With a few alterations, the Red Sox will have their usual lineup together with a chance to win the World Series Wednesday night.
Right fielder Shane Victorino, who missed the last two games with a sore lower back, will be ready to start, according to manager John Farrell.
“He was available [Monday] night. There were no restrictions as far as the type of play. In other words, he wasn’t restricted to defense only or at the plate only. We fully expect him to be full go tomorrow,” Farrell said Tuesday.
The Sox also will get Mike Napoli back at first base. With no designated hitter in the National League park, David Ortiz played the last three games at first base against the St. Louis Cardinals and Napoli was limited to one at-bat.
Napoli had six extra-base hits and six RBIs in his first 12 games of the postseason.
“With Mike Napoli at first it gives us some additional range. And David Ortiz did a great job at first base,” Farrell said. “Getting one of our middle-of-the-order bats back to us, we’re hopeful that it really has a chance to extend the lineup even that much more.”
Farrell said he would stick with catcher David Ross for the third consecutive game. It would be the seventh start in 16 postseason games for Ross. He has displaced usual starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia at this point.
Ross is 6 for 21 in the postseason and Saltalamacchia 6 for 32.
“First of all, David has given us a spark offensively out of the position. And that’s not to be disrespectful to Salty in any way,” Farrell said. “We’ve had to try to jump-start a couple of different positions from an offensive standpoint. And at the same time David has done a great job with running the game from a game-calling perspective. And so that’s the thrust of him being back behind the plate.”
Farrell also will stay with Jonny Gomes in left field instead of Daniel Nava.
Nava was a far more productive hitter this season but the Sox are 9-1 in postseason games Gomes has started. He is hitting .154 (6 of 39) in the postseason but helped win several games, particularly Game 4 against the Cardinals with a three-run homer.
The Sox will be facing a righthander in Michael Wacha. But Farrell wants the righthanded hitting Gomes instead of Nava, who switch hits.
“You get to the point where you look at the style of the pitcher on the mound in Wacha and you look at what certain hitters in our lineup are more equipped to handle,” Farrell said. “Even though you might say, ‘Well, it’s a lefthanded hitter, [Nava] should be in there.’ But I like the matchup of Gomes vs. Nava. That doesn’t mean at some point in the game that Nava is not going to be involved. But that’s the way we’re going right now.”