Red Sox-Padres preview

BY foxsports • September 7, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- The Boston Red Sox play tourist for one more game, facing the Padres in San Diego on Wednesday

That means one more outing without David Ortiz in the starting lineup with no designated hitter in play.

That's big for Boston, having to go without Big Papi.

But Red Sox manager John Farrell shrugs about the dilemma as Boston goes for the series win on Wednesday. It's not like this Interleague series snuck up on anybody.

"The schedule is with it is," Farrell said. "We knew that this trip out here was going to be taking place last winter. The fact is you got 15 teams in each league so Interleague is going to be played (almost) every night."

They go against a club looking forward to the offseason. The Padres are steamrolling toward their sixth straight losing season.

The Red Sox have their sights set on the playoffs. Wednesday will be another critical game as they keep pace with the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto is where the Red Sox head next, as they'll get their passports stamped and their Big Papi -- he's in the AL top 10 in numerous categories -- back in the order.

Ortiz is making his final swing through Southern California as he'll retire at the end of the season. But his last tour has him in a pinch-hitter's role as the only glove Ortiz is wearing in the series is a batting glove.

He had a grand opportunity in the series opener on Monday. With the tying run in scoring position, Ortiz lifted a harmless fly ball to end the game.

So Ortiz will again be a key card for Farrell to play on Wednesday, as lefty David Price (14-8, 3.92) squares off against right-hander Jarred Cosart (0-2, 5.14).

Would Farrell like to have Ortiz and his production in his lineup? Yep, but he'll have to settle for Ortiz being a one-trick pony for another game.

"I think any time we don't have David Ortiz in the lineup ... sure that would negatively affect any club," Farrell said.

The Padres added a player and he could play on Wednesday. Outfielder Jon Jay was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, as he's been out since June 20. He was a catalyst as the leadoff man, batting .296 with 24 doubles, two home runs, 23 RBIs and 35 runs scored. His .345 on-base percentage fit in well, too.

Jay has always been cozy in center field. But with the rebuilding Padres doing auditions for next season at nearly every position, Jay will be on the move.

"You are going to see Jay start in all three spots," Padres manager Andy Green said.

Although Jay hasn't been on the field, he's still had an impact.

"Even during his injury absence, he was a clubhouse leader," Green said.

The same could be said for Ortiz, although he's idle for a different reason. But his impact is felt, with Green wondering when Farrell is going to send his slugger to the plate.

When Ortiz strolls to the dish, the Red Sox get an emotional boost as fans -- Boston's backers are packing Petco Park -- underscore the significance of his at-bats.