J.D. Martinez starting in left field for Red Sox in Tuesday’s series opener against Mets

The Red Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound as they look to extend their winning streak to six straight games in Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets at Fenway Park.

Tuesday night will mark Rodriguez’s first career start against the Mets, as the left-hander carries with him a lifetime 3.60 ERA and .669 OPS against across 19 outings (110 innings pitched) in interleague play.

On the 2021 campaign as a whole, Rodriguez’s numbers may still not look all that encouraging, but the 28-year-old has — for the most part — pitched better as of late, posting a solid 3.59 ERA and 3.46 FIP with 44 strikeouts to 12 walks over his last eight starts (42 2/3 innings of work) dating back to August 4.

Opposing Rodriguez will be fellow free-agent-to-be Marcus Stroman, who is slated to make his 32nd start of the year for the Mets.

Stroman, who turned 30 in May, is in the midst of a superb campaign for New York, as the right-hander comes into play Tuesday having put up a 2.88 ERA, a 3.27 FIP, and 151:40 strikeout-to-walk ratio through his first 31 appearances and 169 innings pitched of the season.

Given how he spent the first 5 1/2 years of his major-league career with the Blue Jays, Stroman has quite a bit of history against the Red Sox. In addition to sporting a lifetime 2.97 ERA in five career starts at Fenway Park, the righty has squared off against a number of Sox hitters on more than just one occasion.

Xander Bogaerts, for instance, is 11-for-36 (.306) with two career home runs off Stroman. Christian Vazquez, on the other hand, is 7-for-19 (.368) with a double off him.

Both Bogaerts and Vazquez will be in Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s starting lineup to begin things on Tuesday. J.D. Martinez will start in left field, while Hunter Renfroe will start on the bench. Here is how the rest of the team will be lining up behind Rodriguez.

With 11 games remaining on the docket, Boston (86-65) currently owns a 1 1/2 game lead over the Blue Jays for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Taking that point into consideration, first pitch Tuesday night is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez remains out of Red Sox lineup due to back tightness; Xander Bogaerts gets day off in series finale against White Sox

The Red Sox will once again be without J.D. Martinez as they go for a series win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday afternoon.

Martinez, who has been dealing with back tightness throughout the weekend, had been scratched from Boston’s lineup each of the last two days before the same thing essentially happened on Sunday.

As was the case on Friday and Saturday, the veteran slugger went through batting practice earlier Sunday morning before being ruled out for the rubber match of this three-game weekend set.

Following Saturday night’s thrilling 9-8 win over the White Sox, Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed optimism that Martinez would be back at full strength ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Mariners in Seattle, telling reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) that he rather lose the 34-year-old for three days as opposed to a whole week.

With Martinez out of the lineup, Travis Shaw — the hero of Saturday’s comeback win — will get the start at designated hitter while batting out of the seven-hole.

In addition to being without Martinez, the Sox will also be without shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who will be getting his first day off since returning from the COVID-19 related injured list on Friday.

Veteran infielder Jose Iglesias will start at shortstop in Bogaerts’ place batting ninth behind catcher Kevin Plawecki.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind right-hander Nick Pivetta, who was just activated from the COVID-19 related injured list, as they go up against White Sox righty Lance Lynn to close out the weekend.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Ron Vesely/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez scratched from Red Sox lineup for second straight day due to back tightness

J.D. Martinez was once again scratched from the Red Sox lineup on Saturday due to back tightness.

After he was slated to start at designated hitter and bat out of the three-hole in Friday’s series opener against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, Martinez was removed from the lineup on account of back spasms shortly before first pitch.

The same thing essentially happened on Saturday, as the veteran slugger was penciled in to DH and bat fifth against White Sox starter Dylan Cease, but was pulled from the lineup by Red Sox manager Alex Cora in favor of Travis Shaw at approximately 6:15 p.m. eastern time.

With Martinez’s removal from Boston’s starting lineup, right fielder Hunter Renfroe moved up from seventh to fifth in the batting order, while first baseman Bobby Dalbec slid into the seven-hole and Shaw — the new designated hitter — was inserted as the Sox’ No. 8 hitter in front of Christian Vazquez.

So far this season, the Red Sox are 72-59 in games Martinez plays in, meaning they are are 8-4 in games he is absent from.

The 34-year-old All-Star came into play Saturday having posted a .286/.349/.517 slash line (128 wRC+) to go along with 37 doubles, three triples, 25 home runs, 89 RBI, 84 runs scored, 50 walks, and 133 strikeouts over 131 games (567 plate appearances) this year.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Taylor Motter batting leadoff in first start with Red Sox

In his very first start for the Red Sox, newcomer Taylor Motter has been tasked with leading off against the Rays at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon.

Motter, who turns 32 later this month, has appeared in two games for the Sox — both as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement — since being claimed off waivers from the Rockies on Thursday and subsequently being added to the major-league roster on Saturday.

For his major-league career, which dates back to 2016, the right-handed hitter has batted leadoff on just two separate occasions, both of which came during his rookie season with the Rays five years ago.

The Red Sox will be facing off against left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to kick off a three-game series against the division-leading Rays on Monday. Motter is a lifetime .197/.275/.283 hitter when matched up against southpaw.

Prior to joining the Sox last week, the versatile 31-year-old had enjoyed a productive season at the plate with Triple-A Albuquerque before having his contract selected by the Rockies in early August.

In 67 games with the Isotopes, Motter slashed an impressive .335/.460/.759 slash line to go along with 16 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 57 RBI, 54 runs scored, 49 walks, and 49 strikeouts across 265 total trips to the plate. That includes going 25-for-60 (.417) against lefties.

“Just get a pitch, hit it in the air and give us a lead,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) when asked about his decision to bat Motter leadoff. “He put two good at-bats yesterday. He was having a great season in Triple A. I was watching video. I think his swing should play against Yarbrough. … He might get three at-bats against the lefty, give us a boost and get us going.”

Through his first two games with Boston, Motter is 0-for-1 with a walk and run scored, though he made a nice play at second base on Sunday in addition to getting picked off at first base in the seventh inning of an 11-5 loss to the Indians.

Motter will be getting the start at second base in Monday’s series opener against Tampa Bay. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind him, as they will be looking to improve to 5-0 in games ace left-hander Chris Sale starts.

First pitch Monday (Labor Day) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Taylor Motter: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran scratched from Red Sox lineup after exhibiting COVID-like symptoms

Jarren Duran was originally batting seventh and starting in center field in Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s lineup for the team’s series opener against the Indians at Fenway Park on Friday night, but has since been scratched.

The reason being, Duran is feeling under the weather — as he is experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms and has subsequently been sent home while the Red Sox await his test results.

“Duran is not feeling well, so he’s going through with his testing,” Cora said when speaking with reporters earlier Friday evening. “Obviously, he won’t be here with us today. We’ll know more hopefully later today or in the third inning, I guess, you know? We’ll know. But he doesn’t feel great, so we’ll go through the process.”

Duran, who was most recently recalled from Triple-A Worcester last Thursday to take fellow outfielder Hunter Renfroe’s spot on Boston’s major-league roster, previously spent two days on the COVID-19 related injured list in early August.

At that time, the soon-to-be 25-year-old top prospect had been exhibiting COVID-like symptoms while the Sox were in Toronto, but did not test positive for the virus.

If Duran were to test positive for COVID-19 this time around, though, he would become the eighth Red Sox player to do since last Friday.

Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Xander Bogaerts, and Yairo Munoz are all currently on the COVID-19 related injured list on account of testing positive, while Josh Taylor is on there since he was identified as a close contact.

Additionally, quality control coach Ramon Vazquez and strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose  both netted positive test results, while first base coach Tom Goodwin — like Taylor — is quarantining as a close contact.

With Duran being removed from Boston’s starting lineup on Friday, Alex Verdugo has moved from left field to center field, Kyle Schwarber has moved from first base to left field, and Bobby Dalbec has taken over at first base.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind right-hander Nathan Eovaldi as they look to kick off the long weekend by extending their winning streak to three consecutive games.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Franchy Cordero set to make first career major-league start at first base in Sunday’s series finale against Yankees

Are you ready? Because Franchy Cordero is making his first career major-league start at first base for the Red Sox in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Cordero, who was recalled from Triple-A Worcester on Thursday, went 0-for-1 with two walks in his return to the Boston lineup in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to New York while starting in right field and batting eighth in Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s lineup.

The 26-year-old will get the start at first base while batting ninth to close out the weekend for the Sox in the club’s 100th game of the season.

In his time with Worcester, Cordero did see the majority of his playing time come in the outfield, but he did make six starts at first base and did not commit a single error in the 33 innings he played at the position.

One of five players the Red Sox acquired as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals, the 6-foot-3, 226 pound left-handed hitter was originally signed by the Padres as a shortstop coming out of the Dominican in November 2011.

He played in 165 games at shortstop at the minor-league level as well as one at third base, but has been used strictly as an outfielder since making his big-league debut for San Diego in May 2017.

As he prepares to make his first-ever start at first base at the major-league level, Cordero will be going up against an opposing starting pitcher he has never faced before in the form of Yankees right-hander Domingo German.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up ahead of Cordero and behind left-hander Martin Perez on Sunday, who will be making his 20th start of the season for Boston.

First pitch between the 51-46 Yankees and 60-39 Red Sox is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and TBS, weather permitting.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox go with right-handed heavy lineup for series finale against Robbie Ray, Blue Jays

After getting rained out on Tuesday, the Red Sox will look to complete a two-game sweep over the Blue Jays in Buffalo on Wednesday night, and they will do so with an extremely right-handed heavy starting lineup.

Boston will be matched up against Toronto left-hander Robbie Ray in Wednesday’s series finale, hence the reason for all the right-handed bats from Sox manager Alex Cora.

Ray, 29, will be making his 19th start of the season for the Jays at Sahlen Field on Wednesday. So far this year, the veteran southpaw has posted an impressive 2.31 ERA and 3.81 FIP to go along with 138 strikeouts to just 26 walks over 107 1/3 innings of work. That includes an outing against the Red Sox in which he yielded three runs on four hits, three walks, and 10 strikeouts in six innings at Fenway Park back on June 13.

In his first full season with the Blue Jays after coming over in a trade with the Diamondbacks last summer, Ray has been extremely tough against opposing left-handed hitters, as he has held them to a measly .165/.208/.308 slash line.

Against right-handed hitters, Ray has still been difficult, but not nearly to the same extent (.228/.280/.442), so it’s safe to assume those splits played a role in how Cora wrote out his lineup card ahead of Wednesday’s contest.

With that being said, Kiké Hernández will lead things off for the Red Sox, as he gets the start in center field. The switch-hitting Danny Santana will follow and flank Hernández in left field. Xander Bogaers, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez comprise the 3-4-5 portion of Boston’s lineup, playing their usual positions, while Hunter Renfroe, Christian Vazquez, and Bobby Dalbec will do the same. Michael Chavis rounds things out as he will make his 13th start of the year at second base.

Devers represents the lone, pure left-handed hitter in this installment of the Red Sox lineup. Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo, two more left-handed bats, will start this one out on the bench.

On the other side of things, right-hander Garrett Richards will oppose Ray and make his 19th start of the season for Boston.

First pitch between the 57-38 Red Sox and 48-43 Blue Jays is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández : Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox shake up lineup ahead of series opener against Blue Jays in Buffalo

The Red Sox have scored a grand total of six runs over their last 24 innings since returning from the All-Star break, and those offensive struggles have prompted manager Alex Cora to shake up his lineup ahead of a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Buffalo that begins on Monday night.

While Kiké Hernández will remain in the leadoff spot for Monday’s series opener, Jarren Duran has been bumped up to the No. 2 spot, resulting in Alex Verdugo dropping down to sixth in the order.

Verdugo, who has hit second in all 82 of his previous starts this season, has cooled off at the plate as of late. The 25-year-old outfielder comes into play Monday sporting an unsightly .218/.315/.269 slash line to go along with just four extra-base hits (all doubles) over his last 20 games (89 plate appearances) dating back to June 22).

Duran, meanwhile, has batted sixth and seventh in his first two starts with the Red Sox after getting called up from Triple-A Worcester on Friday. The speedy outfield prospect hit leadoff 44 times and and third two times for the WooSox, but never hit out of the two-hole.

With the lineup maneuvering that essentially sees Duran and Verdugo switch places, the most dangerous part of Boston’s order has shifted as well, with Xander Bogaerts batting third, Rafael Devers batting cleanup, and J.D. Martinez batting fifth.

Bogaerts will hit out of the three-hole for just the eighth time this season, as he has primarily been used by Cora out of the cleanup spot. In his previous seven starts as the Sox’ No. 3 hitter, the 28-year-0ld went 7-for-25 (.280) at the plate with one double, three RBI, four runs scored, six walks, and six strikeouts.

Devers will bat cleanup for just the 12th time this season, as he has primarily been used as the Red Sox’ No. 5 hitter behind Martinez and Bogaerts. The 24-year-old has batted .286/.362/.452 as Boston’s cleanup hitter so far in 2021.

Martinez will bat fifth for the very first time this season after the vast majority of his plate appearances to this point in the season have come as the Sox’ cleanup hitter.

With Duran in center and Martinez serving as designated hitter, Verdugo — batting sixth — will get the start in left field, while Hunter Renfroe — batting seventh — will get the start in right field.

Danny Santana, who is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list on Monday after missing nearly two weeks with a left quadriceps strain, is slated to hit seventh and start at first base.

Kevin Plawecki will round out the Red Sox lineup, as he gets the start behind the plate in place of a banged-up Christian Vazquez. He will be catching right-hander Nick Pivetta, who will be making his 19th start of the season for Boston.

The Blue Jays, in turn, will send fellow righty Ross Stripling to the mound for Monday’s series-opening contest at Sahlen Field.

Stripling, 31, has surrendered 10 earned runs on 13 hits (four home runs), two walks, and nine strikeouts in his previous two starts against the Red Sox this season, though this will be his first against them in Buffalo.

First pitch between the Red Sox (56-38) and Blue Jays (48-42) Monday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Boston is looking to halt a two-game losing streak.

(Picture of Alex Cora: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Christian Arroyo set to make first career start at first base in series finale against Yankees

Christian Arroyo will be checking off another box on his “first time in his career” list when the Red Sox take on the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night.

After pitching and being used as a pinch-runner for the first time in his five-year big-league career at different points earlier this season, Arroyo will be making his first-ever start at first base in Sunday’s series finale in the Bronx.

The 26-year-old infielder has never played first base before at the minor- or major-league level, but will be doing so in the rubber match of this three-game series with Jarren Duran getting the start in center field and Kiké Hernández sliding over to second base as a result.

Arroyo was seen taking grounders at first base on Thursday with quality control coach Ramon Vazquez giving him some pointers, and he will now have the opportunity to take what he learned and apply it to an actual game.

So far this season, Red Sox first baseman have arguably been one of the least productive position groups in all of baseball, as they came into play Sunday sporting a collective .204/.249/.366 slash line to go along with an MLB-worst .266 weighted on-base average and 62 wRC+.

It’s unclear at the moment if Arroyo, who has been one of the better defensive second basemen in the American League to this point in the year, represents a permanent change for Boston at first base or if this is just a temporary move.

“We’re comfortable with it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of starting Arroyo at first base. “He’s earned his playing time, let’s put it that way. He’s putting [together] good at-bats, he’s hitting good pitching, and he deserves to start. He’s comfortable with it, I’m comfortable with it, so we’ll go from there.”

With Arroyo — a right-handed hitter — getting the start at first base on Sunday, that puts Bobby Dalbec — also a right-handed hitter — in a bit of a tough spot in which he will be limited to facing just left-handed pitching for the time being.

“The way he swung the bat the first two days here, he deserves to play,” said Cora in regards to Arroyo. “With Bobby, obviously, he’ll play against lefties –we’ll use him against lefties. There’s going to be a few righties that we’ll use, but as of today, it’s Christian against their righty. And we’ll go from there the rest of the week.”

All that being said, Arroyo is starting at first base and batting ninth for Boston on Sunday night. Hernandez will lead off, while Duran — in his second major-league start — will bat out of the seven-hole.

Xander Bogaerts is also back and starting at shortstop after missing Saturday’s contest on account of some wrist soreness he sustained on Friday. The 28-year-old All-Star is batting cleanup in between J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers, per usual.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox (56-37) will lineup behind left-hander Martin Perez and against Yankees (47-44) right-hander Jameson Taillon.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran not in Red Sox’ lineup for series opener against Yankees with left-hander Jordan Montgomery starting for New York

Jarren Duran’s first career major-league start will have to wait another day, as the outfielder has been left out of the Red Sox’ lineup for their series-opening contest against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

Duran, a left-handed hitter, will start out on the bench Friday with left-hander Jordan Montgomery getting the start for New York.

The 24-year-old top prospect was originally slated to bat seventh on Thursday night against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, but that game wound up getting postponed on account of COVID-19 issues from within New York’s clubhouse.

For whatever reason, the Yankees opted to swap out German in favor of Montgomery, leading Red Sox manager Alex Cora to go with a more right-handed heavy lineup to kick off what is now a three-game weekend series.

Prior to getting called up from Triple-A Worcester this week, Duran had appeared in 46 games for the WooSox.

Over the course of those 46 games, the former seventh-round draft pick actually hit better against lefties (.321/.400/.554 in 65 plate appearances) than he did against righties (.248/.351/.564 in 154 plate appearances).

Even with those splits in mind, Cora did say on Thursday that the Red Sox would try to get Duran more playing time against righties and only against a select number of southpaws.

“He’s very dynamic, a left-handed hitter. We’ll protect him, although his numbers in the minor leagues this year have been great against lefties,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) prior to Thursday’s postponement. “At the same time, there’s lefties and then there’s tough lefties. We’ll check the matchups and make sure we take care of him and protect him. Against righties, he’s a full-go.”

Montgomery, who will be making his 18th start of the year for the Yankees on Friday night, has held opposing left-handed hitters to a .175/.233/.350 line this year, so it would appear that he qualifies as one of those “tough lefties” Cora described.

While Duran will begin things on the bench on Friday, the dynamic outfielder could still make his major-league debut in this series opener.

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, though, the same thing happened with Andrew Benintendi when the former Red Sox outfielder made his big-league debut as a pinch-hitter against the Seattle Mariners back on August 2, 2016.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will line up behind left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez Friday night.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)