Red Sox Lineup: Xander Bogaerts Sits, Tzu-Wei Lin Gets Start at Shortstop in Series Opener Against Mets

As the Red Sox look for their first victory in five days, they will be without arguably their best all-around player in Xander Bogaerts against the Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday night.

According to manager Ron Roenicke, Bogaerts is still sore from the play he made in the first inning of Monday’s loss to New York when he dove to tag out Amed Rosario in between second and third base.

On said play, Bogaerts said postgame that he jammed his back, neck, and hips. Despite getting that roughed up so early on, he still managed to hit a home run in the sixth inning on Monday and also played Tuesday’s game in its entirety.

Fortunately, Bogaerts’ absence is only expected to last one game. Tzu-Wei Lin will start at shortstop in his place and bat out of the nine-hole against Jacob deGrom and the Mets on Wednesday. Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox are lining up behind right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. Andrew Benintendi is back in the leadoff spot and Kevin Pillar is sitting:

In two career starts against the Sox, deGrom, who was won back-to-back National League Cy Young Awards, is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA and a .188 batting average against over 13 innings pitched.

Among the hitters in Wednesday’s Red Sox lineup, Jose Peraza is the only one who has ever faced the Mets ace before and is 4-for-14 off him lifetime.

As for Eovaldi, the owner of Boston’s lone winning decision thus far has made four career starts at Citi Field and owns a lifetime 3.05 ERA at the venue over 20 2/3 total innings of work.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Looking forward to watching J.D. Martinez serve as designated hitter in a National League ballpark.

 

Red Sox Release Schedule for 2021 Season

Less than three full days after releasing its 2020 schedule, Major League Baseball released 2021 schedules for all 30 major-league clubs on Thursday.

For the Red Sox, if all goes according to plan, they will open the season up against the Orioles for the second straight year at Fenway Park on April 1st, the first of three games over a four-day stretch. In other words, Opening Day next year is set for April 1st, and according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, all teams will begin their 2021 season on the same day for the first time since 1968.

Boston’s first road trip of the year will feature match-ups against the Orioles and Twins, while the club’s first interleague bout will take place later in April against the Mets in Queens.

Speaking of the Mets, the Red Sox’ interleague opponents will be the teams that comprise the National League East for the second consecutive year.

They play the Mets in New York in late April, the Phillies in Philadelphia and the Braves and Marlins at Fenway in late May, the Braves in Atlanta in June, the Phillies at Fenway right before the All-Star break in July, and the Nationals in the nation’s capital to close out the campaign in early October.

Other notable schedule highlights include:

A Patriots’ Day matchup against the White Sox on April 19th to close out a four-game set at home.

A four-game series against the Rangers at brand-new Globe Life Field in Arlington in late April/early May.

10 straight games against the Astros and Yankees beginning on May 31st (Memorial Day) and ending the evening of June 10th.

Yankees’ first trip to Fenway Park comes in late June.

An Independence Day match-up against the Athletics in Oakland, part of a six-game west coast road trip against the A’s and Angels.

18 straight games without a day off against divisional opponents coming out of the All-Star break and going into August.

Last two home series of the season come against New York teams, followed by a six-game Beltway road trip with stops in Baltimore and D.C. to close out the season, as previously mentioned.

All in all, the Sox will be aiming to play 162 games in 186 days beginning next April. Of course, there’s still a 2020 season to worry about first. You can read about that schedule here.

Red Sox’ 2020 Schedule Revealed

If Major League Baseball is to be played in 2020, the Red Sox will play 60 games in 65 days against American and National League East opponents beginning on July 24th.

The league released this year’s schedules for all 30 clubs on Monday evening via an MLB Network TV special. Here’s how the Red Sox’ season will go over the next two-plus months:

First off, the Sox will open the truncated season with a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. In other words, Boston’s home opener will be on July 24th with first pitch at 7:30 PM eastern time.

From there, the homestand continues with a two-game interleague series against Rick Porcello and the Mets before the club embarks on a seven-game road trip that includes stops in both Queens and the Bronx as well as Tampa Bay.

The Sox’ first set of road games will be followed by a seven-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Rays before again facing off against the Yankees in a four-game set in New York.

Boston’s final trip to Yankee Stadium will be succeeded by a quick two-game series against the Phillies at Fenway and a lengthy trip to Baltimore and then Toronto for seven games against the O’s and Jays.

After getting back home to Boston from Toronto, the Sox will get to enjoy their longest homestand of the season, a 10-gamer in which the club will host the defending World Series champion Nationals, the Braves, and Blue Jays in three separate series.

As it turns out, that homestand comes immediately before the longest roadie of the 2020 campaign, a nine-game venture that features match-ups against the Phillies, Rays, and Marlins in that order. In other words, a trip to southeastern Pennsylvania will be followed by a week-long stay in Florida.

Upon arriving back to Boston from Miami, the Sox will wrap up the home portion of their schedule by welcoming the Yankees and Orioles into town for two separate three-game series. For the Yankees, it’s their lone trip to Fenway on the year.

Finally, the Red Sox will travel to Atlanta and finish their season series as well as the 2020 regular season as a whole against the Braves at Truist Park. That is, if all goes according to plan, of course.

60 games total, 40 of which will come against divisional opponents.

Based off the schedule above, it would appear that 23 of the 30 home games the Red will be playing in start at 7:30 PM eastern time. That doesn’t sound like the best of ideas in my opinion, but hey, the season might not even happen because of this whole global pandemic thing going on, right?

MLB Expected to Propose Universal DH for 2020 Season, per Report

Major League Baseball is expected to propose a universal designated hitter for the 2020 season as part of their talks with owners and the MLB Players Association in the coming days, according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden.

Per Bowden, “Most executives believed prior to the coronavirus shutdown that the [universal DH] would be implemented by 2021 or 2022.” But, due to the unique circumstances in this case, the implementation of the designated hitter in both the American and National Leagues could “be a way to cut down on injuries in a worrisome time,” as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman notes.

The ramifications this has for the Red Sox are not all that significant seeing how the club already has one of the best DHs in baseball in J.D. Martinez. However, if what The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports is accurate, and it likely is, the Sox would play around 80 games this season against opponents “only from their own division and the same geographic division in the opposite league.”

In other words, if there is baseball to be played in 2020, the only other clubs the Red Sox would face in the regular season would be the Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Braves, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, and Marlins.

It’s unclear at this point how many of those games would take place in National League ballparks, but the dread of having to constantly worry about the pitcher’s spot in the lineup in those particular contests would not be an issue if the universal DH is indeed implemented.

Interleague play would take on a whole new meaning in this scenario, and it would certainly serve as an adjustment period for certain National League clubs and a welcomed change for others.

Before anything concrete is laid out though, there are still several hurdles for MLB to jump through.

First, the league has a conference call scheduled with its owners on Monday where plans for a potential 2020 season will be discussed.

If the owners approve of MLB’s plans, that same proposal will be presented to the MLBPA on Tuesday.

Like I said though, there are still plenty of obstacles ahead, especially those of the financial variety.

 

Jackie Bradley Jr. Sets Tone Early with 478-Foot Homer as Red Sox Top Rockies 10-6

After taking two out of three from the San Diego Padres over the weekend and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox opened up their third straight interleague series with a 10-6 win in the first of two against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Tuesday.

Making his 27th start of the season for Boston and third of the interleague variety was Rick Porcello, who allowed three runs over five innings in a losing effort in his last time out against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Tossing another five full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded only two runs, both of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Rockies runs came around to score in the bottom half of the fifth, when after sitting down 12 of the first 16 hitters he faced, back-to-back one out singles from Tony Wolters and the pinch-hitting Yonathan Daza put runners at the corners for All-Star Charlie Blackmon, who got his side on the board with a sharply-hit RBI single through the right side of the infield.

Two batters later, and another All-Star got to Porcello, this time with Nolan Arenado lacing an RBI double to left to drive in Daza and make it a 6-2 contest.

Still with one out to get and runners in scoring position to deal with, Porcelo did not waver, as he got Daniel Murphy to ground out to short to retire the side in what would ultimately be his final inning of work with the pitcher’s spot due to hit in the top of the sixth for Boston.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (58 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 46% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings and misses and topping out at 93.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually improving to 12-10 while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.42, Porcello wraps up his August on a solid note.

In five starts this month, the New Jersey native posted an ERA of exactly 4.00 over 27 innings pitched. He’ll look to keep that going in his first start of September, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the middle of the sixth with a four-run lead to protect, and he did just that by working his way around a two-out walk and single in an otherwise clean frame.

From there, Ryan Brasier stranded one on a one-out single in a scoreless seventh, Josh Smith served up a two-run homer to rookie Sam Hilliard, the first of his career, in the eighth, and another two-run shot to Arenado in the ninth to cut down his side’s lead to four runs.

That made way for lefty Josh Taylor to enter a game where it looked like he would not be needed initially, and he kept the lead at four by giving up a one-out single to Murphy before retiring the final two Rockies he faced to lock down the 10-6 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Rico Garcia for the Rockies, making his big league debut after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier Tuesday.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first, J.D. Martinez picked up where he left off in San Diego with a two-out, RBI opposite field bloop single to plate Rafael Devers from third.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck with a monstrous solo blast off a one-out, first-pitch 91 MPH heater from Garcia to make it a two-run contest early. Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 17th homer of the year traveled 478 feet off the bat, making it the longest home run for the Sox since the Statcast era began in 2015.

Fast forward to the fourth, a Brock Holt leadoff single set up Christian Vazquez with a runner on and no outs, and he came through with a blistering two-run shot, his 19th of 2019, off another first-pitch, 78 MPH curveball from Garcia. 4-0.

In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts got in on the home run-hitting party, as he took the Rockies rookie deep to dead center off yet another first-pitch, 90 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate for his 28th big fly of the season.

One Martinez groundout later, back-to-back two-out two-baggers off the bats of Mitch Moreland and Holt, with the latter driving in the former, upped Boston’s advantage to six runs.

And in the seventh, with left-handed reliever Jake McGee in for Colorado, a leadoff walk drawn by Devers and double from Bogaerts allowed Martinez to collect his second RBI of the night on a line-drive base knock to left field. 7-2.

A throwing error on the part of Ryan McMahon on a ground ball off the bat of Moreland brought in another run, with Bogaerts scoring from third and Moreland advancing to second on the mishap.

Able to capitalize on the sloppy defense from the opposition, Holt plated two more on an RBI base knock through the middle of the infield that was misplayed by Hilliard in center.

That single, one in which Holt was only credited with one, not two RBI, gave the Red Sox a commanding 10-2 lead, and after the Rockies responded with two runs of their own in both the eighth and ninth innings, 10-6 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

J.D. Martinez’s last seven games: .407/.469/.778 with three homers and 12 RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit five home runs in his last 10 games.

With the Oakland Athletics winning and the Tampa Bay Rays losing on Tuesday, the Red Sox currently sit six games off the pace behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this quick two-gamer on Wednesday night, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and right-hander Peter Lambert doing the same for Colorado.

Coming off back-to-back starts of at least seven innings pitched with zero runs allowed and five or fewer hits given up, to say Rodriguez has been solid these past two weeks would be an understatement.

The 26-year-old has never pitched at Coors Field before in his career, but he did surrender five runs on 10 hits over six innings in his only other start against the Rockies back on May 15th of this season. The Red Sox won that game by a final score of 6-5.

Lambert, meanwhile, has posted an ERA of 6.20 over his last eight outings and 40 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.

The 22-year-old rookie out of San Dimas, Ca. debuted with Colorado back on June 6th, and has never faced the Red Sox before in his young career.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:40 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep.

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.