Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The defending World Series champion Houston Astros will be facing elimination Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the ALCS.

That’s the bad news. The good news? Houston will have former AL MVP Jose Altuve back in the field at second base after being relegated to designated hitter duties over the past two games.

Altuve has been dealing with a nagging knee injury and hasn’t looked anywhere near 100 percent. In talking about his star infielder, Astros manager A.J. Hinch noted that Altuve is essentially playing on one leg and wouldn’t be suiting up if this were a mere regular season game.

Despite seeing Boston boast MLB’s best record during the regular season, Houston was odds-on favorites to repeat as champs. Now, in a 3-1 series hole, the hope here is that Altuve can spark his team.

He almost did just that in Game 4 Wednesday night. Unfortunately, a questionable fan interference call from umpire Joe West robbed Altuve of a two-run homer.

Altuve, 28, is hitting just .250 in 16 at-bats thus far in the series. The Astros need him to tough it out and perform well against David Price and the Sox on Thursday evening in Houston.