The Red Sox are once again out to avenge a series-opening loss as they send Jon Lester to the mound against Bartolo Colon and the Oakland Athletics Tuesday night. First pitch is at 10:05 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Will Middlebrooks is missing from the lineup for the second straight night, but that's not the only thing unusual about this batting order. Despite facing the right-handed Bartolo Colon, the Sox will bat lefty-masher Cody Ross fourth rather than catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
The reasons behind this come from both sides. On the one hand, there's Salty's struggles. Just 5-for-30 over his last eight games, Salty has brought pop (two homers) but little else to the plate. Cody Ross, on the other hand, has been on a roll. And while he still hits lefties far better than righties, he's been putting up decent numbers against same-handed pitching as well.
Perhaps this is Bobby Valentine trying to play a more consistent lineup--Saltalamacchia has been batting cleanup against righties and Ross against lefties--or maybe it's just a reaction to recent events. Either way, it can hardly lead to a worse performance than Monday.
Boston Red Sox (42-38)
Oakland Athletics (39-42)