Mookie Betts will get his first day off of the season Thursday night as the Red Sox try to complete the sweep behind...
|BOSTON RED SOX||COLORADO ROCKIES|
|Jackie Bradley Jr., CF||TBA|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B|
|Xander Bogaerts, SS|
|David Ortiz, DH|
|Hanley Ramirez, 1B|
|Travis Shaw, 3B|
|Chris Young, RF|
|Blake Swihart, LF|
|Christian Vazquez, C|
|Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz||Starting Pitcher -- Jon Gray|
If you're thinking Jackie Bradley Jr. leading off is a waste, just remember that if he's batting here rather than sixth, that's on average something like 90 more at bats he'd see over the course of the season hitting there. It will be interesting to see if this is a one-off move, or if he gets more opportunities there as the season continues.
It is a little disappointing to see Young batting ahead of Swihart against the right-handed Gray. That he's playing today presumably has nothing to do with the man on the mound and everything to do with getting Mookie a scheduled day off. There's the slight benefit of having Young there to keep an opposing manager from bringing in a lefty for Shaw, but the third baseman actually has reverse splits thus far in his career, so it would seem more important to give Swihart a chance to cap off some rallies than to put the deterrent behind Shaw.
This is especially true since the Red Sox will not want to leave any runs on the table tonight behind Buchholz. And if Jon Gray has an ugly ERA through the first 73 innings of his career, the peripherals tell a much nicer story for the young pitcher. This shouldn't be a cakewalk--at least not more than games against non-ace pitchers typically are for this silly Red Sox team.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN, WEEI, and the MLB Network.