Alex Verdugo is out of the Boston Red Sox lineup against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, as manager Alex Cora looks to avoid a matchup against Robbie Ray.
The lefty has a 2.93 ERA for the Blue Jays and is 8-4 in 18 starts. Against left-handed hitters, though, batters suffer a .165 batting average.
“It has a lot to do with the guy on the mound, we usually don?t do this, but Ray has been amazing against lefties,” Alex Cora shared ahead of the game. “He’s been tough. Trying to put all those guys from one side and see if we can actually hit some balls in the air and get him out of the game early enough.”
Verdugo typically has been in the lineup regardless against both right- and left-handed hitters, and recent call-up Jarren Duran also was scratched from the order due to the pitching matchup.
Still, Verdugo has struggled at the plate of late.
The outfielder is batting .195 with just three extra-base hits against fellow lefties, down from .320 last year. Over his recent slump this month, Verdugo’s average is .235. His manager says that’s not entirely why Boston is opting for Danny Santana in left field instead for Wednesday.
“A little bit, but I think it’s more about the guy on the mound,” Cora said. “We’re facing a lefty tomorrow, and most likely he’s going to be out there. He’s going to play. I know it’s more about Ray. I said that yesterday and I kept looking and I was like, you know what, Danny has hit three homers against him, Hunter (Renfroe) has hit four, I think. Kiké (Hernández) has done the same thing. So, let’s put all these righties with Raffy (Devers) and see where it takes us.”
NESN will air full coverage of Red Sox-Blue Jays. Pregame coverage starts at 6 p.m. ET with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET and postgame coverage immediately following the final out.