For the 10 years Joe Girardi has come to Fenway Park as manager of the New York Yankees, he always has accounted for the threat of David Ortiz’s bat in the middle of Boston’s lineup.
Without him, the Red Sox lineup is different, but still dangerous, Girardi said.
“It’s definitely different, but you’ve got to remember, there’s some really good hitters still in this lineup,” Girardi said. “A lot of them, from top to bottom. Maybe you don’t have that big bopper in the middle with all the presence and the experience, but they’re extremely talented offensively.”
Among Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, and Mookie Betts, the Sox have four players in the top 17 in the American League in batting average.
As a team, the Sox entered Wednesday’s game leading the majors in average (.279) and second in on-base percentage (.344).
But the power numbers have been missing early in the season. The Sox’ 11 homers are the fewest in baseball. By comparison, the two-run blast by Yankees rookie Aaron Judge in the second inning was his seventh of the season. The Yankees came in tied with the Orioles for the third-most homers in the American League (26).
Still, looking at the Sox lineup and their circumstances early in the season, Girardi said the homers would eventually come.
“I think home runs can come in bunches,” Girardi said. “It can happen quickly. I’m not surprised that they don’t have them, or I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a ton. Either way. It’s just a small sample size. They’ve been to some cold-weather cities as well. I know they were in Detroit, and that’s not a great place to hit home runs. And they had people that were ill. They had to deal with a number of things, so let’s hope it lasts a couple more days.”
Coming into the rain-shortened two-game series, the Yankees were sitting in second place in the AL East, a half-game ahead of the Sox.
“I think it really is an early test,” Girardi said. “Obviously this is a club that’s very talented all across the board, wherever you look, whether it’s defense, offense, running the bases, pitching, bullpen. They won the division, and they’re the team that set the mark last year. We’re in our division the division our next nine games — well, it’s eight now — and these are important games.”
With three days to rest after suffering a left knee injury in a collision with Manny Machado, Dustin Pedroia felt good enough to play when he arrived at Fenway on Tuesday, but the series opener vs. the Yankees was postponed because of rain.
On Wednesday, the lingering soreness in Pedroia’s knee was enough for manager John Farrell to keep the second baseman out of the lineup for a third straight game. Farrell said he didn’t want to risk a mishap with the Sox playing in wet conditions.
“Pedey’s still dealing with some soreness in the left knee,” Farrell said. “So after some work, he did yesterday here before the game — or the would-be game — felt like there were still some lingering symptoms there. I’ll be honest with you, with the wet grounds tonight I wasn’t going to take any further risk with the potential of some mis-footing.”
Farrell said Pedroia is day-to-day and will hopefully return to the lineup on Thursday.
Barnes drops appeals
As of Tuesday, Matt Barnes intended to go through with his appeal of the four-game suspension baseball handed him for throwing in the area of Machado’s head on Sunday, but Wednesday he decided to drop his appeal and began serving his suspension.
Barnes is set to return Sunday night against the Cubs.
Price throws bullpen
David Price continued to progress after throwing a bullpen Wednesday. The plan is to have him face live hitters Saturday.
Price threw a 45-pitch bullpen Monday and played catch Tuesday, getting into the rhythm of a typical five-day routine.
Delay for Holt
The weather has kept the Sox off the field for pregame workouts the past three days, and it’s cost Brock Holt the chance to go through drills and build toward going on a rehab assignment. Farrell said the team hopes to get him on the field in the coming days. “We’re looking at another day or two of early work to go through all the fielding drills before we get him out on a rehab assignment,” Farrell said. “The symptoms that caused the onset of the vertigo, that seems to be cleared up. The virus had some effect on that.” . . . Chris Sale is lined up to face Masahiro Tanaka Thursday in a duel between the game’s premier pitchers. In 10 career appearances against the Yankees, Sale is 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA.