Red Sox Vs. Rangers: David Ortiz Returns To Lineup Against Matt Harrison

The Red Sox are almost healthy again, as David Ortiz will fifth for Boston for the first time since August 14. 

While Ortiz has been stuck in a walking boot with bursitis in his right heel since then, he's been raring to go for a good few days now. It wasn't until Tuesday, though, that the Sox' slugger got the medical go-ahead.

Ortiz will return to the five-spot that he's become so accustomed to over the season-to-date, leaving Dustin Pedroia at cleanup. Ryan Lavarnway will be moved to the bench with Ortiz' return, though given the Sox' lack of big right-handed bats, he could be a valuable pinch-hitter as the season continues, possibly even getting some starts behind the plate.

Boston Red Sox (78-50)

 

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Marco Scutaro, SS
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Jed Lowrie, 3B
  7. Carl Crawford, LF
  8. Jason Varitek, C
  9. Darnell McDonald, RF

The Rangers will mix up the bottom of the lineup tonight to accommodate some defensive arrangements. Ian Kinsler will be getting a day off from fielding, playing DH as Mike Napoli moves behind the plate. The biggest absence will be Nelson Cruz, who's replaced in right field by David Murphy.

Texas Rangers (74-56)

 

  1. Ian Kinsler, DH
  2. Elvis Andrus, SS
  3. Josh Hamilton, LF
  4. Michael Young, 3B
  5. Mike Napoli, C
  6. Mitch Moreland, 1B
  7. David Murphy, RF
  8. Endy Chavez, CF
  9. Omar Quintanilla, 2B

Pitching Matchup: Josh Beckett (10-5, 2.46 ERA) vs. Matt Harrison (10-8, 3.28 ERA)

Josh Beckett dodged the opening series in Texas by virtue of being named the no. 4 starter to begin the year. My how things have changed.

Unfortunately, Beckett has been shy of dominance this month, with a 4.13 ERA through his first four starts. Still, he's had decent-to-good outings against Cleveland, New York, and Kansas City, with his first-inning meltdown against Seattle being the only real black mark.

While Beckett's numbers against the Rangers as a whole aren't the prettiest in the game, Texas has actually been reasonably kind to its native son when he's returned home, with an ERA under 4.00 in the bandbox that is Arlington. Given that Lackey managed to dodge being completely destroyed in his outing, Beckett stands a decent shot Wednesday.

As for Matt Harrison, the Sox should prove a pretty serious test for the young lefty. He has one strong start against them from that first series, but he's spent the last couple of months beating up on weaker offenses. With David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury back now (Harrison's splits against lefties are non-existent), the Sox have the perfect lineup to potentially expose a pitcher whose peripherals don't match the top-of-the-line results he's been seeing.

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