J.D. Martinez Batting Cleanup, Starting in Right Field for Red Sox in Players’ Weekend Opener Against Padres

After walking off the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, the Red Sox open up an eight-game, three-city west coast trip on Friday night, beginning with the first of three against the 59-67 San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

So far this season, the Sox are an underwhelming 3-7 in interleague play, with two of those losses coming this past week at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Since these three games will be played at a National League ballpark, Boston loses the designated hitter, meaning J.D. Martinez will slide over to right field and bat out of the cleanup spot for the series opener against the Pads on Friday.

In 17 games as a right fielder so far this year, the recently turned 32-year-old slugger is slashing .319/.397/.638 with six home runs and 12 RBI over 78 plate appearances.

With that move to the outfield for Martinez, Mookie Betts slides over to center and Andrew Benintendi remains in left, while Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the night off.

As the above tweet indicates, Friday is also the opening night of Players’ Weekend 2019, a weekend where the Red Sox have yet to win a single game since its inception in 2017.

Yup, they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles at home in 2017, and swept on the road by the Tampa Bay Rays last year, which marked the only time they were swept over the course of a dominant 2018 campaign.

The Red Sox are 4-2 all-time against the Padres at Petco Park, winning series’ there in both 2007 and 2016.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Eduardo Rodriguez going against Chris Paddack.

Also, here are some of the cleats different Red Sox will be sporting this weekend.

Brock Holt Comes Through in Clutch with 10th Inning Walk-Off Single as Red Sox Top Royals in Game That Started and Was Suspended on August 7th

It took all of 12 minutes, but the Red Sox picked up where they left off two weeks ago and walked off the Kansas City Royals in a 5-4 extra-innings win on Thursday afternoon.

In a game that initially began on August 7th and went into extras knotted at four runs apiece, weather delayed and eventually suspended play at around 12:40 AM the next morning.

Left-hander Josh Taylor was on the mound for Boston at that time of the delay, down in a 2-1 count against Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria.

Fast forward to Thursday, and Taylor began things the same way, except against the pinch-hitting Nick Dini for Kansas City.

The 26-year-old got the first out of the 10th on a first-pitch lineout off the bat of Dini before punching out the next hitter he faced and getting the last, Bubba Starling, taking the place of current Atlanta Brave Billy Hamilton, on a grounder to short to retire the side.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 13 (seven strikes), Taylor topped out at 94.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw five times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually earning his first career winning decision this one, Taylor has proven to be quite the asset out of the Red Sox bullpen this season. In his last 15 appearances, he owns an ERA of 1.76 to go along with 20 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Royals left-handed reliever Richard Lovelady to kick off the bottom half of the 10th.

An Andrew Benintendi strikeout and Christian Vazquez first-pitch double, followed by a change that saw Chris Owings take over for Vazquez at second, brought the pinch-hitting Sam Travis to the plate, who was intentionally put on first with Brock Holt due to hit for Boston.

Holt made the Royals pay dearly for that decision though, as the Jimmy Fund captain took the third pitch he saw from Lovelady, a 1-1, 88 MPH slider on the outer half of the plate, and laced a game-winning RBI single down the left field line to drive in Owings and send everyone home happy with a 5-4 victory.

Some notes from this win:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

It took more than two weeks, but the Red Sox were at last able to take the three-game set from the Royals to improve to 68-61 on the year.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another three-city west coast road trip, beginning with a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Friday.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the ball in the opener for Boston, while rookie right-hander Chris Paddack will do the same for San Diego.

Rodriguez was borderline brilliant in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles, tossing 7 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in a shutout win.

In his career in interleague play, the 26-year-old owns a lifetime 3.61 ERA and .257 batting average against over 13 starts and 77 1/3 innings pitched. He is also a lifetime 0-for-13 hitter with one seven strikeouts and one sacrifice bunt.

Paddack, meanwhile, has had an impressive rookie campaign overall, but has struggled a bit since the All-Star break, posting a 4.96 ERA and .223 batting average against over his last six starts and 32 2/3 innings of work.

Against American League clubs this season, the 23-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts and 17 1/3 total innings pitched against the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and Baltimore Orioles.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to snap a two-game losing streak, technically.