Rays and Red Sox lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS, at Fenway Park …
CF Desmond Jennings
2B Ben Zobrist
RF Wil Myers
3B Evan Longoria
DH Delmon Young
LF Sean Rodriguez
SS Yunel Escobar
1B James Loney
C Jose Lobaton
SP Matt Moore
Rays manager Joe Maddon has made some changes compared to his Wild Card game lineup because the Red Sox are starting left-hander Jon Lester, moving Desmond Jennings back into the leadoff spot, dropping James Loney down in the order, and using Sean Rodriguez in left field instead of David DeJesus. Jose Lobaton also gets the start behind the plate in place of Jose Molina. Oh, and Delmon “Mr. October” Young gets another start at designated hitter, moving up to the fifth spot behind Evan Longoria.
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Shane Victorino
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
LF Jonny Gomes
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Stephen Drew
3B Will Middlebrooks
SP Jon Lester
Red Sox manager John Farrell is going with a pretty typical late-season lineup, with Jonny Gomes starting over Daniel Nava against Rays left-hander Matt Moore.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.