BOSTON (CBS) — With no real competition left in the AL East, have the Red Sox officially entered silly season? Well, no. But you might get that impression if you were to take a quick glance at the team’s lineup for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale in Atlanta.
Manager Alex Cora promised after Tuesday night’s win that his Wednesday lineup would be a bit unique. And he’s certainly followed through on that promise.
Here’s the starting nine for Wednesday:
1. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
2. Blake Swihart, RF
3. Andrew Benintendi, LF
4. Mitch Moreland, 1B
5. Brandon Phillips, 2B
6. Rafael Devers, 3B
7. Brock Holt, SS
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Hector Velazquez, SP
Bradley has started at the leadoff spot twice before this season, but this will be just his fourth career start in the leadoff spot. (He’s hitting .067 with a .125 on-base percentage in very limited action in that spot.) Swihart will be making just his sixth career start in right field, all of which have come this season. And the veteran Phillips will be making his 2018 MLB debut right in the heart of the order.
The lineup is notably missing MVP candidates Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, along with Xander Bogaerts.
After having won the first two games of the series, and with the benefit of the expanded rosters, Cora spoke freely Tuesday night about his plans.
“It’s going to be a luxury [Wednesday], I’ll tell you that,” Cora said. “People are going to go wild tomorrow, fantasy owners and all that. Sorry for them ahead of time, but it’s going to be an interesting lineup. It’s going to be a good one, but yeah, tune in.”
The Red Sox entered play Wednesday with an 8.5-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East. The game matters quite a bit more for the Braves, who entered Wednesday still holding on to a three-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East.
Wednesday’s game has the unique start time of 12:10 p.m., and Cora has provided an appropriately unique lineup to match.