By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s Patriots’ Day in Boston. The weather is stormy. The baseball begins early. And the lineup is a bit wacky.
You’ve got to love it.
The Red Sox released their starting lineup for their late-morning matinee vs. the Orioles on Monday, and in its original form, it looked quite normal. Almost an hour later, though, the Red Sox tweeted out a new lineup, and it included … catcher Christian Vazquez getting the start at second base.
Vazquez has played in the field for 2,367.2 innings in his MLB career. Of that time, he’s spent 2,363.2 innings at catcher. He’s played a total of four innings in his career at third base — two innings in 2017 and two innings in 2018. Those were situations where the manager had to figure out some things in the late innings, and they certainly weren’t planned occurrences.
This time, though, it’s part of the plan. Or at least, it’s part of the plan now. Dustin Pedroia had been scheduled to bat leadoff and play second base before getting replaced by Vazquez. Perhaps the wet conditions dissuaded the Red Sox from placing the still-recovering Pedroia in harm’s way. So Pedroia was moved to DH, and infielder/part-time pitcher Eduardo Nunez is at least somewhat unavailable.
Speaking of harm’s way: catcher Blake Swihart was originally scheduled to start in left field for the Red Sox, but he’s back at his normal spot behind the dish in the new lineup. (Vazquez had been penciled in as the starting catcher in the original lineup.) Considering Swihart’s history in left field at Fenway … he was likely not upset about this late change.
1. Dustin Pedroia DH
2. Mookie Betts CF
3. Mitch Moreland 1B
4. J.D. Martinez RF
5. Xander Bogaerts SS
6. Rafael Devers 3B
7. Steve Pearce LF
8. Blake Swihart C
9. Christian Vazquez 2B
Manager Alex Cora said, well, he said he’s doing what he can today.
For Vazquez, despite that four innings of experience at third base, he hasn’t recorded any putouts or assists. A full day — or at least most of a day — at second base, should change that. For what it’s worth, Vazquez did play a little bit of third base in Single-A … in 2009.
And despite the rain that pummeled Boston early on Monday, it does appear as though the Red Sox and Orioles will be able to fit in an official game before round two of the storm comes back around in the afternoon. The Red Sox are looking to win three out of four from the Orioles before making the short trip to New York to face the Yankees this week.
UPDATE: Vazquez started a 4-6-3 double play to end the top of the first inning. That’s baseball right there.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Vazquez kept the good times rolling by making this nifty play to apply a tag at second base: