The Red Sox finally out-hit the Tigers for the first time this series on Wednesday, collecting 12 hits to the Tigers' nine in a 7-3 loss that evened the series at two games apiece. But Red Sox manager John Farrell made a big change anyway.
Xander Bogaerts, 21, will make his first postseason start at third base in place of Will Middlebrooks, who is 4-for-23 (.174) with nine strikeouts and four walks through eight playoff games. Farrell opted to go with Bogaerts, the organization's top-ranked prospect and shortstop of the future, at third base instead of at shortstop, where Stephen Drew is just 3-for-28 with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Bogaerts is tied for third on the Red Sox with four runs scored, though he's yet to enter a game before the sixth inning. He's 1-for-2 with two walks in limited postseason play. He hit a double off Tigers' closer Joaquin Benoit and later scored in the ninth inning of Wednesday's loss. He'll be youngest postseason starter for the Red Sox since Babe Ruth in the 1916 World Series.
David Ross is back behind the plate instead of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ross has a way of keeping starter Jon Lester calm under pressure and Farrell likes the way the two work together.
Jonny Gomes is getting another start against a right-handed pitcher, a rarity throughout the regular season, though Farrell continues to show faith in Gomes for more than just his bat.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. Jonny Gomes, LF
7. Stephen Drew, SS
8. Xander Bogaerts, 3B
9. David Ross, C
A day after the Tigers erupted for seven runs on the heels of a new lineup that sent leadoff hitter Austin Jackson to the eight-hole, and Torii Hunter to the top spot for the first time since 2000, manager Jim Leyland is doing it again.
Hunter will lead off while Miguel Cabrera will hit second for the second consecutive game. Cabrera is 11-for-21 off Lester.
Jackson reached base four times Wednesday for the first time since August 31.
"I don't think the lineup was a big factor at all," Leyland said of his team's offensive outburst in Game 4. "I don't think it had anything to do with us necessarily winning the game. I think it did do one thing, I think by his own omission, I think it relaxed Austin Jackson a little bit. That was a mission accomplished."
Leyland also moved the left-handed Alex Avila down to No. 7 while moving Omar Infante to No. 6 with the left-handed Lester on the mound.
1. Torii Hunter, RF
2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
3. Prince Fielder, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, LF
6. Omar Infante, 2B
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Austin Jackson, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS