HOUSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox will turn to the team’s most reliable arm Friday night in hopes of extending the ALCS against the Houston Astros. Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball in Game 6, looking to send Boston and Houston to a deciding Game 7 on Saturday night.

Pressure? There is plenty of it on Boston’s plate. But the Red Sox righty loves it, and can’t wait for his opportunity on Friday night.

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“I love it. I feel like this is what everybody wants to do,” he said of his must-win start in Game 6. “Every guy in the locker room wants to be able to start [Friday] and be able to be in this situation, and I’m thankful that I get to be here and be able to do it. There’s just something about when everything is on the line, and I think it brings the best out of us.”

Eovaldi was a postseason hero for Boston during the team’s World Series run in 2018, earning a win and a hold in the ALCS against the Astros that October. And he’s been just as solid this postseason.

He won the Wild Card game against the Yankees, allowing just one run over 5.1 innings, and started Boston’s Game 3 win over the Rays in the ALDS, allowing two runs over five innings against Tampa Bay.

Eovaldi then came through in Game 2 against the Astros with 5.1 innings to earn his second win of the postseason, but was tagged with the loss in Game 4 after his appearance out of the bullpen went south. It wasn’t all Eovaldi’s fault — thanks, Laz Diaz — but the righty allowed four runs while recording just two outs on Tuesday night.

Now he’s set to start a win-or-go-home Game 6 for Boston on just two days rest. He didn’t need much rest during the 2018 playoffs, serving a pivotal role as Alex Cora’s “rover” throughout that postseason, and he’s confident that he’ll be firing on all cylinders Friday night in Houston.

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“I think having the two days in between definitely helps. I took [Wednesday] off. I didn’t really throw. Made sure I was nice and recovered,” Eovaldi said Thursday. “I feel great. I don’t think there’s any limitations. My arm feels good, and mentally I’m going to be ready and prepared.”

Given this will be his third time seeing the Astros this postseason — and fourth overall this year — he has a pretty good feel for what he needs to do against Houston potent offense.

“Staying aggressive, not falling behind in counts. I feel like whenever you fall behind in a count with these guys, they’re able to do damage, and they do a really good job of passing the at-bats on to each other,” he noted. “There’s not an easy out in the lineup, for sure. It’s going to be making sure I stay ahead in the count and stay on the attack and try to keep the crowd out of the game.”

The Red Sox have their backs against the wall after dropping two straight at Fenway Park. Now they have to win two straight at Minute Maid Park if they want their postseason to continue.

“I’m extremely confident. Everybody is a little frustrated with the way we’ve been playing lately,” said Eovaldi. “We know it’s not the way we are capable of playing, and we know where we’re at in the standings, and everything that’s on the line for this game.

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“It’s do or die,” he added. “You either win or you go home. Nobody is ready to go home right now, and we’re going to be ready to go [Friday].”

CBSBoston.com Staff