David Ortiz is at first base today. And no, this series hasn't shifted to Houston with the Astros suddenly rejoining the National League. This is American League baseball--Ortiz at first, Ramirez at DH, and Alejandro De Aza in left.
|HOUSTON ASTROS||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Jose Altuve - DH||Mookie Betts - CF|
|Preston Tucker - RF||Brock Holt - 2B|
|Carlos Correa - SS||Xander Bogaerts - SS|
|Evan Gattis - LF||David Ortiz - 1B|
|Luis Valbuena - 3B||Hanley Ramirez - DH|
|Chris Carter - 1B||Pablo Sandoval - 3B|
|Marwin Gonzalez - 2B||Shane Victorino - RF|
|Jason Castro - C||Alejandro De Aza - LF|
|Jake Marisnick - CF||Ryan Hanigan - C|
|Lance McCullers - RHP||Eduardo Rodriguez - LHP|
With Mike Napoli looking done as done can be, this has been months in coming, though I'll admit I didn't think this was quite how it would shake out. David Ortiz is no star at first base defensively, obviously, but Napoli had been uncharacteristically poor there this season himself, and brought with it a bat that just hasn't gotten the job done at all.
Is this a long-term solution? Honestly, it might be, simply because David Ortiz' contract isn't automatic for 2016, and if the Red Sox decide they want to find another first baseman--or third baseman moving Pablo Sandoval to first--then they'll have Hanley Ramirez at DH, right where they want him. That would involve throwing in the towel on the season and basically telling David Ortiz he's done before his option could vest, which is quite the bridge to cross, but even in the last month or so when he's bounced back, Ortiz has not looked like an irreplaceable asset.
For now, though, Papi is in the field, and trying to change that perception, which I think we're all hoping he does if only because it means he'll get to go out on his terms without an ugly falling out over a $10 million option. We just don't need that to be a bookend for this season. Seeing Mike Napoli wither away, get benched, and almost certainly move on in the next few weeks is sad, but it's not tragic and painful and ugly in the way a similar situation with Ortiz would be.
First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.