The Houston spark plug hit his first home run of the season Saturday, so it's encouraging to see him follow it up with another shot Sunday. His five-category production is especially tough to find at the keystone position, and Altuve is well on his way to another sterling fantasy campaign with 11 runs, two homers, seven RBI, seven stolen bases and a .324/.393/.459 slash line.
Kyle Seager was a late scratch with a sore hip, so Freeman will enter the lineup for the second time in as many days. Freeman has gone just 2-for-14 at the dish this season and could be back in a bench role as soon as Tuesday's series opener against the Tigers, so it probably won't be worthwhile to track his performance in Sunday's contest.
Espinosa has gone 0-for-11 with five strikeouts over the last three games, so manager Mike Scioscia will give the veteran a rest for just the second time all season. Cliff Pennington will fill in at second base and bat ninth in the order.
It's the fourth start in a row for Goins, who looks poised to hold down a full-time role in the short term following Troy Tulowitzki's (hamstring) placement on the disabled list Saturday. Goins has shown some decent plate discipline in the past, but with little power or speed to speak of and a career .224 batting average, there's little fantasy upside to be mined here.
With Alex Gordon struggling to provide much of an impact at the top of the order, manager Ned Yost will give Merrifield a look in the leadoff spot, though it's unclear if the experiment will last more than one game. Even if Merrifield is moved down in the order in subsequent contests, he at least seems to have a steady hold on the everyday gig at second base with Raul Mondesi having been banished to Triple-A Omaha. Through five games since he was promoted to the big leagues, Merrifield has gone 5-for-15 with a homer, stolen base and two RBI.
The veteran infielder has now gone 6-for-12 with two doubles and four runs over his last three games. Lowrie's current three-game hitting streak follows a brief 0-for-6 stretch that encompassed a pair of outings, and he's now reached safely in nine consecutive games.
It looks as though manager Terry Francona is just giving Kipnis a precautionary rest after the 30-year-old returned from the disabled list Friday and started the first two games of the series. Kipnis only went 1-for-7 with a walk in those contests, but with no indication that his shoulder presented any problems, it shouldn't be long before he's back to providing his usual blend of pop and speed in the top third of the lineup. Michael Martinez will replace Kipnis at second base Sunday.
Pedroia will miss his second straight game Sunday against the Astros while he deals with swelling and soreness in the knee and ankle, and there seems to be some growing fear that he could require a trip to the disabled list. The Red Sox initially hoped that Pedroia would only need a day or two to recover from the injury he suffered Friday night, but his swelling hasn't subsided to the extent the team expected. Monday's MRI should provide the Red Sox with a better idea of the extent of Pedroia's injury, but if it's determined that a DL stint is necessary, Marco Hernandez would likely take over as the club's everyday second baseman with Brock Holt (vertigo) and Josh Rutledge (hamstring) also sidelined.
Pedroia will miss a second straight game due to a knee injury suffered under controversial circumstances Friday night. Marco Hernandez will replace him in the lineup at second base. With an off day Monday, Pedroia will have three-plus days to get ready for Tuesday's series opener against the Yankees.
After turning in a solid campaign in 2016 (82 runs, 25 home runs, 82 RBI and a .267/.298/.454 slash line), Schoop is off to a nice start this season. He's remained an excellent contributor in the counting stats (10 runs, four homers and 10 RBI) and has shown improvement across his slash line with .291/.333/.564 marks. The keystone is a deep fantasy position, but Schoop has the upside to be a mid-tier option going forward.