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J.D. Martinez in left field for Game 3, Andrew Benintendi benched

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When an American League team with an established DH plays in a National League park it always raises the question of whether to bench the DH or whether to force him into the defensive alignment. The Red Sox have known that was coming with J.D. Martinez for some time, and there has been significant speculation regarding where he’ll play in Los Angeles.

Alex Cora ended the speculation a little while ago when he released his lineup: J.D. Martinez will play in left field and Andrew Benintendi will ride pine.

The lineup:

1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
2. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
3. Mitch Moreland (L) 1B
4. J.D. Martinez (R) LF
5. Brock Holt (L) 2B
6. Rafael Devers (L) 3B
7. Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) CF
8. Christian Vazquez (R) C
9. Rick Porcello (R)

Some had speculated that Mookie Betts might play second base, which was his original position, allowing Martinez to play in right, but it’s been a while since he’s played there and the Sox have decided to keep the presumptive MVP in his usual position and go with Brock Holt at the keystone.

Another thing they could’ve done is put Martinez in right, slid Betts to center and kept Benintendi in the game, but I like this move better. Martinez is going to be a defensive liability wherever he plays. He’ll be less of one in left than right and, if you keep Jackie Bradley Jr. in the game at least you have your best defensive outfielder next to Martinez to at least try to cover for him. Not that Martinez is a complete tourist out there, as he played 32 games in left field during the season.

As for the Dodgers, there are no surprises here. Against the righty Rick Porcello they, finally, put their big bats in the starting lineup, with Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson getting the call:

1. Joc Pederson (L) LF
2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. Max Muncy (L) 1B
4. Manny Machado (R) SS
5. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Chris Taylor (R) 2B
9. Walker Buehler (R) P P

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.