The Boston Red Sox will have designated hitter J.D. Martinez back in the lineup when they open their series against the Houston Astros.
He’s back! After missing the last four games with a combination of illness and back soreness, J.D. Martinez will return to the Boston Red Sox lineup for Friday night’s series opener in Houston.
Martinez will serve as the designated hitter in the familiar cleanup spot. The Red Sox cycled different players through the DH spot during their four-game series in Toronto, giving a few of their regulars a partial day of rest. His absence led to manager Alex Cora deploying some creative lineups but today’s batting order is similar to what we’ve been accustomed to this season.
One of the few exceptions is that Andrew Benintendi remains in the No. 6 spot with Michael Chavis leading off. It remains to be seen how much longer this trend will continue but Cora is sticking with this swap with the Astros sending lefty Wade Miley to the mound.
Martinez doesn’t have much of a track record against Miley but he has homered against him and he has historically feasted on lefties to the tune of a .304 average and .948 OPS in his career.
You would expect Martinez to be motivated any time he faces an Astros team that prematurely gave up on him after a few underwhelming seasons to begin his career but he actually hasn’t found much success against his former club. He’s hitting .250 with a .727 OPS in 32 career games against Houston.
He did get his revenge with a solo home run that put Boston on the board in the decisive Game 5 of last year’s ALCS though.
Martinez was a mere 1-for-10 with a double and a lone RBI against the Astros when they visited Fenway last week. That was also the last time we saw Martinez in the lineup.
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Martinez is on his way to another excellent season. He enters the day sporting a .308/.390/.521 slash line with 9 home runs and 29 RBI.
His power has come along a bit slowly but he’s already crushed five homers this month, despite missing the last few games. We saw the home runs come in bunches last season once the weather warmed up and this year should be no exception, so long as he isn’t hindered by any lingering back soreness.
The Red Sox are looking to avenge last weekend’s series when the Astros took two out of three in Boston. Their lone win came in the finale last Sunday with Chris Sale on the mound, although the ace was uncharacteristically wild. Sale lasted only 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and a season-high five walks. The team needs a better performance from the lefty this time as the series shifts to Houston’s turf.
Boston will need to be at their best for this pivotal series against another American League powerhouse. That means having Martinez anchoring their lineup, so his return couldn’t have come at a better time.