Before Chris Sale got started in his massively disappointing outing on Thursday, the Red Sox had already gotten off to a tough start in that game. Not only did they go down in an unthreatening 1-2-3 first, but they also lost Eduardo Nuñez to an injury that looked really bad. The infielder, of course, had battled knee injuries throughout the final month of the season and his first attempt at a comeback resulted in a quick re-aggravation. Once again, they rushed him back for this series and in his first at bat of the game his knee gave out to the point where he had to be carried off the field. As is not surprise, he will not be back for the rest of this series. Chris Young takes his spot on the roster.
Chris Young has replaced Eduardo Nunez on the ALDS roster.— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) October 6, 2017
This is obviously a big blow for the Red Sox. When healthy, Nuñez proved to be a legitimate spark for a lineup that has often found itself in need of that kind of spark. Without him, the Red Sox have Hanley Ramirez to slot in as DH against righties, of course. However, against lefties they are now left with a decision between sticking with Mitch Moreland at first or putting Ramirez in the field and putting Young in at DH. The latter has been awful in this role, and there is really no good call here.
Even more than this sucks for the Red Sox, though, it suck for Nuñez. This is a guy who has put together a strong year and his play towards the end of the year for Boston couldn’t have come at a better time considering he’ll hit free agency after the season. He was looking at a strong payday and an everyday role. Now that could be up in the air depending on the severity of the injury. Obviously, Nuñez pushed to get back in the lineup, but a lot of the blame for this has to be on the trainers. They twice pushed him back too soon and both times he was hurt the first time he tried to pivot out of the box towards first base. I’m certainly not enough of a medical expert to know how preventable this was, but with the same thing happening twice someone has to be blame. Hopefully, this isn’t bad enough that it affects his payday. Even if it doesn’t, though, it’s affected the Red Sox postseason plans.