The dream of an undefeated season is over, and for all the hand-wringing over John Farrell’s bullpen choices in light of yesterday’s 6-5 loss to the Tigers, I prefer to blame Joe Kelly alone. If, as a reliever, you walk two consecutive batters, the second of whom represents the winning run, you are a bum. The end.
If we see Kelly today, I may tear out the little hair remaining on my head. Hopefully Eduardo Rodriguez, making his season debut, can preclude an extended bullpen appearance with a strong start. There are high hopes for E-Rod this year, and a strong start today would go a long way toward stabilizing a weakened rotation and giving an absolutely shredded relief core a light day.
On offense, the flu-related damage continues, as Mookie Betts misses his third consecutive game and Hanley Ramirez his second due to illness. With Xander Bogaerts on bereavement leave, the Sox are again in skeleton-crew mode. The big difference from yesterday is that Pablo Sandoval, yesterday’s near-hero, jumps from the 8th spot in the lineup to the 5th, settling in behind cleanup hitter Mitch Moreland. Not good times, but hopefully good enough against Jordan Zimmermann.
Here 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|