ALDS Game 2: Rays-Red Sox lineups

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Rays and Red Sox lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS, at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET …

Rays:
LF David DeJesus
RF Wil Myers
1B James Loney
3B Evan Longoria
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Desmond Jennings
DH Delmon Young
SS Yunel Escobar
C Jose Molina

SP David Price

Joe Maddon’s lineup is similar to what we speculated this morning, as David DeJesus is playing left field and batting leadoff while Sean Rodriguez is on the bench. Meanwhile, Jose Molina is starting behind the plate over Jose Lobaton with Price on the mound. Everybody else is the same as Game 1, though Evan Longoria is the only one who is in the same spot in the lineup. It looks like Delmon Young has taken over as the regular DH, at least for now.

Red Sox:
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Shane Victorino
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
LF Jonny Gomes
3B Will Middlebrooks
SS Stephen Drew
C David Ross

SP John Lackey

As expected, Ross is catching Lackey rather than Jarrod Saltalamacchia. It makes sense with another left-hander going for the Rays. And while we’re talking about a small sample, Ross has homered in each game he has started against Price in each of the last two seasons. Red Sox manager John Farrell cited Ross’ rapport with Lackey when talking to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald today, though he has only caught him twice this year. While Will Middlebrooks batted ninth in Game 1, he’ll hit seventh today. Otherwise, everything is the same as yesterday.

Report: Mike Trout as recognizable to Americans as NBA’s Kenneth Faried

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On Monday, the Washington Post cited Q Scores, a firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, with regard to Angels outfielder Mike Trout. According to Q Scores, Trout is as recognized to Americans as NBA forward Kenneth Faried, who has spent seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets and is now a reserve with the Brooklyn Nets. Trout’s score was 22, which means just over one in five Americans know who he is.

We have talked here at various times about Trout’s lack of marketability. He has expressed zero interest in being marketed as the face of baseball. Additionally, based on the nature of the sport, it’s harder for baseball to aggressively market its stars since star players don’t impact teams the same way they do in other sports. LeBron James, for example, carries whatever team he’s on to the NBA Finals. James has appeared in the NBA Finals every year dating back to 2011. Trout, despite being far and away the best active player in baseball and one of the best players of all time, has only reached the postseason once, in 2014 when his Angels were swept in the ALDS by the Royals. Trout can’t carry his team to the playoffs and his team hasn’t helped him any in getting there on a regular basis.

Baseball is also more of a regional sport. Fans follow their local team, of course, and don’t really venture beyond that even though games are broadcast nationally throughout the week. The NFL schedule is much shorter and occurs once a week, so fans put aside time to watch not just their favorite team’s game, but other games of interest as well. A June game between the subpar White Sox and Tigers doesn’t have much appeal to it since it’s one of 162 games for both teams, and both teams will play again later in the season. Comparatively, a game between the Bears and Lions has more intrigue since they only play twice a year.

It’s kind of a shame for baseball that Trout isn’t bigger than he is because he is a once-in-a-generation talent, like Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, Trout is so good that he’s still underrated. He’s on pace to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time, going by Wins Above Replacement. Despite that, he’s anything but a lock to win the MVP Award at season’s end because the narratives around other players, like Mookie Betts, are more compelling.

Trout’s marketability is an issue that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon. Trout is who he is and forcing him to ham it up for the cameras would come off as forced and unnatural. Major League Baseball will simply have to hope its other stars, like Betts and Bryce Harper, can help broaden the appeal of the sport.