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The Red Sox suffered their fifth loss in six games Wednesday night, falling to the Rangers 5-3 and dropping below .500 yet again.
For the second straight night the Red Sox actually managed to take an early lead. A first-and-third, no outs situation in the first would only result in the one run as Dustin Pedroia grounded into a double play, but with Beckett managing to hold the Rangers down in the bottom of the inning, it was a welcome change to the standard order of events in opening innings.
While Josh Beckett would waver over the next couple of innings, loading the bases in the third, he would manage to preserve the lead headed into the fourth, where Derek Holland gave Will Middlebrooks something to hit inside. The third baseman turned on the offering, and made it 2-0 with his twelfth homer of the season.
Unfortunately, the bottom of the inning would prove Beckett's undoing. A pair of early doubles quickly got the Rangers on the board, and a single and squeeze play would bring in the tying run. With a bloop dropping into right field despite a sliding attempt from Cody Ross, the Rangers took a 3-2 lead.
Dustin Pedroia would get the Sox back into things with a solo shot in the sixth, but the tie would not last long. Facing his seventh inning, Beckett plunked Elvis Andrus with one out and then gave up a single to Adrian Beltre, allowing Andrus to reach third. All it took from there was one pitch in the dirt and past Kelly Shoppach to give the Rangers the lead. A Nelson Cruz homer off of Matt Albers in the eighth extended the lead to 5-3, where Joe Nathan would hold it with a 1-2-3 ninth.
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The Red Sox and Rangers are set to wrap up their series with a rubber match in game three. We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Rangers Ballpark.
Rangers 5, Red Sox 3, End 8th -- Matt Albers continues to throw hanging breaking balls and sinkers, but he's not getting away with it nearly so well these days. Nelson Cruz takes him out of the park to right field on the second pitch he sees, giving the Rangers a helpful insurance run headed to the ninth.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 3, Mid 8th -- The Sox tease with the appearance of a rally, but don't provide the run that would make it legitimate, as Pedro Ciriaco is left stranded when Dustin Pedroia hits a long drive to left that David Murphy is able to catch over his shoulder on the run to end the inning.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 3, End 7th -- Ah, Red Sox baseball. Or rather, Red Sox baseball since August 2012, just finding ways to lose. Josh Beckett, after putting up back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, gets an out on a ground ball and then plunks Elvis Andrus to put the go-ahead run on first. A strikeout of Josh Hamilton gets Beckett his second out, but Adrian Beltre adds a single into right to put runners on the corners. And while Beckett does manage to get the next batter out, it only comes after a pitch in the dirt and to the wall allows Andrus to come home, giving the Rangers the lead and putting the Sox six outs away from falling back beneath .500.
Red Sox 3, Rangers 3, Mid 7th -- Not only does Derek Holland get back to scoreless innings, but he actually strikes out the side in the seventh, getting Kelly Shoppach for the third time tonight.
Red Sox 3, Rangers 3, End 6th -- Josh Beckett preserves the tie by getting a trio of ground balls from the bottom of the order. At 90 pitches through six innings, he probably has at least one more left in him.
Red Sox 3, Rangers 3, Mid 6th -- Six innings in and we're back to even. Dustin Pedroia does the honors of evening things up for the Sox, taking what looked like a slider that just didn't break and driving it over the wall in left-center for a solo shot.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- Josh Beckett, at least, is capable of rebounding, getting his first 1-2-3 inning of the night to keep Texas in reach.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- And the Red Sox respond...by not getting the ball out of the infield in a 1-2-3 frame.
Rangers 3, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- Well, there's the Josh Beckett we all know and--
Well, there's the Josh Beckett we all know. After barely getting out of the third unscathed, Beckett finds himself knocked around Arlington in the fourth. A leadoff double to the wall in right gets things started, and another to left-center with one out brings in the first Texas run of the night. A single to left doesn't bring the tying run home from second, but a Craig Gentry squeeze does in the next at bat, and before Beckett can pick up the third out, the Rangers grab a third run, this time on an Ian Kinsler bloop that a sliding Cody Ross can't come up with. Just like that, and the Sox are down.
Red Sox 2, Rangers 0, Mid 4th -- For a while there, pitchers had Will Middlebrooks all figured out. "Oh, we'll go away from him! Offspeed stuff low-and-away every time! He can't hit it!" But then Will Middlebrooks started hitting a few singles, maybe a double, taking those pitches low-and-away and knocking them into the opposite field. Seeing this, Derek Holland clearly thought to himself "well now he won't be expecting me to pitch inside" and gave it a go.
Will Middlebrooks took his changeup and he hit it into the stands for a solo shot. And now everybody has learned a lesson. Except probably Wily Mo Pena.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, End 3rd -- Once again the defense picks Josh Beckett up. After leadoff singles from Yorvit Torrealba and Craig Gentry put runners on the corners with zero outs, the one-run lead seemed doomed. However, a shallowish fly to right field just drew a bluff and an advance to second thanks to the threat of Cody Ross' arm, and on a ground ball to second Dustin Pedroia elected to go home. Kelly Shoppach kept Torrealba away from the plate long enough for the umpire to call him out for starting towards the dugout (he would try to reverse course and slide into the plate, but it was too late by then), and after a walk loaded the bases, a pop-up finally ended the threat.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 3rd -- Dustin Pedroia displays warning track power, but that's as close as the Red Sox get to any actual offense in a 1-2-3 third.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, End 2nd -- A bit of hard contact to start the inning, but Adrian Beltre's line drive ends up in Jacoby Ellsbury's glove and Michael Young managed just a single with his, allowing Beckett to end another scoreless inning with a ground ball and strike out.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 2nd -- A terrible pop-up bunt from Carl Crawford puts a stop to a possible second-inning attack as the Sox strand Will Middlebrooks at first after a leadoff single.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, End 1st -- Josh Beckett provides the Sox with a welcome scoreless first, though he has to rely on a little help from Kelly Shoppach to do so. After Elvis Andrus reached on a one-out walk, he tried to take off for second, but was caught by a mile as Shoppach fired an absolute bullet right on the mark to Mike Aviles. One ground ball later, and the Sox were out of the first.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 1st -- The Red Sox strike in the first inning--a welcome change against lefties--but don't really take full advantage of their opportunities. With a leadoff walk from Jacoby Ellsbury and seeing-eye single past first base for Pedro Ciriaco, the Sox had runners on the corners without a single out recorded. Dustin Pedroia, however, was perhaps overeager, swinging at the first pitch he saw and hitting a ground ball to short to start a double play. The run came in the back door, but now with two on and the bases empty the Rangers were free to drill Adrian Gonzalez in the hip--likely retaliation for the Adrian Beltre headshot from the night before--and get Cody Ross swinging (and accidentally losing his bat into the stands) to end the inning.
The Red Sox are out to grab a series win against the Texas Rangers Wednesday night as they wrap up their three-game set in Arlington. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
It's more of the same for the Red Sox against the left-handed Derek Holland, which means Carl Crawford batting seventh, Pedro Ciriaco at DH batting second, and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate hitting eighth.
This despite the fact that in Tuesday night's game they were held down for some eight innings, scoring one run and even that on a bad defensive play. It's probably the right thing to do, since these right-handed hitters are the guys who have to get things done against southpaws, but after getting shut down so often this past week the Sox' lineup against lefties has to start producing sometime.
Boston Red Sox (49-49)
Texas Rangers (57-39)
It still hard to tell whether or not the Boston Red Sox will choose to be buyers or sellers at the MLB trade deadline (July 31). But one thing is for certain, , ESPN.com's Gordon Edes is reporting, Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester is not on the trading block.
Despite his disappointing performance, the Red Sox will not trade Lester, a major league source said Wednesday, further reinforcing the team's decision to push for a playoff spot in 2012.
Currently, the left-hander is carrying a career-worst ERA of 5.46 and is coming off his worst MLB outing -- a four-inning, 10-hit, 11-run performance against the Toronto Blue Jays.
"[My confidence] obviously not as high as its highest it’s ever been," Lester told the Boston media on Sunday. "The thing is no one is going to feel sorry for me. I have to go out and pitch better. I have to pitch better. I’m not worried about my confidence, I’m not worried about my mechanics. I’m not worried about anything but just trying to execute pitches, and I’m not doing that."
The Red Sox grabbed a 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers, snapping their four-game losing streak with a late rally against Joe Nathan.
For much of the early game, it was the same old story for the Red Sox offense against a replacement starter for the Rangers. Martin Perez, who has been struggling this year in Triple-A, managed to escape trouble in the second, had a bad defensive play in right gift the Red Sox a run, and then held them scoreless through the end of the sixth.
Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, was largely up to the task of matching him, reinforcing his position as the current leader of the rotation. While he didn't have the strikeout going at all, Buchholz still managed to pick up 12 ground outs including a couple of double plays, thus keeping the Rangers from making up their deficit.
Eventually, though, the Rangers would manage to put Elvis Andrus on second early enough for him to move to third on a wild pitch with one out, and then score on a ground ball, tying it at 1-1.
The Red Sox would never really show up offensively, but the relief pitching held (albeit with Vicente Padilla hitting Adrian Beltre in the head), allowing the Red Sox an opportunity in the ninth. Up against Joe Nathan, the Sox quickly gave up their first two outs, and then started drawing walks. Daniel Nava came first, Jarrod Saltalamacchia second, and up stepped Mike Aviles. Facing a 3-2 count, Aviles sent a flare just over the head of Elvis Andrus at short, giving the Sox the lead they'd sought for so long. Alfredo Aceves was able to shut it down in the bottom half of the ninth, giving the Sox the much-needed 2-1 win.
|Final - 7.24.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
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|WP: Vicente Padilla (4 - 0)
SV: Alfredo Aceves (21)
LP: Joe Nathan (1 - 3)
Red Sox 2, Rangers 1, Mid 9th -- The Red Sox finally get back on the board against Joe Nathan, taking a 2-1 lead in the ninth. All the damage comes with two outs, as both Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia draw walks. Mike Aviles steps up to the plate, works a long at-bat, running the count full, and then gets a slider he just barely manages to hit, putting it on a line up over the head of the leaping Elvis Andrus to drive in the one run.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 1, End 8th -- The Rangers manage to put a couple men on base with two outs, including one when Vicente Padilla catches Adrian Beltre on the helmet with a fastball, but Michael Young grounds out to end the frame uneventfully.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 1, Mid 8th -- Dustin Pedroia's line drive is about all the Sox can claim credit for in the eighth, and it ends up in Elvis Andrus' glove, leaving them victims of another 1-2-3 inning and still with just two games against the Rangers despite a pair of replacement starters.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 1, End 7th -- Without explanation, Carl Crawford is out of the game in left field, with Daniel Nava entering in his place. The Rangers get a couple of walks in the meantime, but Clay manages to finish what is almost certainly his last inning without further incident.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 1, Mid 7th -- Strikeout, ground out, fly out ends the seventh in a hurry as Alexi Ogando places Martin Perez.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 1, End 6th -- And the Rangers finally strike back. You can't expect Texas to be held down for too long, and when you let a guy like Perez off the hook over and over again, they'll get him the one run he needs for a tie. Elvis Andrus provides the baserunner with a one-out double, and a wild pitch moves him to third before a ground ball past Clay Buchholz to Mike Aviles, who elects to go to first for the second out and letting the equalizing run in.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 6th -- A 2-out single from Will Middlebrooks gives him his second hit of the night, but the Sox still can't get anything else across against Martin Perez.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, End 5th -- David Murphy doubles and Mike Napoli walks, putting the Sox in a bad position with one out, but Buchholz gets a ground ball from Craig Gentry, giving the Sox an inning-ending double play.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 5th -- Adrian Beltre makes an excellent play on a bunt from Pedro Ciriaco, stealing a single from the infielder in a 1-2-3 fifth.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, End 4th -- Adrian Beltre has a weird two-out double, as Jacoby Ellsbury can't quite make a sliding grab on a shallow fly ball. Beltre manages to head to second and just barely--depending on who you ask--avoid a tag from Dustin Pedroia.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 4th -- The Red Sox finally score, but it's only thanks to a bad defensive play in right field. With Cody Ross on base via a walk and two outs, Kelly Shoppach hit a long fly ball to right field. David Murphy, however, got a poor read, and never truly recovered, resulting in a dropped ball at the wall and a run scoring all the way from first.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 3rd -- A leadoff single gives the Rangers their first hit of the game, and an error lets another batter reach, but a double play erases the leadoff, and another ground ball gets Buchholz out of harm's way.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 3rd -- If Martin Perez was shaken at all by the second inning, he isn't showing it. Jacoby Ellsbury grounds up the middle for a leadoff single, but Perez gets the rest of the Sox in order, leaving them scoreless for a tenth straight inning.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 2nd -- The Red Sox don't face nearly as much danger in the bottom of the inning, as Clay Buchholz earns a quick trio of ground outs to keep the Rangers down another inning.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 2nd -- The Sox threaten to break through against Martin Perez, with singles from Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks and a walk from Kelly Shoppach loading the bases with two outs. Mike Aviles works a decent at-bat, and almost draws the walk, but can only muster a fly ball to right field, ending the inning uneventfully.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 1st -- Clay Buchholz has an uninspiring start to the game, plunking leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler right out of the gates. Unfortunately for Kinsler, Buchholz manages to throw over to first and--controversially--pick him off. Two fly balls later, and Buchholz technically has a 1-2-3.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 1st -- The Red Sox are off to another slow start against a struggling minor leaguer, but at least this time it involves some contact. The top of the order goes 1-2-3 against Martin Perez with a fly ball, ground ball, and another fly makes it a 10-pitch start for the lefty.
The Red Sox are out to snap a four-game losing streak that has once again put them below .500 as they take on Martin Perez and the Texas Rangers. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, the MLB Network, and WEEI.
Just a few short days ago a story emerged about how Carl Crawford felt like he had not been given a fair chance in 2011, demoted well down into the bottom half of the lineup after a few bad games by manager Terry Francona. Said narrative led to stories about Bobby V and Carl Crawford getting along, and how things could be different.
Well, welcome to the seven-hole, Carl. Seven games into his injury-delayed season, and Crawford once again finds himself well down in the order.
To be fair, this is likely part of a lineup shuffle specifically designed for the lefty they'll face in Martin Perez, who has been entirely mediocre in Triple-A this year (a red flag that he could dominate the Red Sox based on recent trends). Crawford will almost certainly be back to batting second come the night right-handed starter, but still, given the timing, it's an almost comical change.
Boston Red Sox (48-49)
Texas Rangers (57-38)
In what was supposed to be the most winnable game of this three-game series, the Red Sox were utterly crushed by the Texas Rangers, 9-1.
With Felix Doubront going up against Scott Feldman (who started the night with an ERA approaching 6.00), a substitute for Roy Oswalt, who was scratched with a tight lower back, the Sox just needed to play up to their level against a struggling starter. Even with a mediocre Doubront outing, they should have had a good shot.
Instead, they were almost completely silent against one of the most mediocre arms they're likely to run into on a contending team like this. A second-inning home run from Jarrod Saltalamacchia would put the team up 1-0, and then...nothing. Allowing baserunners one at a time, Feldman held the Red Sox down in the third, then the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh. It was a terrible offensive showing from what is supposed to be one of the best lineups in the majors.
Even had the Sox' bats been alive, however, it would likely have made no difference, because Doubront wasn't even mediocre. After being bailed out by a tremendous play from Will Middlebrooks in the first, Doubront managed to dig himself out of a hole in the second, and then finally fell completely apart in the third. Hard-hit infield singles got things started before hard line drives dealt the killing blows, leaving the Sox in a 4-1 hole after three.
While Doubront would bounce back for a short time, he would once again struggle in the sixth, surrendering a two-run homer to Mike Napoli before recording an out. In came Franklin Morales, showing all the struggles one might expect from someone jerked back and forth from the bullpen (where he was struggling) to the rotation (where he was not) back to the bullpen in little over a month. By the time the long inning was at an end, the Sox trailed by 9-1--a gap they would not close as the night wound down.
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The Red Sox are looking to start a miracle run to the trade deadline Monday night as they take on Scott Feldman and the Texas Rangers.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Arlington.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 1, End 8th -- Mark Melancon goes back to work lowering his ERA after his unlucky outing against the Jays. A 1-2-3 frame sends the game to the ninth in a hurry.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 1, Mid 8th -- A Dustin Pedroia single is all the Sox get in the eighth as Feldman finally is out of the game. Ironically, Pedroia is the only one who doesn't do much work at the plate, simply putting the first pitch he saw into play.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 1, End 7th -- Morales makes clean work of things in the seventh, striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 frame.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 1, Mid 7th -- The Red Sox and Rangers wait through a replay delay as Jarrod Saltalamacchia's double off the top of the wall remains a double. The Sox then fail to bring him across, with two ground outs and a pop-out leaving them without a run in the seventh.
Rangers 9, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- Well, at least we can all put this one in the book now. Mike Napoli takes a two-run shot to deep left off of Felix Doubront before Franklin Morales the wrongfully converted comes in to show why you don't take a guy who's having success in the rotation and send him back to the bullpen after one month. The Rangers push across three more before the inning is over, effectively sealing this one.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- Another one-baserunner inning for the Red Sox, this time with Dustin Pedroia reaching on a leadoff single before getting caught stealing to end the inning with Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the plate. Depressing baseball, this.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- Another 1-2-3 inning for Doubront keeps the Red Sox within striking distance of the Rangers. Now if they would just get around to hitting the guy with the 5.89 ERA...
Rangers 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- The good news is that Jacoby Ellsbury just keeps on hitting, lacing a single into left field. The bad news is that no other Red Sox see fit to follow suit, leaving them still with just the one run through five frames of work.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Ian Kinsler doubles off Doubront, but luckily it comes after the lefty picked up two outs against the bottom of the lineup, allowing him to end the frame with an Elvis Andrus ground ball.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- The Red Sox respond to Texas' big inning...by having the heart-of-the-order go 1-2-3. This is about as uninspiring as performances get against Scott Feldman.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 1, End 3rd -- About two months ago, Felix Doubront's starts took a turn for the worse. The reason isn't hard to figure out: he's a young starter who was pulled back-and-forth between the rotation and bullpen a year ago, the stamina just isn't there this year. He's hit the proverbial wall.
The Sox, however, either don't recognize this, or don't want to acknowledge it, and the result is mediocre outing after mediocre outing. This one was easy to see coming given that he'd been saved by Will Middlebrooks' defense in the first and barely avoided damage in the second, but it doesn't make it any easier to watch. Sandwiched around a walk, Mike Aviles and Dustin Pedroia do good jobs just to get to a pair of sharply hit infield singles, but are unable to throw out either Craig Gentry or Elvis Andrus. With Pedroia overthrowing Gonzalez on the second play, the Rangers are able to score both runners from second and third, giving them the 2-1 lead.
After that, it's a double to the corner from Josh Hamilton that scores the third, and then a Michael Young line drive single that puts the Rangers ahead 4-1. Doubront has hit the wall.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 3rd -- A chance to build on their lead goes by the wayside for the Red Sox in the third. A sharp hit with one out from Jacoby Ellsbury knocked off Feldman, allowing the center fielder to reach first and then move to third on a two-out single past the first base bag from Dustin Pedroia. The Sox had Adrian Gonzalez, the AL player of the week and one of the best in the league with RISP at the plate, but in the end all they got was an inning-ending pop-up.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, End 2nd -- Felix Doubront works himself out of a jam after Adrian Beltre flared a double just barely fair down the left field line. A ground ball from Michael Young moved Hamilton to third, causing Doubront to pitch around Nelson Cruz, eventually surrendering a walk on a full count. After that, though, it was all attack. Three pitches got him a strikeout of Mike Napoli, and four more see Brandon Snyder off looking at strike three, ending the inning.
Red Sox 1, Rangers 0, Mid 2nd -- A couple of Red Sox are enjoying their return to familiar locales. With two outs, Jarrod Saltalamacchia takes it to his former team, launching a solo shot to right field as Feldman's fly ball issues show up in the second inning. Right behind him comes Will Middlebrooks, who has spent most of his life in the area. While Middlebrooks doesn't quite manage to take Feldman's offering, low-and-away, into the seats, he makes Nelson Cruz attempt a leaping grab at the wall, and Cruz can't hold on after getting the ball in the glove, allowing Middlebrooks to make his way to second before a Ryan Sweeney ground ball ended the threat.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, End 1st -- Ian Kinsler leads off the frame with a bloop single, putting bad memories of disaster firsts into the minds of Red Sox fans. And, when Elvis Andrus managed to hit a 1-2 curveball on the screws, it certainly made for a scary half-second between the time the ball left the bat, and the moment Will Middlebrooks, leaping high in the air, managed to pull the ball down on the fly and throw to first to double up Kinsler. Perhaps invigorated by the defensive efforts behind him, Felix Doubront proceeded to get Josh Hamilton swinging at a changeup to end the frame.
Red Sox 0, Rangers 0, Mid 1st -- Up against a pitcher like Scott "Hanging Sinker" Feldman, a first-inning run still can't necessarily be expected, but it would have been nice to see. What can be expected is an inning that lasts longer than 11 pitches, and maybe one free of strikeouts on pitches in the dirt.
No such luck for the Red Sox, however. Jacoby Ellsbury makes the first out on the second pitch of the game, getting decent contact but getting too much loft on the ball to keep Josh Hamilton from settling underneath it. Carl Crawford is the victim of the ball-in-dirt strikeout, chasing a 1-2 curve before Dustin Pedroia hit a relatively easy fly to right to end the frame.
In his last seven games, Gonzalez hit .429 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He also scored five runs and racked up 21 total bases in those games. Despite Gonzalez' hitting, the Red Sox were just 3-4 last week.
Gonzalez is hitting .296 on the season with nine homers and 58 RBI. This was the sixth time Gonzalez has been named Player of the Week. His last Player of the Week award came last season for the week of August 22-28. Gonzalez had stiff competition but beat out Mike Trout of the Angels, Alex Gordon of the Royals, Jesus Montero of the Mariners and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers for this week's honor.
The Red Sox will have all available hands on deck against Scott Feldman as they try to reverse their fortunes in Texas against the AL West leading Rangers. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN, ESPN, and WEEI.
After a couple of losses featuring less-than-full lineups, with every win now critical the Sox will go all-out against Scott Feldman, with Ryan Sweeney in place of Daniel Nava the only possible diversion from the standard depth chart. Both Will Middlebrooks and Carl Crawford will return to the lineup, with Cody Ross filling in at DH.
The only missing element is David Ortiz, and sadly, it will still be a while before the Sox can slot him in again.
Boston Red Sox (48-48)
Texas Rangers (56-38)
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