Following last night’s win over the Astros, Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the Boston Herald that he is leaning towards playing David Ortiz at first base tonight, which means Adrian Gonzalez will make another start in right field.
“If he plays (tonight), we’re looking at 13, 14, 15 (plate appearances), and we’re in good shape,” Francona said. “I feel good about David getting through this trip.”
Ortiz is 0-for-8 on the team’s current interleague road trip. He is hitless over his last 16 at-bats dating back to June 20.
Gonzalez played right field for the second time in his major league career Wednesday night against the Phillies. It was his first time playing the position since 2005 as a member of the Rangers. Gonzalez did jump to attempt to catch a fly ball hit by Chase Utley in the bottom of the eighth, but he didn’t make any putouts. It was largely uneventful and the Red Sox will hope for something similar tonight.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.