With his Boston Red Sox squad reeling over the past month, skipper Terry Francona has been trying some different things out in his lineup hoping for someone to spark the team.
He moved Carl Crawford up in the order having him batting second only to see it not work out. He’d also tweaked where a few other guys hit in the lineup and even had Jed Lowrie batting cleanup on Tuesday night in Baltimore.
But the one move he made on Tuesday, precipitated by injuries to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek, turned out to be that spark the Red Sox needed. And it came at the right time when the team needed a win.
Ryan Lavarnway made his MLB start behind the dish last night and delivered at the plate and behind it.
He had two home runs, including a 3-run johnson that put the Red Sox up for good, in their 8-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The home runs were the first ones of his career. And oh by the way, he had a good night behind the plate throwing out Adam Jones stealing third and made a great defensive play on a bunt in the 9th inning that prevented the go-ahead run from gettting on base.
With Saltlamacchia probably available tonight, Tito has a decision to make. Does he ride the hot bat of Lavarnway with Jon Lester on the mound? Or does he go with Salty with whom Lester is more comfortable throwing to?
Personally, I thought Lavarnway did a great job behind the plate last night. He wasn’t calling his own game as Erik Bedard did that for himself. When he wasn’t sure of something, he went out to the mound to make sure he and the pitcher were on the right page. I’d also have to think he did a lot of talking with Salty and Tek between innings as well like he did before the game.
My guess is though that Tito may ask Lester who he wants back there. You want him to be comfortable on the mound, especially given what’s on the line tonight. But then again, Tito does like to ride the hot bat when he can.
So what is on the line tonight for the Red Sox.
If they win, they are guaranteed at minimum to play on Thursday. However if the Tampa Bay Rays lose to the New York Yankees, the Red Sox are the AL Wild Card. If the Red Sox lose and Rays win, they’re probably making plans to meet up with me out here in Hawaii.
So in a nutshell, both win or both lose, they play Thursday at 4:07 p.m. at Tropicana Field. If one team wins and one team loses, the losing team is going on vacation.
I’m also going to say that just about everyone who is healthy is available in the bullpen. And yes that probably even includes last night’s bullpen savior in Alfredo Aceves who threw 3.2 innings after Bedard exited after 3.1 innings of work.
While the Red Sox shouldn’t be in this situation, unfortunately it was it is. So even though the regular season isn’t over, the playoffs really start tonight for the Red Sox. They know what they need to do to continue playing, they just have to go out and execute it.
And, I for one, know they can do it.
We’ll be back later with tonight’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups, news and any links from the day. But for now, enjoy the overnight links by click on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.
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Papelbon: Sox will be going to Tampa Bay [Alex Speier – WEEI.com]
Acing the test: How a Yale education prepared Lavarnway to save the Red Sox [Alex Speier – WEEI.com]
Cecchini Baseball America’s No. 2 NYPL Prospect [Baseball America]
All square [Boston Globe]
Still tied, one game left [Boston Globe]
Sox fans staggering to the finish [Boston Globe]
Skidding back into the ’70s [Boston Globe]
Aceves comes up aces [Boston Globe]
Red Sox plans are finalized [Boston Globe]
Red Sox play off rookie [Boston Herald]
Despite collapse, it’s exciting [Boston Herald]
Forgiving only in cards [Boston Herald]
Ironman now Alfredo Aceves’ role [Boston Herald]
Clay Buchholz to stay with Red Sox, may be active Wednesday [Clubhouse Insider]
Sox beat O’s, remain tied for wild card [CSN New England]
Bedard: The pitcher that almost wasn’t [CSN New England]
Lavarnway steps up in big way in must-win game [CSN New England]
Lavarnway: Good hitter, even better house guest [CSN New England]
Notes: Aceves continues to prove worth out of pen [CSN New England]
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 8, Orioles 7 [ESPN Boston]
Video: The wild wild-card finish [ESPN Boston]
Aceves shows value out of ‘pen again [ESPN Boston]
Video: Edes and Kurkjian weigh in [ESPN Boston]
Boston Red Sox have one more act in wild-card drama [ESPN Boston]
Ryan Lavarnway unlikely hero in saving Boston Red Sox [ESPN Boston]
Why Joe Biden is rooting for the Red Sox [ESPN Boston]
Lavarnway: ‘This is what you dream about as a kid’ [Full Count]
Vote Human Home Run as Promo of the Year! [LowellSpinners.com]
Ryan gives them hope [Providence Journal]
Aceves remains automatic out of bullpen [Providence Journal]
Season could rest on Lester’s arm [Providence Journal]
Red Sox Journal: Francona shuffles lineup in crucial game [Providence Journal]
Aceves helping keep Red Sox afloat in race [RedSox.com]
Why there’s nobody the Red Sox rather have save their season than Jon Lester [Rob Bradford – WEEI.com]
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