It’s a big game for the Red Sox and, in particular, Travis Shaw as the team tries to maintain momentum the third baseman tries to recapture his against the Orioles.
|BOSTON RED SOX||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Adam Jones, CF|
|Xander Bogaerts, SS||Jonathan Schoop, 2B|
|David Ortiz, DH||Manny Machado, 3B|
|Mookie Betts, RF||Mark Trumbo, DH|
|Hanley Ramirez, 1B||Chris Davis, 1B|
|Travis Shaw, 3B||Matt Wieters, C|
|Chris Young, LF||J.J. Hardy, SS|
|Jackie Bradley Jr., CF||Drew Stubbs, RF|
|Ryan Hanigan, C||Nolan Reimold, LF|
|Starting Pitcher -- Drew Pomeranz||Starting Pitcher -- Dylan Bundy|
With a few good performances surrounding the brief, unfortunate stint for Yoan Moncada at third base, Travis Shaw was showing signs of coming back to life, producing nine hits including three doubles and two homers over six games and 20 at-bats. He’s gone hitless in his last eight trips to the plate, however, taking a bit of the shine back off. For most batters, eight hitless at bats would be no big deal. But given how long Shaw had been struggling for before this, he doesn’t exactly have much shine left to give.
Really, there isn’t much that the Red Sox can do if Shaw does continue to head south. They just don’t have many options at third base given the struggles of Aaron Hill, Brock Holt’s difficulties as a full-time starter, and Yoan Moncada having proved unready for the big leagues. Still, if the Red Sox lineup is usually already some eight men deep—seven tonight given the absence of Sandy Leon--they’d certainly prefer it to go the full nine. They’re at their best, obviously, when Travis Shaw is hitting.
Doing so would also help him stay in the conversation for 2017, when the corner infield and DH situation is one of the few areas where Boston’s plans remain uncertain.
Of course, there’s a lot more to this game than Travis Shaw. The Red Sox have made a habit of blowing teams out and then putting up some underwhelming performances behind those blowout victories, and Dylan Bundy certainly poses a more significant challenge for the lineup than Miley would. With Drew Pomeranz probably the least certain of the trio the Red Sox lined up for this series, this is probably the hardest matchup of the three. Where yesterday was a matter of winning a game they should always have won, today the Red Sox have the chance to take one that the Orioles have to be depending on and keep moving forward towards a division win.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.