The Red Sox lost three out of four games against the Tigers this weekend, and they were lucky to win the one they did. Far from discouraging, though, the efforts were generally good enough to inspire confidence, because the Sox were throwing out Spring Training lineups and, ya know, competing minus several of their stars.
Tonight things turn mostly to normal, both in the lineup and the 7:10 p.m. game time — it’s only their second night game of the year, and they’re already 3-3. Things are only “mostly” normal because Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the disabled list with sprained knee, but Hanley Ramirez is back from the flu and Xander Bogaerts has returned from bereavement leave, meaning five of the teams’ six best hitters are active for the first time since Opening Day. Presumptive AL MVP Sandy Leon, the sixth, is out of the lineup to make way for presumptive AL Gold Glove winner and goddamn assassin Christian Vazquez.
The Orioles come into the game 4-1, having started with 4 straight victories. They’re starting Dylan Bundy, who’s either their best starter or the one with the best chance for a breakout, depending on where you sit, but he’ll likely be a handful for the Sox for years to come. The Sox counter with Drew Pomeranz, who is returning from a largely cosmetic 10-day Disabled List stint to try and improve on his mediocre spring. If there’s a reason to think he might succeed, it’s only that Kyle Kendrick, who had a wonderful spring, was pounded last night in Pawtucket, thereby once again underlining the fact that preseason stats largely don’t matter.
If there’s a reason to think Pomeranz might not succeed, it’s Baltimore’s lineup of power hitters, which is merely complemented by one of the 5? 10? best players in baseball, in Manny Machado. They are also managed by Buck Showalter, which you know, and his fervent anti-Red Sox ways get under my skin more than anyone else’s in the sport or media — and, truth, that’s quite an achievement. I respect him, but I detest him, and I don’t have much love for his weirdo boss either. Of note among the actual players playing the game is Trey Mancini, who’s playing left field and learning it on the fly, and who thus might make a nice target out there.
Here’s are the full lineups:
Game 9: April 13 vs. Pirates
|1||Jordy Mercer, SS||Dustin Pedroia, 2B|
|2||Starling Marte, CF||Andrew Benintendi, CF|
|3||Andrew McCutchen, RF||Mookie Betts, RF|
|4||Gregory Polanco, LF||Hanley Ramirez, DH|
|5||David Freese, 3B||Mitch Moreland, 1B|
|6||Josh Harrison, DH||Xander Bogaerts, SS|
|7||Josh Bell, 1B||Marco Hernandez, 3B|
|8||Phil Gosselin, 2B||Christian Vazquez, C|
|9||Chris Stewart, C||Brock Holt, LF, \o/|
|SP||Chad Kuhl||Eduardo Rodriguez|