Shane Victorino is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday afternoon as they try to rebound from one of the more frustrating losses suffered in a season with no shortage of candidates.
|HOUSTON ASTROS||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Jose Altuve - 2B||Mookie Betts - CF|
|Preston Tucker - LF||Brock Holt - 2B|
|Carlos Correa - SS||Xander Bogaerts - SS|
|Luis Valbuena - 3B||David Ortiz - DH|
|Evan Gattis - DH||Hanley Ramirez - LF|
|Colby Rasmus - CF||Pablo Sandoval - 3B|
|Jonathan Singleton - 1B||Mike Napoli - 1B|
|Hank Conger - C||Shane Victorino - RF|
|Alex Presley - RF||Sandy Leon - C|
|Collin McHugh - RHP||Clay Buchholz - RHP|
I expect there will be a bit more uproar about Victorino starting over Alejandra De Aza against a righty than there peraps should be. Lest we forget, short-lived though it was, Shane hit .450/.522/.650 in his last stint with the team, so he's at least kind of earned his spot with recent performance rather than relying entirely on good will from 2013 and before.
But that's not to say it's unquestionably correct, or will continue to be for very long if he doesn't show himself capable of performing. Frankly, the best case scenario from all this is that both Victorino and De Aza force themselves in as everyday players, and with no other recourse, the Red Sox finally get Mike Napoli out of there for good, and end the disaster experiment of Hanley Ramirez, outfielder in favor of a slightly less ambitious experiment in Hanley Ramirez, different kind of infielder.
For now, though, we toil away with Mike Napoli, first baseman hanging around the Mendoza Line. And all is not well.
First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.