Red Sox lineups: Tyler O’Neill gets night off ahead of St. Louis homecoming

Tyler O’Neill spent the first five years of his big league career in St. Louis, and on Friday he’ll return to Busch Stadium for the first time as a visitor when the Red Sox take on the Cardinals over the weekend.

Knowing the next few days could be somewhat hectic, and given that O’Neill is on pace to play his most games in a season since 2021, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to give him a day off.

“I don’t like giving him off-days at Fenway but this one makes sense,” Cora said. “It’s going to be a fun weekend, an interesting weekend, right? So it’s a reset. He’s available, if they bring in a lefty for that pocket he’ll be ready for it, but I think it made sense.”

O’Neill will come off the bench in Thursday’s series finale against Tampa Bay, with Rob Refsnyder getting the start in left field instead. Jarren Duran and Wilyer Abreu will play in center and right, as they typically do against righties, and Ceddanne Rafaela will start at shortstop.

Thursday will also represent a matchup of success stories facing their former teams. Red Sox starter Cooper Criswell (2-1, 2.10 ERA) has subverted the typical trend of pitchers going from Boston to Tampa Bay and is enjoying newfound success, while Tampa Bay’s Zack Littell (2-2, 3.02) has followed that playbook perfectly, appearing in two games for the Red Sox last season before emerging as one of the Rays’ most reliable arms.

Red Sox lineup

Jarren Duran CF

Wilyer Abreu RF

Rob Refsnyder LF

Rafael Devers 3B

Dominic Smith 1B

Garrett Cooper DH

Reese McGuire C

Vaughn Grissom 2B

Ceddanne Rafaela SS

Cooper Criswell P

How to watch

When: 7:10 p.m.

Where: Fenway Park, Boston

Broadcast info: NESN, MLB Network (out-of-market only), WEEI 93.7 FM, WCCM 1490 AM (Spanish)

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