(Sports Network) - Manny Ramirez returns to Boston for the first time since he orchestrated a trade out of town back in 2008 when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Red Sox play the first of three interleague games tonight at Fenway Park.
Ramirez's best years came with the Red Sox and he was the MVP of the Boston's memorable 2004 World Series championship that ended the franchise's dreaded 84-year drought. However, the Red Sox tired of his "Manny being Manny" behavior and begrudgingly dealt him to the Dodgers at the trade deadline in 2008.
At one time Ramirez was one of the most beloved Red Sox ever, but tonight he could be greeted with boos, as some fans in Boston feel as if he quit on the team towards the end of his stay because he wanted out.
"Who knows, because you never know what the fans are thinking," said Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "It should be interesting, but I don't know what to expect. It's going to be fun to see what goes on."
The enigmatic slugger, who is expected to be the Dodgers' designated hitter this weekend, spent 7 1/2 years with the Red Sox and hit .312 with 274 homers, 868 RBI and posted a .999 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) in his time there.
"A lot happened," manager Terry Francona said. "[He is a] great hitter. [He] did some remarkable things on the field. Sometimes, especially early, there were times when he would make an out, and I would sit there and think, 'How did he make an out?' That's not fair. But he was so good and so dangerous, that sometimes when he made the out, you would say, 'That's not fair.' That's how good he was."
Given the assignment of shutting down Ramirez this evening will be 22-year-old lefty Felix Doubront, who will be making his major league debut. Doubront posted a 4-0 record and a 2.51 ERA in his first eight starts at Double-A Portland followed by a 2-1 record and a 1.08 mark at Triple-A Pawtucket.
He is starting in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the week.
There won't be much pressure on the youngster tonight, as the Red Sox enter tonight's anticipated matchup having swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game set and have won five of six to pull within two games of co-AL East leaders Tampa Bay and New York Yankees.
Boston completed the sweep on Thursday, as Marco Scutaro finished 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Red Sox to an 8-5 win.
David Ortiz hit a two-run homer over the Red Sox and has hit .478 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI on this homestand.
"David is starting to look like the old David," Francona said. "He is really starting to take some ferocious swings. We are a different team when he is swinging the bat like that."
John Lackey (8-3) allowed eight hits and four runs -- three earned -- with five strikeouts over six innings for the win.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, were denied a sweep in their three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, falling 7-1 at Great American Ball Park.
Dodgers rookie John Ely (3-4) took the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. Ely also drove in the lone run for Los Angeles, which had scored 18 times in the first two games of the matchup.
"Offensively, we had four different times where we could have done something," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "We had our chances -- we just couldn't cash in."
Getting the call for the Dodgers tonight will be righty Carlos Monasterios, who is 3-1 with a 2.98 ERA. Although most of Monasterios' work has come out of the bullpen, he has made five starts.
However, the rookie was tagged with the loss on Sunday against the Angels, who rocked him for four runs and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings.
Boston took two of three from the Dodgers the last time these teams met back in 2004.