MLB

MLB playoffs: J.D. Martinez back in Red Sox lineup for ALDS Game 2 vs. Rays

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The Boston Red Sox will have J.D. Martinez in their lineup on Friday when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. 

Martinez, who tripped on second base returning to his outfield post during the season finale against the Washington Nationals, missed both Game 1 and the Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees with an ankle injury. Yet he’ll bat sixth and occupy the designated hitter spot on Friday night against Rays rookie right-hander Shane Baz.

Martinez, 34 years old, hit .286/.349/.518 (126 OPS+) with 28 home runs, 42 doubles, and 99 runs batted in during the regular season. His total contributions were estimated to be worth three Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference’s calculations.

During Martinez’s absence, the Red Sox tasked Kyle Schwarber with playing DH and had Bobby Dalbec at first base. Schwarber will shift to first base for Game 2, with Dalbec sitting on the bench until a pinch-hit opportunity presents. 

In other Red Sox news, they removed right-hander Garrett Richards from the roster because of a hamstring strain. Matt Barnes, who spent time at closer for the Red Sox earlier this season, has been added in Richards’ place. It’s worth noting that if the Red Sox advance, Richards would have to sit out the next series.

The Red Sox trail the Rays by a 1-0 margin in the best-of-five series. Friday’s game is not of the “must-win” variety by the strictest definition, but history does not favor teams who fall behind 2-0 in short series. Indeed, according to MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, just three of the 32 road teams to go down 2-0 in the 2-2-1 era have won their series. Contrariwise, 19 have been swept in three games. 

Martinez should, in theory, give the Red Sox better chances of avoiding that fate.



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