The Red Sox had two key players — center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia — out of the lineup for their 2-1 victory Tuesday night over the Tigers.
Ellsbury has a bone bruise and swelling in his left hand, a condition that caused him to leave Sunday’s game. He played Monday but took himself out of the lineup early Tuesday afternoon.
The Red Sox moved Shane Victorino to center field and Daniel Nava to right. Jonny Gomes started in left. Gomes was 2 for 4 with a run.
Ellsbury has been icing his left hand after games for several weeks. The issue worsened over the weekend.
“He was jammed pretty good [on Sunday] and the bat kind of jammed into that thumb/palm area of his left hand once again [Monday],” manager John Farrell said. “Felt like today was a day he needed to try to get ahead of it.”
The Sox wanted Ellsbury in the lineup against Detroit starter Max Scherzer. He was 5 for 9 with a double and a home run against Scherzer, who was going for his 20th win of the season.
Farrell said the injury is something Ellsbury will have to manage the rest of the season. The Sox expect him to return to the lineup Wednesday night.
Saltalamacchia has a sore lower back and is expected to miss two or three days to get rest and treatment.
“That’s what we have planned for him over the next three days,” Farrell said. “Over the past three or four days, it started to rear its head a little bit more than some general soreness guys are dealing with. Throughout the course of [Monday’s] game, it became a little bit more apparent that he needed a little bit of a breather.”
Saltalamacchia is hitless in his last 14 at-bats, partially as a result of the back issue. Farrell said the catcher’s throwing has been affected, too.
“I’ve been dealing with some physical things,” Saltalamacchia said Monday.
According to Farrell, the injury is not related to a specific event. It’s more the result of wear and tear over the course of the season.
Saltalamacchia has caught 900⅓ innings this season, the most of his career and fourth in the American League. He started 46 of the first 70 games behind the plate as the Sox liberally used backup David Ross.
Ross went on the disabled list in mid-June because of a concussion and did not return until Aug. 19. Through Monday, Saltalamacchia had caught 54 of the previous 69 games.
Ross started Tuesday night. With the rosters expanded, the Red Sox also are carrying Ryan Lavarnway.
Playoff schedule set
Major League Baseball announced the schedule for the postseason. The American League wild-card game is Oct. 2, three days after the end of the regular season.
The two best-of-five American League Division Series start Oct. 4.
The best-of-seven American League Championship Series would start Oct. 10, with the World Series opening at the home of the American League champion Oct. 23.
If the Series goes seven games, it would end Oct. 31.
The regular season ends Sept. 29. If the Red Sox win the division, they would have four days off before starting a division series.
Buchholz rehab start
Clay Buchholz will make his third — and final — minor league rehabilitation start for Triple A Pawtucket in Rochester, N.Y., Thursday.
Buchholz had been scheduled to pitch Wednesday but is being excused for the birth of his second child.
“He gets a day for that,” Farrell said.
Barring a setback, Buchholz would be ready to pitch Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox haven’t said when Buchholz will be activated off the disabled list.
“With Monday being an off day, our overall plan doesn’t change,” Farrell said.
The Ross effect
With Saltalamacchia out for a few days, the Sox will lean on Ross. That could have a positive effect on the pitching staff.
The Sox are 3-1 in the games Ross has started since coming off the DL and have allowed only seven runs. Farrell and winning pitcher Jon Lester both mentioned his game management against the Tigers.
“That was a lot of fun tonight,” Ross said. “The crowd and playing [the Tigers] made it kind of a little playoff atmosphere. The crowd was really into it and I think the guys were excited.
“That atmosphere and what the pitchers were doing, that was a fun game to call.”
Will Middlebrooks stole second base in the fifth inning. The Sox have been successful in their last 21 steal attempts, last getting caught on Aug. 9 . . . Koji Uehara has been perfect in his last six save situations, matching a team record set by Jeff Russell in 1993. His stretch of 22 consecutive scoreless outings is the second-longest in team history. Daniel Bard had a 25-game streak in 2011 (covering 26⅓ innings) . . . The Sox bullpen has allowed two runs on nine hits in 20⅔ innings on this homestand . . . Daniel Nava has reached base safely in 38 consecutive starts. Only Miguel Cabrera (44) and Mike Trout (40) have had longer such streaks in the AL this season . . . Xander Bogaerts was named USA Today’s minor league player of the year . . . The Tigers called up lefthander Jose Alvarez, righthander Jeremy Bonderman, and catcher Bryan Holaday from Triple A Toledo.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.