Meanwhile, Porter's first season resembles the two years prior to his arrival, with the Astros careening toward another 100-loss season.
It makes for an interesting matchup so late in the season, as the Astros are calling up nearly every major talent from their farm system lately while Farrell and the Sox have winning now as the top priority.
"I don't know if it's pressure," Farrell said. "There's a need to win every night. You balance on-field results with making sure guys get ample rest, because we feel like the intensity we have to play with tonight is going to be the case through the remainder of the season."
Porter has repeatedly said that the Astros are getting a chance to evaluate players throughout their organization, which is admittedly different from the day-to-day grind of a pennant race.
"I'm focused on what this organization can accomplish, and what we're doing now, evaluating these young guys who are answering questions, is a part of the success we expect to see down the road," Porter said. "I can't speak to what John is feeling over there. I know how exciting these two months can be if playoffs are a possibility."
Porter coached Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes during the 2011 season in Washington, and Gomes said he has a "lot of respect" for the rookie manager. However, that didn't leave any room for sympathy.
"I have a lot of emotions for this team, but I don't have much emotion to feel bad for anyone [else]," Gomes said. "I had the worst record in baseball in 2007 [with Tampa Bay] and in 2008 we went to the World Series. [Oakland] won the AL West last year with a $41 million payroll. It's possible to win if you're in the big leagues. Bo knows it can turn quick."
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.