Lineup Shuffle for Struggling Sox
The Sox return from their first road trip of the season to the friendly confines of Fenway Park tonight to take on familiar AL East foe the Tampa Bay Rays. After dropping two of the first three series of the 2010 season, the Sox look to shake things up and move around their lineup. The Sox have two starters once again out of the lineup due to injury, Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury, and are forced to use Bill Hall in the outfield for the second straight day.
There are multiple changes in the lineup tonight, including Victor Martinez getting the day off so Jason Varitek can catch Josh Beckett. For the first time in 2010, powerful Dustin Pedroia was moved out of the 2nd spot in the lineup and slid into the 3rd spot vacated by V-Mart. The other big move is J.D. Drew jumping into the 2nd spot in the lineup in order to get him going after a terrible recent stretch at the plate.
The Sox should be concerned with Bill Hall getting a second straight start in center field, after a bad fielding error in Thursday’s contest cost the Sox a run. Francona announced this afternoon that in an emergency situation, Kevin Youkilis can slide into the outfield, but obviously no one wants that situation to arise. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sox tap into their minor-league outfield depth in the near future, especially if Ellsbury does not return this weekend.
For the 6-3 Tampa Rays, their offense has been strong this season so far. One of the biggest surprises has been young second baseman Reid Brignac. He has been splitting time with Sean Rodriguez, who was highly talked about this Spring, and has hit .462 in 5 games with 2 long balls. Brignac gets the start Friday and as a lefty, will likely be in the lineup against Clay Buchholz on Saturday as well.
Currently, the weather conditions are iffy for Friday night and with rain in the forecast for a good portion of the weekend, it could be a sloppy series for both teams. Check out the series pitching match-ups and lineup for Friday night’s contest below.
Series Pitching Match-ups – (lineups and pitching matchups courtesy of Boston.com)
Tonight: RHP Wade Davis (0-1, 6.00) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (1-0, 6.17), 7:10 p.m., NESN
Saturday: RHP James Shields (0-0, 3.97) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (1-0, 3.60), 7:10 p.m., NESN.
Sunday: RHP Matt Garza (2-0, 1.13) vs. LHP Jon Lester (0-1, 7.20), 1:35 p.m., NESN, TBS.
Monday: RHP John Lackey (1-0, 1.42) vs. RHP Jeff Niemann (0-0, 3.24), 11:05 a.m., NESN, MLBN
Friday Night’s Lineup – 7:10pm EST
Red Sox (4-5)
Marco Scutaro SS
J.D. Drew RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Jason Varitek C
Bill Hall CF
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (1-0, 6.17).
Pitching: RHP Wade Davis (0-1, 6.00).