Red Sox

Red Sox Lineup: Chavis leads off; Benintendi, Moreland sit vs. LHP

Red Sox Lineup: Chavis leads off; Benintendi, Moreland sit vs. LHP

The Boston Red Sox are taking on the Houston Astros in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon. And for the contest, the Red Sox lineup looks a bit different than normal.

Facing lefthanded pitcher, and former Red Sox, Wade Miley, Boston is giving Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland the day off. As a result, J.D. Martinez will play left field while Jackie Bradley Jr. gets a chance to play center, despite the unfavorable matchup against Miley. In Martinez's place at DH, Eduardo Nunez will once again start and bat eighth.

The biggest wrinkle in the lineup is that the Sox are batting Michael Chavis lead-off. Chavis has had a hot start to his major league career, batting .281 with 7 homers, and he will get a chance to get on base in front of Mookie Betts. It also means that the Red Sox will start off their day with six consecutive righthanded batters, clearly a strategic move against Miley, who has allowed a .248 batting average to righties compared to a .186 mark against lefties.

The other major note in the lineup is that hot-hitting catcher Christian Vazquez will bat fifth. Vazquez has already set a career-high in homers with six and has stepped up his game since Blake Swihart was DFA'd. If he keeps hitting well, he will continue to hold down a middle-of-the-order spot. 

On the mound for the Red Sox will be Chris Sale. After a rough start to the season, Sale is coming off a 17 strikeout game, and he will be looking to repeat his success against one of the league's best all-around lineups.

Here's a look at the lineups for both sides ahead of today's game. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

BOSTON RED SOX (23-22)
Michael Chavis 2B
Mookie Betts RF
J.D. Martinez LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Christian Vazquez C
Steve Pearce 1B
Rafael Devers 3B
Eduardo Nunez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
--
Chris Sale LHP (1-5, 4.24 ERA)

HOUSTON ASTROS (31-15)
George Springer RF
Alex Bregman 3B
Michael Brantley DH
Carlos Correa SS
Yuli Gurriel 2B
Tyler White 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
Josh Reddick LF
Jake Marisnick CF
--
Wade Miley LHP (4-2, 3.51 ERA)

Swihart DFA challenged Vazquez, and he's delivering>>>

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How Bobby Bonilla Day can save MLB's ongoing salary dispute

How Bobby Bonilla Day can save MLB's ongoing salary dispute

If baseball wants to solve its impasse over player compensation during the pandemic, here's a thought — make Bobby Bonilla Day a holiday.

Bonilla is the former Mets slugger who struck an incredible deal as his career wound to a close.

In exchange for waiving the final $5.9 million he was owed in 2000, Bonilla agreed to receive 25 payments of roughly $1.19 million every July 1 from 2011 through 2035.

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Why trade $6 million in 2000 for nearly $30 million later? Because Mets owner Fred Wilpon intended to invest the money with Bernie Madoff, whose funds consistently delivered massive returns. We now know Madoff was running the world's biggest Ponzi Scheme, and when his $64 billion fraud collapsed in 2008, it took hundreds of millions of Wilpon's money with it.

What's bad for him was good for Bobby Bo, however. Every summer, the six-time All-Star receives a check for over a million dollars, payments that will continue until he's 72. (The Mets, it should be noted, also agreed to make 25 annual $250,000 payments to Bret Saberhagen for similar reasons, starting in 2004.)

Here's where the current contentiousness enters the picture.

The owners want the players to take a massive pay cut in exchange for a season, arguing they can't afford to play in empty ballparks without salary concessions. The players don't want to return a penny, and in fact hope to play more than the proposed 82 games to make as much of their prorated salaries as possible.

One solution is deferrals. The players agree to put off some portion of their earnings, allowing ownership to maintain cash flow in the short term before the game's economics hopefully stabilize in the future.

And what better day to do it than Bobby Bonilla Day? Every July 1 starting next year, the players can receive a portion of their 2020 salary. Maybe it's paid in installments over three to five years, or maybe it's a lump sum.

However it's done, it could represent a meaningful olive branch from the players and a signal that they're willing to compromise in these unprecedented times.

The value for the owners is clear, because Wilpon isn't the only one who sees the allure of deferrals. The World Series champion Nationals prefer them as a rule, deferring not only $105 million of Max Scherzer's $210 million contract, but even $3 million of the $4 million they gave reliever Joe Blanton in 2017.

With players and owners at each other's throats, it could be disarming to invoke one of the game's stranger annual curiosities. And if it helps us play baseball in 2020, there's also this: Open the season on July 1 and make Bobby Bonilla Day, for one year anyway, a national holiday.

Who are the best right fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best right fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Corner outfielders for the Red Sox have vastly different responsibilities. 

While left fielders have to learn how to play with the Green Monster at their backs, right fielders are tasked with covering an immense amount of ground with some quirky angles —duties which require not just a mobile defender, but a fearless one. A strong arm helps, too, lest the turnstiles between first and third just spin all game.

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Fortunately for the Red Sox, there have been no shortage of exceptional right fielders over the years, including a number who didn't make our top five, like Dirt Dog Trot Nixon; postseason heroes J.D. Drew and Shane Victorino; and Earl Webb, whose 67 doubles in 1931 remain one of the longest-standing single-season records in the game.

The final list includes a Hall of Famer, two MVPs, a hometown hero, and one of the franchise's longest tenured stars.

Click here for the Top 5 right fielders in Red Sox history.