Fresh off one of the better wins of the season, the Red Sox are heading into the more reliable stretch of their rotation as they attempt to clinch a series win over their rivals from New York.
|BOSTON RED SOX||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Mookie Betts, RF||TBA|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B|
|Xander Bogaerts, SS|
|David Ortiz, DH|
|Hanley Ramirez, 1B|
|Travis Shaw, 3B|
|Brock Holt, LF|
|Christian Vazquez, C|
|Jackie Bradley Jr., CF|
|Starting Pitcher -- Rick Porcello||Starting Pitcher -- Michael Pineda|
One thing that's been nice for the Red Sox is the stability in their lineup. They've managed to put together plenty of runs, and while there have and continue to be some cold stretches (even lately, Hanley is more lukewarm than anything), there's been no great need to shake things up.
One place where things haven't been entirely stable, though, is the bottom of the order. Jackie Bradley Jr. has mostly hit ninth, but we've seen him bouncing around a bit since the series against Houston. He's hit eighth, seventh, and even sixth. And generally he's been showing that maybe he does deserve that higher spot, with a line of .292/.346/.583 in these last six games--with some of those hits coming at really, really opportune moments.
Christian Vazquez, on the other hand? He's bounced back a bit from looking completely incapable in the immediate aftermath of his post-promotion outburst, but it's still not exactly pretty. Which makes it a little odd to see Vazquez back at eight, and Bradley at nine (and Hanigan at eight yesterday, to boot). Perhaps this is a bit of the NL tradition of the "second leadoff man," with managers batting their pitcher eighth at times (not a fan, but it's a thing). But it will be interesting to see how long Bradley stays behind the catchers, and perhaps even an ice-cold Brock Holt if he can stay hot.
Whatever he's doing with the bat, though, the Red Sox seem content to accept it so long as he is what he is defensively. He's had a couple odd gaffes of late, but there's no denying what he can do with the leather. Though...that may not be all that important tonight if Rick Porcello keeps on striking out 10.5 batters per nine. Is that a real thing in the long-term? Perhaps not, but we can hope.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN, WEEI and the MLB Network.