The Boston Red Sox will be without one of their best players when they wrap up their series against the New York Yankees on Thursday.
There’s good news and bad news as it pertains to today’s Boston Red Sox lineup.
A bit surprisingly, David Ortiz is expected to be in the lineup Thursday night. It was speculated that the 40-year old slugger could use a day off considering he had to be helped off the field last night after fouling a ball off the inside of his leg. X-Rays and a fluoroscan on his right shin turned up negative, allowing Red Sox fans to breath a sigh of relief. At the time it was feared to potentially be a more serious injury, but the Big Papi farewell tour will continue without a hitch.
The same can’t be said for Mookie Betts, who begins tonight’s game on the bench. Betts exited in the 8th inning last night with tightness in his right calf. The move is suspected to have been precautionary, so odds are the Red Sox are merely playing it safe with their budding young superstar to avoid a more serious injury.
Brock Holt, who replaced Betts last night, will get the start in right field. The versatile utility man is a mere 3-for-16 (.188) at the plate this month, dropping his season average down to .251 – the lowest it has been since July 1 when he returned from a roughly six week absence.
Dustin Pedroia will hit in the lead-off spot where we typically find Betts. The Red Sox experimented last night by moving Betts to the No. 3 spot, pushing Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts each up one spot in the order. Even without Betts in the lineup tonight, those two will continue to occupy the top two spots.
Here’s what the lineup looks like tonight for the Red Sox.
Tonight’s game was initially slated to be started by Steven Wright, but the knuckleball pitcher injured his shoulder diving back into second base as a pinch-runner during a game in Los Angeles over the weekend. Eduardo Rodriguez had his start bumped up to tonight, while Clay Buchholz will get a spot start Saturday.
With Buchholz unavailable out of the bullpen, the Red Sox have called up Roenis Elias to add a fresh arm to the team’s struggling group of relievers. After four relievers combined to cough up 8 runs to blow last night’s game, manager John Farrell will be eager to turn to just about anyone else.
The Red Sox have optioned Bryce Brentz back to Pawtucket to clear a spot for Elias, which leaves left field wide open for Andrew Benintendi to become the primary starter. The 22-year old phenom is living up to the hype so far, collecting 9 hits in his first 20 plate appearances for a scorching .450 batting average.
The bullpen was in need of reinforcements after last night’s meltdown, but sending Brentz down to the minors shows that the Red Sox have a lot of confidence in Benintendi after only a limited sample.
The downside of course is that it leaves the Red Sox with an extremely thin bench consisting of backup catcher Bryan Holaday, infielder Aaron Hill and a hobbled Betts, who isn’t expected to be available tonight.
The injury to Betts doesn’t appear to be serious, so there’s no indication that a lengthy absence should be expected. Looks like he he just needs a day off and could be back in there this weekend.