Red Sox send the beards to the bench — Napoli and Gomes won’t start Game 3

Big League Stew

ST. LOUIS — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell isn't making us wait until Saturday to clear up a few of his World Series lineup questions heading into the first of three games at Busch Stadium.

In a not-at-all surprising move, David Ortiz, the Red Sox's usual DH, will get the start at first base. That relegates Boston's No. 2 power man (and No. 1 beard), Mike Napoli, to pinch-hitting duty.

It's a damned choice either way for the Sox, since you don't want to sit a guy like Napoli, who hit 23 homers and drove in 92 runs in the regular season. But those are the rules in the National League park, rules that the opposing St. Louis Cardinals will certainly benefit from. Though, having Napoli available to pinch hit could prove beneficial.

Farrell announced two other lineup matters during his Friday press conference that will put a few questions to rest:

• Daniel Nava will get the start in left field instead of the Red Sox's other famous beard (and biggest personality), Jonny Gomes. Gomes has struggled in the postseason, hitting .156 with only two RBIs. Nava is much better against right-handed pitchers and the Red Sox face righty Joe Kelly in Game 3. Nava hit .322 against RHP in the regular season while Gomes hit .258

• Farrell confirmed that Clay Buchholz will be Boston's Game 4 starter. There have been questions all week about Buchholz's health. Farrell had said (a few times) that Buchholz would pitch this weekend, but couched it with words like "right now."

"He went through a throwing program today," Farrell said about Buchholz. "Went back to about a hundred feet with some increased intensity along the way, and he's starting Sunday."

Buchholz will face Lance Lynn of the Cardinals in Game 4.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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