Odd Alex Cora Lineup Headlined By Blake Swihart’s First 2018 Start At Catcher
Looking to sweep the Tigers at Fenway Park on Thursday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora is getting weird with his lineup.
That begins on the mound, as lefty Jalen Beeks will make his major league debut for Cora’s club.
The 24-year-old Beeks compiled a 3-3 record and 2.56 ERA through 10 starts with Triple-A Pawtucket this season, and comes up to the bigs with an International League-best 80 strikeouts through 56.1 innings with the PawSox. Beeks, a 12th-round pick of the Red Sox in 2014, has also held opponents to a mere .197 batting average in Triple-A this year.
Beeks’ spot start, a result of Drew Pomeranz landing on the disabled list, is obviously noteworthy.
But it’s nothing compared to third-string catcher Blake Swihart getting his first 2018 start at catcher. Swihart, who went from requesting a trade to earning playing time following Hanley Ramirez’ release, has been behind the plate for just two innings this season. A catching prospect since first jumping into the Red Sox prospect pool years ago now, the 26-year-old Swihart caught 12 innings in 2017, and made six starts as the Sox’ backstop in 2016. He’s hitting .157 with three RBIs this season.
“I’m excited,” Swihart told MassLive.com of starting behind the plate. “I love catching so I’m ready to be back there.”
In other ‘odd’ moves, Sam Travis will make his second start in as many days, but shifts from designated hitter to left field. The 24-year-old Travis is 2-for-5 with three RBIs this season. This will be Travis’ first MLB appearance in left field.
With Travis in left, J.D. Martinez will shift to right field, and Christian Vasquez gets the call at DH.
The Red Sox have won four games in a row, and have captured wins in seven of their last 10 games overall.