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Red Sox vs. Astros lineups: To trust in Masterson

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Or "to ask the impossible"

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off an unusually successful road trip, the Red Sox return to Fenway Park, where they will attempt to overcome the hurdle that is Justin Masterson on the mound in order to keep the good times rolling.

HOUSTON ASTROS BOSTON RED SOX
Jose Altuve - 2B Mookie Betts - CF
Preston Tucker - RF Brock Holt - 2B
Carlos Correa - SS Xander Bogaerts - SS
Luis Valbuena - 3B David Ortiz - DH
Evan Gattis - LF Hanley Ramirez - LF
Jonathan Singleton - DH Pablo Sandoval - 3B
Chris Carter - 1B Mike Napoli - 1B
Jason Castro - C Alejandro De Aza - RF
Alex Presley - CF Ryan Hanigan - C
Dan Straily - RHP Justin Masterson - RHP

In fairness to Masterson, it worked last time. Or, rather, Masterson did. Five innings, one unearned run, and a 5-3 Red Sox win, the result of a day that saw Masterson in far more control of his offerings than unusual. The issue, of course, lies in relying on him to produce that same level of control again. We can hope, but expecting a few weeks on the DL to produce a change that he's been in desperate need of for his entire career seems optimistic at best.

Perhaps more concerning than anything, though, is not Masterson starting, but Hanigan starting for him behind the plate. This will make it three games with Blake Swihart out of the starting lineup. Even as a fan of Ryan Hanigan, it's pretty hard to imagine it makes sense for the Sox to be pushing Swihart into a reserve role, especially given the steps he's taken at the plate of late.

This might not just be a matter of mismanagement, though. Rumblings abound that Swihart might be headed to the disabled list. We'll probably find out if that's the case sooner rather than later, but if it has nothing to do with injury, then Swihart's absence is troubling at best.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.

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