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Red Sox lineup: It's rest time for some starters

Rob Bradford
March 31, 2018 - 2:31 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The first two games? Identical lineups. Game 3? Not so much.

With the Rays choosing to go with a bullpen game instead of designating a starting pitcher, Red Sox manager Alex Cora has chosen to mix things up a bit for his own lineup. Two regulars will start the night on the bench, with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rafael Devers both getting a breather.

The move with Bradley Jr. allows J.D. Martinez to get his first action in the outfield, starting in left with Andrew Benintendi shifting over to center field. That pushes Hanley Ramirez to the designated hitter spot, with Mitch Moreland getting his start of the season at first.

Without Devers at third, Eduardo Nunez slides over across the diamond, with Brock Holt taking his place at second base. Sandy Leon also starts for the first time, catching starting pitcher Rick Porcello.

"Just because you’re 21 years old, it doesn’t mean that the turf is going to be softer. So we’re going to take care of him, too," Cora said of Devers. "It was either, or. It was Nunez today and Devers tomorrow, or the other way around. Nuney was pushing to play today, so the young kid is going to play at 1 o’clock. No big deal. J.D., as we know, he can play the outfield. For Mitch to get at-bats, that’s part of the equation. It’s something that’s going to happen. It’s going to happen because we need these guys to be fresh. That’s a good big league lineup. Brock is a good hitter. Mitch is a good hitter. So, I’m very comfortable with the guys that we’re running out there. It’s not like we’re losing thunder or offense because these guys are playing. This is a very capable lineup, and I feel very comfortable."

Here is the Red Sox' lineup ...

Mookie Betts RF

Andrew Benintendi CF

Hanley Ramirez DH

J.D. Martinez LF

Xander Bogaerts SS

Mitch Moreland 1B

Eduardo Núñez 3B

Brock Holt 2B

Sandy Leon C