There's an interesting change in the Red Sox' lineup for Monday: David Ortiz will move back to the cleanup spot, pushing Kevin Youkilis down to fifth.
Really, the change is a long time in coming. Nobody has been hitting the ball harder for the Red Sox this year than David Ortiz, whose .989 OPS represents the fourth best in all the majors. With Kevin Youkilis in the midst of a down year, it makes all too much sense to switch the two batters, especially given Ortiz' lack of difficulties against southpaws so far this season.
Of course, the fact that the Jays will send out a righty today probably makes the decision a bit easier. Other than that, the only "anomaly" in the lineup is Jason Varitek starting behind the plate to form the usual battery with Josh Beckett.
Boston Red Sox (84-55)
One man whose OPS is higher than Ortiz'? Jose Bautista, who bats third--as always--for Toronto Monday.
Toronto Blue Jays (69-71)
Pitching Matchup: Josh Beckett (12-5, 2.54 ERA) vs. Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.52 ERA)
For Josh Beckett, it's all about dodging that one terrible inning. Against New York it was a four-run sixth, against Seattle a five-run first. Other than that, it's been smooth sailing for the Red Sox' ace, even in the other innings of those games.
It's been a good few months since Beckett last met the Jays, but the results then were impressive: seven innings of one-run ball. Not many of the Jays from that night find their way back into the lineup today, but two of the most important ones put up an 0-for: Jose Bautista and Adam Lind.
Henderson Alvarez doesn't have much of a track record to go on, but it's hard to ignore the eight shutout innings he just threw against Baltimore. Primarily a fastball - changeup pitcher, it's possible that Henderson could give the Sox some problems, as the group has occasionally struggled in years past against strong changeups. If there's two guys who could make the difference there, however, it's Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, who are traditionally quite capable of jumping all over a hittable change.