Lineups from Game 2 at Fenway Park …
2B Matt Carpenter
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
1B Matt Adams
C Yadier Molina
DH Allen Craig
3B David Freese
CF Jon Jay
SS Daniel Descalso
SP Michael Wacha
Carlos Beltran tested his injured ribs during pregame batting practice and apparently felt good enough to be in the lineup after heading to the hospital during Game 1. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has made a change, benching Pete Kozma and starting Daniel Descalso at shortstop. Something tells me most of St. Louis will be happy about that switch. Lefty bat Jon Jay is back in center field versus right-hander John Lackey and Matt Adams moves up in the order too.
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 Xander Bogaerts
SP John Lackey
David Ross caught Jon Lester in Game 1, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia is back behind the plate tonight paired with John Lackey. Red Sox manager John Farrell also decided to flip Stephen Drew and Xander Bogaerts in the lineup, batting the rookie ninth.
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.
Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.
In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”
Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.
Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.