Red Sox manager Alex Cora is making some interesting tweaks to the lineup as his team looks to avoid a sweep.
Boston has dropped the first two contests of their three-game set against the Houston Astros this weekend, but will look to end things on a high note in the Sunday primetime contest.
With the offense mostly anemic against Astros pitching, Cora will elect to insert Brandon Phillips into the lineup. The 37-year-old, who will play third base and bat seventh, made his mark in his Red Sox debut Wednesday, clubbing the go-ahead two-run home run in the ninth inning in a 9-8 win over the Atlanta Braves. Phillips starting also means Rafael Devers will sit. Devers was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a throwing error in Saturday’s loss.
Jackie Bradley Jr. also will get the night off, which means Mookie Betts will shift to center field and J.D. Martinez will occupy right. With Martinez in the field, Eduardo Nunez will be the designated hitter. Mitch Moreland, who has been slumping, will be replaced in the No. 5 spot and first base by Steve Pearce.
Cora indicated Saturday that he planned on starting Blake Swihart behind the plate. He appears to have had a change of heart, as Sandy Leon will handle the catching. Leon long has been the unofficial personal catcher for Sunday’s starter Rick Porcello, which would have made Swihart’s appearance as the backstop notable. Leon, renowned for his ability to call a game, will bat ninth.
The Astros will send out Dallas Keuchel to handle the pitching.
Here are the full lineups for Sunday’s Red Sox-Astros game:
RED SOX (97-45)
Mookie Betts, CF
Andrew Benintendi, LF
J.D. Martinez, RF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Steve Pearce, 1B
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Brandon Phillips, 3B
Eduardo Nunez, DH
Sandy Leon, C
Rick Porcello, RHP (16-7, 4.20 ERA)
George Springer, CF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Alex Bregman, 3B
Yuli Gurriel, 1B
Carlos Correa, SS
Marwin Gonzalez, LF
Tyler White, DH
Brian McCann, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Dallas Keuchel, LHP (11-10, 3.46 ERA)
Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images