Red Sox Thursday lineup drop magnifies injury and starting rotation concerns

Los Angeles Angels v Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Angels v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox's roster is a bit banged up, to say the least. The Red Sox have lost at least three players to injury at some point during their April 15-17 games against the Cleveland Guardians.

Both Nick Pivetta and Garrett Whitlock are on the injured list, which leaves the Red Sox with two starter spots to fill. On April 17, it'll be Brennan Bernardino. Manager Alex Cora has turned to the left-hander as an opener before — he opened six games for Boston last season.

Cooper Criswell will follow Bernardino on the mound. The 27-year-old was in contention for a starting rotation spot, but he was sent to Worcester to stay loose just in case the Red Sox needed a starter. Criswell posted a four-inning performance against the Angels on April 13, during which he fanned four batters, walked one and gave up a two-run homer for his only blemish of the game.

After a nasty collision between Tyler O'Neill and Rafael Devers in shallow left field on April 15, neither of the sluggers are in the lineup. Cora was hopeful that O'Neill would be able to play to finish out the series against Cleveland, but the outfielder will sit at least one more day.

Red Sox lineup features an opener, highlights injury concerns for Tyler O'Neill and Rafael Devers

Devers has been contending with a shoulder injury since spring training and he left the Sox's April 16 game due to knee pain. The third baseman felt well enough to slot in as the designated hitter on Wednesday night night, but the Red Sox will not take any chances with him in the series finale.

Connor Wong has been swinging a hot bat recently. The catcher has three homers in his last five games and he'll get a chance for more as the Red Sox's DH.

After their final game with Cleveland at 1:35 p.m. ET at Fenway, the Red Sox will travel to Pittsburgh for a three-game series with the Pirates. That series will end a 13-day stretch of games for Boston and it will get a much-needed day off on April 22, which will hopefully give them a reset of sorts.

More Red Sox reads: