Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks is headed to the disabled list with a fractured finger suffered last Saturday when he was hit by a pitch.
Middlebrooks actually played through the injury all week after sitting out Sunday, going 2-for-14 (.143) with six strikeouts. Brock Holt and Jonathan Herrera are the prime options to fill in at third base, but neither has much upside.
Middlebrooks was previously on the disabled list in April with a calf injury and has hit just .197 with two homers and a .629 OPS in 21 games when healthy enough to be in the lineup. Dating back to last season he’s hit just .222 with a .685 OPS and ghastly 121/27 K/BB ratio in 115 games, falling apart after a strong rookie season in which he hit .288 with 15 homers and an .835 OPS in 75 games.
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.