He's now hitting .329/.365/.443 in 79 September at-bats, and Merrifield's bat and defensive versatility will likely make him the Royals' top utility player in 2017.
After an 0-for-17 stretch, Pedroia has four hits in his last seven at-bats and has been integral in Boston wins over Tampa Bay on Saturday and Sunday. His grand slam Saturday proved to the winning hit in a comeback victory. Then on Sunday, he scored an improbable winning run, coming home from first base on David Ortiz's double. The throw had beat Pedroia by a large margin, but he was able to pull up, work around the catcher, and made a couple of hops to elude an attempted tag before eventually touching the plate with his hand as the ball came out the catcher's mitt.
Zobrist led both sides with a trio of hits, including his 30th double of the season. He also scored a pair of runs, including what proved to be the game-winning run in the sixth inning. The 35-year-old has tailed off following a strong first half, but he's still batting a solid .272/.385/.431 with 15 homers, 72 RBI and 90 runs.
Wong has seen his starting opportunities pick up since the start of September, but after going just 4-for-30 (.133 average) over his last 11 appearances, he'll hit the bench for the second day in a row. Matt Carpenter will move over from first base to cover the keystone.
Panik is hitting just .236 against left-handed pitching, so he'll sit out Sunday against San Diego's Clayton Richard. Kelby Tomlinson will head out to second base and hit second in Panik's absence.
Utley owns a weak .165 batting average against lefties, so he'll sit out of Sunday's game. With Utley out, Charlie Culberson will take over at second base and bat eighth.
Gennett has started four straight games for Milwaukee and gone 3-for-15 in that time. Jonathan Villar will move over to second base while Gennett gets Sunday afternoon off.
Murphy's absence from the lineup comes as no surprise, as it was announced that he'd be temporarily shut down to deal with a mild glute strain. However, now that the Nationals have clinched the NL East, it's possible that they'll be even more patient before having Murphy return to action. He'll be replaced by Wilmer Difo at second base Sunday afternoon.
Saladino will miss his third consecutive game as he continues to deal with discomfort in his back. Carlos Sanchez will once again serve as the fill-in at second base Sunday.
The veteran made things momentarily interesting against closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth with a 362-foot solo shot, his 20th round-tripper of the season. It marks the first time Forsythe has reached the milestone in his career, and comes on the heels of his previous best of 17 homers that he posted last season. The 29-year-old's season line now stands at a solid .274/..344/.464.