Red Sox Vs. Orioles Lineups: Sox Turn To Lester With Season On The Line

The Red Sox will turn to Jon Lester on three days' rest in the most important game of the regular season: number 162.

While the decision by Joe Girardi to at least begin the game against Tampa Bay with his usual starters can give the Red Sox and their fans some hope that they could walk away with everything tonight, focus has to be entirely on Baltimore, and the assumption has to be that this game is a win-or-go-home situation.

In order to fulfill their end of the bargain, the Red Sox will once again turn to Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate. One day after a breakout, two-homer performance, Lavarnway will bat fifth against the right-handed Alfredo Simon. While Lavarnway has always been noticeably better against lefties during his minor-league career, Simon has major reverse splits, and so could prove the perfect match for Lavarnway.

Boston Red Sox (90-71)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Ryan Lavarnway, C
  6. J.D. Drew, RF
  7. Marco Scutaro, SS
  8. Carl Crawford, LF
  9. Mike Aviles, 3B

Baltimore Orioles (68-93)

  1. Robert Andino, 2B
  2. J.J. Hardy, SS
  3. Nick Markakis, RF
  4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
  5. Matt Wieters, C
  6. Adam Jones, CF
  7. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  8. Chris Davis, 3B
  9. Nolan Reimold, LF

Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester (15-9, 3.49 ERA) vs. Alfredo Simon (4-9, 4.85 ERA)

Normally seeing Jon Lester going against the Orioles would be an encouraging sight. He has, after all, dominated them throughout his career. Wednesday, however, things are different. Lester is only on three days' rest, and that for just the second time in his career. In the first, he allowed four runs in five innings. Add to that the fact that the Sox' lefty just hasn't been good of late, and it's a scary situation for Boston.

On the other hand, it's Alfredo Simon, who simply isn't very good. He's not really been terribly prone to the blow-up, but quick outings with a few earned runs on the board are fairly common place, and the Sox will be all-too-happy to get into this bullpen.

It's the most important game of the year, so the Sox will be pulling out all the stops. If Lester should struggle early, it's going to be a long night with all hands on deck--even Clay Buchholz'.

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