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Red Sox Vs. Orioles Lineups: Zach Britton Forces Sox To Go Righty-Heavy

After slamming six homers and scoring ten runs Thursday night, the Sox may have been sorely tempted to keep on chugging with the same lineup Friday. Unfortunately, the Orioles will not be cooperating, sending one of the toughest of lefties to the mound in Zach Britton.

So it is that Darnell McDonald once again finds himself in the lineup, forming an entirely unusual corner outfield combination with fellow right-handed hitter Yamaico Navarro. That could be seen as bad news, but on the bright side of things, the whole team seems to be on fire right now. David Ortiz has thrown off his slump ever since the Sox returned to Fenway, and Adrian Gonzalez' 3-for-5 night is certainly a very good sign.

Boston Red Sox (52-35)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Jason Varitek, C
  7. Marco Scutaro, SS
  8. Darnell McDonald, RF
  9. Yamaico Navarro, LF
The Orioles will counter with a similar lineup to the one that scored four runs against Andrew Miller and the bullpen. The only difference will come in left field, where Felix Pie replaces Nolan Reimold. 

Baltimore Orioles (36-49)
  1. J.J. Hardy, SS
  2. Nick Markakis, RF
  3. Adam Jones, CF
  4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
  5. Matt Wieters, C
  6. Derrek Lee, 1B
  7. Mark Reynolds, 3B
  8. Felix Pie, LF
  9. Robert Andino, 2B

Pitching Matchup: Josh Beckett (7-3, 2.12 ERA) vs. Zach Britton (6-6, 3.47 ERA)

Easily the marquee matchup of the series, it's a battle of the aces tonight for Baltimore and Boston. The good news is that Boston's seems better.

That's no knock on Zach Britton. He's young, impressive, and--more importantly--up against Josh Beckett. After a poor game against the Phillies (following a 12-day layoff due to illness) had Sox fans worrying, Beckett turned in a masterful performance against the Houston Astros, striking out 11 batters and walking not a one in eight innings of one-run ball. He was, in many ways, better than he had been against the Rays, when he was one infield single away from a perfect game. If there's anything to be worried about, it's that this same O's team picked up four runs against Beckett earlier this year.

Zach Britton, on the other hand, did a rather better job against Boston the one time he faced them, allowing just one run in six innings. Of late, though, it's been slightly harder going. Whether because the league has had time to adjust, or because of nothing more than a bad streak, Britton pitched to a 4.50 ERA in June, and allowed three runs over five innings. Britton is still a monster against lefties, but with only Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury having any difficulty against lefties, he might not be able to take full advantage of that tonight.