Alex Cora has found a creative way to keep Christian Vazquez' hot bat in the lineup while still having Chris Sale pitch to Sandy Leon behind the plate.
Vazquez will make his first career start at first base tonight in the second game of the Red Sox' interleague series against the Dodgers at Fenway Park.
Vazquez has played one major league inning at first base, the ninth inning of an 11-4 blowout of the Detroit Tigers on April 24.
Vazquez is hitting .302 with a career-high 15 homers (he's never had more than five in a full season) and in July, he's hitting .400 with four homers and eight RBI, including a home run in an 8-1 victory on Friday night. Sale's ERA is more than three runs higher with Vazquez behind the plate this season than with Leon (6.68 to 2.96).
And with Sale (3-8, 4.04 ERA overall) struggling in his last start (five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings) with Vazquez catching, this lineup against Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling (3-3, 3.79) appears to be Cora's answer to that conundrum:
Mookie Betts, RF
Rafael Devers, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
J.D. Martinez, DH
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Christian Vázquez, 1B
Brock Holt, 2B
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Chris Sale, RHP
Vazquez started at second base earlier this season and has played some third as his career year at the plate has kept him in the lineup.
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