The Red Sox had a few decisions to make before finalizing the roster for tonight’s Wildcard Game against the Yankees, a lot of which was dependent on the health of J.D. Martinez. The roster was announced Tuesday morning, and Martinez is in fact being left off with an ankle injury suffered Sunday when he tripped on the second base bag jogging out to take his position in the field. Here is the rest of the roster.
Christian Vázquez, Kevin Plawecki, Connor Wong
Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo, Travis Shaw, Jonathan Araúz
Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, Jarren Duran
Starting Pitcher (1)
Relief Pitchers (11)
Garrett Whitlock, Garrett Richards, Adam Ottavino, Tanner Houck, Hansel Robles, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nick Pivetta, Josh Taylor, Austin Davis
Overall, there aren’t a ton of surprises here, though Martinez’s absence clearly throws a wrench into some plans. It does make the starting lineup decision a bit easier, as Alex Cora had to decide who to sit from Verdugo, Renfroe, Dalbec, or Arroyo. Now, Schwarber can slide into the DH role and the other four can start pretty easily. It does, however, make the bench a bit less of a factor. Wong was presumably the late add here, and while he probably won’t be used as a pinch hitter he will make it easier for Cora to use whichever of the other catchers doesn’t start — right now, it looks like Plawecki will start — as a pinch hitter without worrying about a lack of catching on the bench.
On the pitching side, Sale is indeed unavailable and off the roster. I’m actually a bit surprised by that, but that was reported on Monday and it seems I was in the minority being surprised. The good news here is that Taylor is indeed back after spending the last week or so of the season on the injured list. I do also think it’s interesting that Davis made the roster over Darwinzon Hernandez. That’s not to say I disagree with the choice, because I do not, but they hadn’t really been using Davis much so it seemed he was out of their plans.
The other bit of controversy here could be the decision to leave Sawamura off the roster. I think there’s a fair argument for keeping him over someone like Barnes or Davis, but the latter gives an extra lefty and the former has been better of late and certainly has more upside. This is the bottom of the depth chart anyway, so unless things go way off script this decision shouldn’t matter a ton anyway.