Red Sox lineup: Michael Chavis leading off, Jonathan Araúz making first start of season in series finale against Athletics

As the Red Sox look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Athletics at Fenway Park on Thursday night, manager Alex Cora has shaken things up a bit with left-hander Sean Manaea getting the start for Oakland.

Of the nine hitters in Boston’s starting lineup for Thursday’s contest, six hit from the right side of the plate and one is a switch-hitter.

Michael Chavis will lead things off for the Sox while getting the start at second, and he will be followed by Alex Verdugo — who will be making his 20th start of the season in center field — and J.D. Martinez — who will be making just his sixth start of the season in left field.

With Martinez starting in the outfield, Xander Bogaerts will get half a day off as he will serve as Boston’s designated hitter while batting cleanup.

Rafael Devers, Christian Vazquez, and Hunter Renfroe comprise the 5-6-7 portion of the Red Sox lineup, while Bobby Dalbec and Jonathan Arauz round things out.

Dalbec returns to the lineup and gets the start at first base after sitting out the first two games of this series. The 25-year-old slugger comes into play Thursday sporting a .188/.241/.317 slash line to go along with just two home runs and 11 RBI over 30 games (108 plate appearances).

Arauz, meanwhile, will make his first start of the 2021 campaign in place of Bogaerts at shortstop after being recalled from Triple-A Worcester on Sunday.

The 22-year-old infielder made his season debut and came on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the A’s. He struck out swinging in his lone plate appearances.

Originally selected by Boston in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft, the switch-hitting Arauz spent the entirety of the truncated 2020 season with the Red Sox and slashed .250/.325/.319 with one homer and nine RBI over 25 games while playing every infield position besides first base.

“In spring training, he was a little bit erratic defensively,” Cora said of Arauz prior to Thursday’s game. “But he’s a cool customer. I saw him play a lot last year. He put some good swings in spring training. And we’re tying to keep our shortstop off his feet today. He’s been playing a lot. He DH’s today. You got Monday off, so you got to take advantage of situations like this.

“We got J.D. [Martinez] playing left field,” added Cora. “He doesn’t care — he loves playing the outfield. So it’s a good opportunity against a lefty to try to take care of some players and be ready for not only for today, because I think we have a good lineup going, but also for the upcoming days.”

During their current three-game losing streak, the Red Sox lineup has been limited to a total of four runs on 13 hits over their last 27 offensive innings.

They will look to buck that trend and salvage this series against the A’s with right-hander Garrett Richards getting the start for Boston opposite Manaea.

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

(Picture of Jonathan Arauz: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


RECAP: A’s Lefty Sean Manaea Tosses a No Hitter as #RedSox Win Streak Comes to an End.

Going into the middle of this game of this series, Athletics starter Sean Manaea owned a career 13.50 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox. In 11.1 innings pitched, Manaea has allowed 17 earned runs on 26 hits. Those numbers are far from good.

With those numbers in mind, and the fact that Chris Sale was on the mound for the Red Sox, I was honestly expecting an easy win. Instead, they got no hit for the first time in nearly 25 years.

In a matchup of quality left-handed pitchers, it was Manaea who came up on top. The other guy though, Chris Sale, wasn’t too bad either. While having some struggles early, Sale allowed the Athletics to score three times over seven innings, scattering six hits and one walk over sevn full innings, fanning 10 along the way.

For some reason, the lefty really struggled with the top third of the A’s lineup, specifically leadoff man Marcus Semien. He was the only player in the whole game to touch home plate, and he did it on three separate occasions, including on a solo home run in the fifth. Old friend Jed Lowrie collected his league-leading 23rd RBI of the season as well.

At 110 pitches (72 strikes) through seven innings, Sale’s day came to an end. I would guess he’ll make his next start on Friday, back at home against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The only other pitcher the Red Sox used was Heath Hembree. In his first appearance of the series, Hembree allowed a double and a walk, both with two outs, but got out of the inning unscathed, leaving the Red Sox lineup with one last chance in the ninth.

Unfortunately, that opportunity was not capitalized on by the Red Sox because Sean Manaea was excellent last night. The only mistakes he made were mere walks, which happened on just two occasions. There was some controversy on what was a hit and what wasn’t, like in the sixth inning.

It looked like Andrew Benintendi had just broke up the no-hitter with a dribbler down the first base line for a single. He was initially called safe, but he was later ruled out for running outside of the base path while running towards safe. That took away the hit, and Benintendi was none too pleased about it.

Despite the frustration here, that does not take away from what Manaea did. No hitting one of the best lineups in baseball is no small task, and Manaea needed just 108 pitches to do it. In fact, last night’s game was two hours and 16 minutes, which has to be the quickest game the Red Sox have played in this season. Manaea’s no-no also marks the first from an Athletics pitcher since Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game on Mother’s Day back in 2010.

From here, the Red Sox need to put this loss behind them. Shake it off, move on, and take the series with a win today. David Price will look to build on his successful outing in Anaheim, as he faces off against A’s righty Daniel Mengden. First pitch is at 4:05 PM ET.