Which Clay Buchholz will take the mound Friday night at Fenway Park?
Will it be the guy who tossed eight innings and retired 11 in a row last Saturday against the Angels or will it be the pitcher who allowed seven runs in five innings in both starts before it?
The Red Sox are hoping for the former takes the mound against the Astros.
"Clay has shown the ability to adjust and get back on track," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Ideally, you'd like to see the consistency, but when it ebbs and flows, he's shown the ability to get back on track."
In games Buchholz has found success, it's come from his ability to command his curveball and trust his fastball earlier in counts.
"That was something that hadn't been the case in his three previous starts," Farrell said. "Those will be the two things we'll look at going forward."
Meanwhile, Dallas Keuchel gets the nod for the Astros, looking to rebound after a discouraging loss to the Rangers on Sunday. In the contest, he allowed five runs on six hits in six innings of work. What made the outing so perplexing is that Keuchel retired the first 10 batters he faced.
"Usually, if I have a good feeling early in the game, that sets it up for later," Keuchel said. "I haven't really lost that feel in a while, and that was just the most frustrating part about it. I felt like I was in control and just lost control."
It marked just one of the rough starts Keuchel's had since the All-Star break. He's gone 2-5 with a 4.14 ERA in nine starts, including two complete games. The left-hander's also allowed 72 hits in 58 2/3 innings during the stretch.
In his first appearance at Fenway Park, Keuchel will look to get Houston its first win at the historic confines. With a 9-4 loss on Thursday night, the Astros are 0-8 all-time at Fenway.
"I'm just trying to do the same routine I've been doing all this year and we'll get after it tomorrow," said Keuchel.
Astros: Dominguez is Houston's iron man
Third baseman Matt Dominguez started his 73rd consecutive game on Thursday, the longest stretch on the team. He has started all but five of the team's games at third base and hasn't had a day off since May 23.
Dominguez went 2-for-4 in Thursday's game, clubbing a two-run blast in the fourth inning. It marked his 14th homer of the season.
"I don't think fatigue is a problem," manager Bo Porter said. "If I thought fatigue was a problem, we would give him a break. It's not like speed is a part of his game."
Red Sox: Cespedes back in lineup
A day after he left mid-game with a bruised right hand, Yoenis Cespedes returned to play left field and bat cleanup for the Red Sox in Thursday's series opener against the Astros.
"Yeah, and honestly, he could have continued on yesterday, but for precautionary reasons, we just got him out of there," Farrell said. "We don't anticipate any issues as he goes through BP here today, so he's back in there."
Cespedes hit homers in the eighth inning on Sunday in Anaheim and Tuesday at Cincinnati to help win games. He went 0-for-5 in Thursday's game.
• The next time David Ortiz goes yard, it will mark his 400th career home run with the Red Sox. He'll become the 25th player in big league history with 400 home runs with one team and the third with the Red Sox. The other two are Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452).
• Keuchel leads the Majors with a 3.21 ground ball-to-flyball ratio.
• The Astros are shooting for win No. 51 on Friday, which would tie their season total from a year ago.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.