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Red Sox vs. Athletics lineups: Kelly fights for rotation spot, Sandoval still out

Joe Kelly's rotation spot could be on the line Saturday evening as he takes the mound against the Oakland Athletics.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Joe Kelly will take the mound Saturday evening in a game that could determine his future in the Red Sox rotation as the Red Sox try to claim a series win against the Oakland Athletics.

Billy Burns - CF Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Ben Zobrist - LF Brock Holt - 3B
Stephen Vogt - C Hanley Ramirez - LF
Billy Butler - DH David Ortiz - DH
Josh Reddick - RF Mike Napoli - 1B
Marcus Semien - SS Xander Bogaerts - SS
Max Muncy - 3B Mookie Betts - CF
Mark Canha - 1B Alejandro De Aza - RF
Eric Sogard - 2B Blake Swihart - C
Jesse Chavez - RHP Joe Kelly - RHP

The obvious absence tonight is Pablo Sandoval, who will sit out a second straight game after arguably his worst performance in a Red Sox uniform. The Red Sox are giving him a couple days off much as they did for David Ortiz a few days back. The real question is whether that knee that he took a fastball to a couple weeks back is still a factor.

Whatever the case, it can hardly hurt. The Red Sox need their veterans to produce like they were expected to. Right now throwing every possible solution at it until something sticks makes some sense, particularly if the cost is as small as not playing those underperforming veterans for a game or two. After all, it's not like his presence was exactly helping the team at the moment.

Speaking of David Ortiz, Boston's designated hitter is back in the lineup today with the right-handed Jesse Chavez on the mound for Oakland. That means Hanley Ramirez in left so, hey, added incentive for Joe Kelly to keep the ball on the ground, to say the least.

First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.