For the first time since the July 31 trades, John Farrell will have a lineup that includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, and Allen Craig, batting fourth through seventh, against Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma for the season-series finale at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon.
“Their track record suggests it should be a deep lineup,” Farrell said. “We know we’re going up against a tough right-handed pitcher today. But the fact that we’ve got experienced veterans and guys with very good offensive performance in the past, it should pose a challenge. And I think as result, as we’ve seen Cespedes been added and then Craig and the obviously Napoli when he’s come back, I think it’s been a direct correlation to the pitches that David has seen in his at bats as well. So we’re hopeful that one another will benefit off the guys behind him.”
Ortiz is riding an 11-game on-base streak. His first-inning pop out on Saturday snapped a string of nine straight plate appearances reaching base. In 17 games since the trades were made, he has gone 21-for-58 with four doubles, five home runs, 16 RBI, and 12 walks, raising his average from .250 to .265.
He left Saturday’s game with a left elbow contusion after getting hit by a pitch. He is back in the lineup today. Farrell said Ortiz still has some soreness but the swelling has subsided.
• Brandon Workman, who had a disastrous outing on Saturday – given a 3-0 lead before giving up seven runs in the fourth – has been optioned back to Pawtucket. Heath Hembree was called up to take his place on the roster, as a long reliever.
Workman will make his next start Friday for the PawSox, the same day the Sox will need to add a starter at Tampa Bay. The Sox have not yet said who that pitcher will be. Anthony Ranaudo, who is starting today for the PawSox, is a candidate.
The Sox want Workman to work on keeping his pitches down in the strike zone, after leaving too many elevated on Saturday.
“We’ve talked about it before,” Farrell said. “It’s the consistency in the bottom of the [strike zone]. When he doesn’t have his better velocity, as he did last time out against the Angels and had better command down in the zone, that’s the primary focus with him. Yesterday I thought he did a good job getting ahead of a number of hitters, and yet the inability to put a guy away is that’s what reared its head in that inning.”
• Farrell was asked about the frustration level of some of his veteran players with so many young players on the roster and in the lineup, and the Sox on a seven-game losing streak, losing eight of their last nine games.
“While we’ve added some younger players, the turnover has been with experienced guys in their own right,” Farrell said. “So this hasn’t been a complete prospect-driven process by any means. That’s why the frustration is there. You see the guys that are in our lineup, that have been part of a strong offense, whether it’s been here or places in which they’ve come from. And yet our production, certainly the streak we’re on, suggest that our production has been very inconsistent. And that’s where we are.”
• Xander Bogaerts, who was hit in the helmet by a pitch Friday night and was out of the lineup Saturday to undergo concussion testing, will have further testing on Sunday. Farrell said, depending on the results of today’s exam, Bogaerts will either be cleared or placed on the disabled list with a corresponding roster move to be made.