SAN DIEGO — Jackie Bradley Jr. has been the odd man out at Petco Park.
With National League rules taking away the designated hitter, J.D Martinez was back in right field again on Saturday, leaving Bradley on the bench for the second night in a row.
Manager Alex Cora said he wasn’t sure if Bradley would start on Sunday either, given the Padres will send a lefty to the mound in Joey Lucchesi.
Bradley has been swinging a hot bat, hitting .320 with four homers in his past seven games, but he seems to have fallen out of favor with Cora.
The last time the Red Sox played in an NL park was early April, when Bradley started 2-of-3 in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.
Martinez could start a third straight game in the outfield on Sunday, Cora said.
“We’ll see how he comes out tonight,” Cora said. “He’s in a good place now. He didn’t play two innings defensively yesterday, and that benefits him. It’s one of those (things where) we need his bat in the lineup.”
Lost in the shuffle of Eduardo Rodriguez’ great start on Friday, when he tossed seven scoreless innings for the second consecutive outing, was his dominance of Manny Machado.
Twice Machado hit weak groundballs off Rodriguez, who induced a key double play in the fourth inning.
Rodriguez has faced Machado more than any other player in his career. Machado has yet to do anything against him. He’s just 6-for-37 (.162) with two doubles and no home runs off the lefty.
“I know how many times I’ve faced Manny, and I know it’s funny because every time we talk, even when he was in Baltimore, he just wants to hit the ball out of the ballpark against me,” Rodriguez said. “And I’ve got to thank God he doesn’t have one yet because it’s going to be really fun on his part if he hits one. I know that. But I know he wants to hit the ball hard all the time and I tried to locate a really good changeup, and that’s a really big double play there.”
The Red Sox continue to score more runs for Rodriguez than any other pitcher. They’re averaging 7.4 runs per game when he’s on the mound, leading to his 15-5 record.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I know they hit well every time everybody starts in the game, the relievers or whatever, so I try to put zeroes up there and they score runs. We know what team we have. We know how they hit.”
Nathan Eovaldi was on the mound Saturday night for his second start since returning from elbow surgery.
Cora said he was hoping for seven innings from Eovaldi, but Padres manager Andy Green noted that the right-hander has been beatable this year.
“His stuff is real,” Green said before the game. “Everyone who watched the postseason last year knows that. He’s been squared up some this year, with command issues at times. For us, we’ll take advantage of them if command issues are there and get a fastball early in the count. Don’t wait until late in the count.”
Batters are hitting .362 with a 1.177 OPS against Eovaldi when ahead in the count this year.
Brian Johnson is still expected to start on Sunday, but Cora said he might change his mind based on who the Sox use on Saturday.
Johnson has really struggled since returning from a personal issue.
“I mean the last few innings against the Phillies were good,” Cora said. “He was able to mix up his pitches, use his fastball in different spots. He was able to get outs. The one in Cleveland we didn’t play good defense behind him. We were fully rested in the bullpen so we were aggressive as far as using everybody. But i do feel like the last two innings against the Phillies were really good. We’ll see what we do. We might use him today, might not, then we’ll decide if he starts.”
Michael Chavis continued a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket and went 3-for-4 with two doubles while playing six innings at first base. He could be activated in Colorado on Tuesday. …
Bobby Dalbec is also opening some eyes in Pawtucket since his promotion.
“He’s doing well controlling the strike zone,” Cora said. “Actually a better start at that level than other levels. So we’re very pleased with the progress.”
Asked if Dalbec might be a September call-up, Cora said, “I don’t know. I’m locked in on today.”
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