we expected, some we didn't expect, but when we acquired Dan, we expected him at some point to contribute and now is his opportunity." Still, Straily has experience against the Sox, though it's limited to one start. On May 2 of last season he took the hill at Fenway Park and tossed 4 1/3 innings, surrendering two earned runs on four hits -- three of which were doubles -- as well as a trio of walks and strikeouts. It was his penultimate outing for Oakland, and he took the loss in what would end up being a 7-1 win for Boston. Astros vs. Masterson (RHP) Colby Rasmus (14 plate appearances): .154 AVG/.214 OBP/.308 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts Hank Conger (13): .273/.333/.364, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Chris Carter (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 strikeouts Luis Valbuena has one strikeout in two plate appearances against Masterson. Red Sox vs. Straily (RHP) Alejandro De Aza (7 plate appearances): .429 AVG/.429 OBP/.714 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Xander Bogaerts (2): .000/.000/.000 Jackie Bradley Jr. (2): 1.000/1.000/2.000, 2 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk David Ortiz (2): .000/.000/.000 Hanley Ramirez (2): .500/.500/1.000, 2 double, 1 RBI Mike Napoli has three strikeouts in five plate appearances vs. Straily, and Pablo Sandoval has one K in three plate appearances.