The Red Sox announced their list for their American League Division Series showdown on Thursday morning, revealing that slugger JD Martinez will be available for them for their top five sets. Martinez was dropped from Boston’s wild-card roster when he climbed to second base and sprained his ankle in the final game of the regular season, but after a few days of downtime he was healthy enough to take on DH duties.
What’s even more surprising is that the Red Sox have decided to drop right-hander Matt Burns from the roster for this special series. Burns, who signed for a two-year extension in July after an impressive three-month start to the season, became tense and lost his grip on a close role in the team.
It was a two-season true story for the two1-year-old Burns, who posted a 2.25 ERA and a massive 42% strikeout rate through his first 44 innings this season before falling with a 10.13 ERA in his last 10 2/3 innings. (Out of 16 appearances). Burns saw his strikeout rate drop to 26.7% as his 6.8% walk rate went up to 15% at that time. After allowing only four homers through his first 44 innings, he got four more results in those last 10 2/3 innings. Given that context, it’s understandable that Burns would miss the cut, but such a scenario never seemed impossible less than two months ago, when he put pen to paper on a two-year 18 18.75 million extension.
Here’s how Boston’s roster broke …
Right hand pitcher
Left hand pitcher
Infielder / Outfielder
It is also noteworthy that Santana has been added to the roster. The switch-hitting speedster has been on the list of covid-related injuries since Sept. 10, but the Red Sox opened a roster spot for him on Wednesday by shortstop Jose Iglesias (who was not post-season-qualified because he signed in mid-September). Santana will give the Sox some momentum, some pop and lots of defensive versatility – but overall it wasn’t fruitful for him in the 2021 season. In the presence of 127 plates, Santana batted just .181 / .252 / .345 with five homers and four stealing bases.
Center fielder Jaren Duran, catcher Connor Wang and infielder Jonathan Arauz were dropped from the roster for this round. These subtractions help pave the way for the addition of Chris Cell and Martin Perez, who were not on the wild card roster. It was sold out towards the end of the season and was not an alternative to the wild-card game, but he is expected to start during the division. That said, Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball against Ray and lefty Shane McClanahan for Game 1.