Red Sox

Red Sox Lineup: Bogaerts, Moreland get rest against Verlander

Red Sox Lineup: Bogaerts, Moreland get rest against Verlander

The Boston Red Sox are, once again, looking to avoid a sweep in the final game of a three-game series against the Houston Astros. And they will be facing a difficult task in doing so.

The Astros, winners of the first two games of the series by scores of 4-3, will march their ace, Justin Verlander, to the hill on Sunday. Verlander has an 8-1 record and a sparkling 2.24 ERA. He has allowed just one run or fewer in 8-of-11 starts this year, so it will be difficult for the Red Sox to find offensive success against him.

Against Verlander, the Red Sox are sitting a couple of their normal starters. Xander Bogaerts will sit for just the third time this season and Eduardo Nunez will take over for him at the shortstop position. Nunez will bat ninth.

Meanwhile, Mitch Moreland will sit in favor of Steve Pearce despite the righty/right matchup. Moreland also has a .313 average with six extra-base hits against Verlander, so the decision to sit him today is certainly a strange one. But perhaps he was just due for a day off after seeing action of 10 of the team's last 11 games.

Here's a look at the starting lineups for both squads. First pitch will be at 2:10 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.

BOSTON RED SOX (27-25)
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Mookie Betts, RF
Rafael Devers, 3B
J.D. Martinez, DH
Michael Chavis, 2B
Christian Vazquez, C
Steve Pearce, 1B
Jackie Bradley, CF
Eduardo Nunez, SS

Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (4-3, 5.43 ERA)

HOUSTON ASTROS (35-18)
Aldemys Diaz, 2B
Alex Bregman, 3B
Michael Brantley, DH
Carlos Correa, SS
Yuli Gurriel, 1B
Josh Reddick, RF
Robinson Chirinos, C
Jake Marisnick, CF
Derek Fisher, LF

Justin Verlander, RHP (8-1, 2.24 ERA)

Price on early exit: "I wanted to stay in">>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Pedro Martinez hopes MLB owners, players can think about fans and compromise

Pedro Martinez hopes MLB owners, players can think about fans and compromise

The NHL has announced a return-to-play strategy. The NBA could announce its plan as soon as Thursday after a Board of Governors vote.

And then there's Major League Baseball.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

MLB's first proposal was quickly shot down by the Players' Association, which submitted its own plan over the weekend. That's also expected to be immediately dismissed. And as the days tick by, the hopes for a 2020 season get dimmer. While there's still time to salvage a season, the lack of productive dialogue between the league and the MLBPA is getting discouraging.

Speaking on NBC Sports Network's "Lunch Talk Live" on Monday afternoon, Pedro Martinez voiced his frustration with the stalemate.

"I'm hoping that both sides actually stop thinking about their own good and start thinking about the fans," Martinez said. "I think this is a perfect time to have their baseball teams out there and try to have the people forget a little bit about what's going on. It's not only the pandemic, it's everything that's going on. People need something to actually do and find a way to relax. I hope that the Players' Association and MLB realize how important it is to bring some sort of relief to people."

Martinez is spot-on with the sentiment that sports returning would be a welcome respite from the news right now. But getting players back on the field is proving to be complicated, especially as the sides navigate the financials of a shorter season without revenue from tickets.

"The economics is the dark part of baseball. The business part of baseball is dirty. It's dark," Martinez told Tirico. "And I hope that they take into consideration who pays our salaries, what the people do for us, how important the people are, and forget about or at least bend your arm a little bit to find a middle ground for the negotiations.

Let's not be selfish about it. Let's think about the fans, let's think about the families that are home that want to at least watch a baseball game and distract themselves from all the things that are going on.

Ongoing disputes over money are reflecting horribly on the sport, and cancelling the entire 2020 season could do irreperable harm to a sport that has seen its popularity ebb in recent years.

Fans can only hope that the sides take Pedro's advice, and find some common ground — and do it quickly. 

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

Relive Manny Ramirez's greatest moments on Red Sox legend's 48th birthday

One of the most entertaining players ever to don a Boston Red Sox uniform was born 48 years ago today.

That would be Manny Ramirez, who celebrates his birthday on May 30. In honor of the special occasion, Major League Baseball tweeted an awesome video that includes some of Ramirez's greatest moments:

Watch below:

That cutoff of Johnny Damon's throw never gets old.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

Ramirez joined the Red Sox in 2001 after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Indians. From there, he became a key contributor to two World Series titles (2004 and 2007) and furthered his legacy as one of the best right-handed hitters of all time.

He isn't done yet, either. Ramirez announced just a couple of months ago he is hoping to find a roster spot in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League. More "Manny Being Manny"? That sounds great to us.

We wish a very happy birthday to one of the greatest (and most interesting) players in Red Sox history.