It's safe to say that Buck Showalter knows more about managing a baseball team than any of us do or ever could know. This does not mean that the sense of his decisions is immediately apparent.
Take the continued lack of playing time for Hyun Soo Kim, continuing tonight despite the Red Sox starting a right-handed pitcher, Rick Porcello. Kim is on the bench in favor of Ryan Flaherty, of all people, because Flaherty has a 1.110 OPS against Porcello in 15 career plate appearances. This same logic got Flaherty a couple of starts against Porcello last season and he went 1-5.
It's also the case that in 98 career plate appearances in Fenway Park, Flaherty has an OPS of .831. One might assume this is somehow connected to Flaherty being from Maine, making Fenway the place most likely for him to be visited by relatives, and who doesn't want to play well in front of their parents? If Flaherty's parents make him have an OPS of .831 maybe the Orioles could get them to follow the team everywhere.
Notwithstanding all of that, it seems to me that finding numbers to justify putting Flaherty in left field over Kim is overthinking it. Kim is a better hitter than Flaherty against probably any pitcher. Why mess around with that?
There's one more weird thing about this lineup. In the original lineup, Welington Castillo was playing. He was scratched about an hour and 45 minutes before game time. Caleb Joseph is now playing and batting ninth. Maybe he can get another couple of RBI, although I won't be holding my breath here. Showalter said Castillo is having neck spasms and is not a DL candidate immediately.
Do well tonight, Dylan Bundy. This game will be on ESPN as they anticipate possible drama from the Red Sox (a reasonable assumption in any scenario, to be fair) - in addition to its usual home on the MASN family of networks.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Seth Smith - RF||Xander Bogaerts - SS|
|Adam Jones - CF||Andrew Benintendi - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Mookie Betts - RF|
|Mark Trumbo - DH||Hanley Ramirez - DH|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Mitch Moreland - 1B|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Jackie Bradley - CF|
|Ryan Flaherty - LF||Sandy Leon - C|
|Caleb Joseph - C||Marco Hernandez - 3B|
|Dylan Bundy - RHP||Rick Porcello - RHP|