Red Sox Vs. Rays: Josh Beckett Returns To The Mound Friday Night

Josh Beckett will make his return to the starting rotation Friday night against the Rays, but he will do so without the full Red Sox lineup behind him. Boston will be without Kevin Youkilis for a bit, as the hurt third baseman will be out for at least two games as he continues to struggle with a variety of injuries.

While the lack of the name makes the lineup look that much worse, the fact of the matter is that, playing hurt as he has, Youkilis isn't exactly a big contributor to the lineup. With Mike Aviles and his .353 OBP (since joining the Sox) replacing him in the lineup, the Sox might not be much worse off than in days past.

The only other variation on the usual group comes behind the plate, as Jason Varitek forms his usual battery with Beckett.

Boston Red Sox (86-63)

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

The Rays have made a bit of a change in their starting lineup, swapping Ben Zobrist and Casey Kotchman between the fourth and sixth slots to try and finally get to Josh Beckett.

Tampa Bay Rays (83-66)

  1. Desmond Jennings, LF
  2. B.J. Upton, CF
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  5. Johnny Damon, DH
  6. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  7. Matt Joyce, RF
  8. John Jaso, C
  9. Reid Brignac, SS

Pitching Matchup: Josh Beckett (12-5, 2.49 ERA) vs. James Shields (15-10, 2.70 ERA)

A big matchup for an important game, as the Sox and Rays will throw the best they have at one another.

On the one hand, Josh Beckett has been the more dominant of the two, particularly in the matchup. In two games against the Rays this year, the Sox' ace has thrown 17 innings, giving up two hits and zero walks of shutout ball. On the other hand, Shields has done just fine in three of his four outings against Boston--though the six runs in six innings in the other start is less-than-impressive. 

What it comes down to is Beckett's health and preparation. Beckett has nearly no-hit this team twice, but a lengthy layoff between starts could well have unsettled him. If so, the Sox will have their work cut out for them to dig out of whatever hole he creates.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation Boston

You must be a member of SB Nation Boston to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Boston. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Boston

You must be a member of SB Nation Boston to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Boston. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.