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Red Sox Vs. Twins Lineups: Dustin Pedroia Gets Night Off As Sox Go For Sweep

The Red Sox will give Dustin Pedroia his first night off since June 9 Wednesday, slotting Mike Aviles in at second base as they attempt to pick up a road sweep of the Twins.

June 9 was, you may recall, the day when Dustin Pedroia went in to have his knee examined. The organization was attempting to reassure their star second baseman that he could go all-out without fear of aggravating an old injury, and their plan paid off in spades. Before the positive report, Pedroia was hitting just .247/.361/.338. He's been tearing the cover off of the ball ever since, hitting .376/.447/.624 in what can only be called an MVP-caliber season.

Now, after a slow start to August, at least power-wise, Pedroia is getting another day off. Here's hoping the next two months prove to be as productive. In the meantime, the Sox will just have to make due with the rest of their historically good offense:

Boston Red Sox (72-43) 

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Marco Scutaro, SS
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Carl Crawford, LF
  7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  8. Josh Reddick, RF
  9. Mike Aviles, 2B

The Twins will not have Jason Kubel in the lineup tonight, with Revere, Young, and Span starting in the outfield:

Minnesota Twins (51-65)

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Ben Revere, RF
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  5. Jim Thome, DH
  6. Danny Valencia, 3B
  7. Delmon Young, LF
  8. Trevor Plouffe, 2B
  9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester (11-5, 3.23 ERA) vs. Nick Blackburn (7-9, 4.58 ERA)

Jon Lester endured his worst start since returning from the disabled list in his last outing...and that was just three earned runs in six innings against the Yankees. So, clearly, that's not saying much.

The Twins, as it happens, are not the Yankees. They're on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, in fact. The one known as "bad". And while they're better against lefties than against righties, that doesn't even push them to "average". They're not good against the cutter, and while they've done well against Lester in years past, the composition of their lineup is completely different since the loss of Morneau. 

Having started the year strong, Nick Blackburn is in the midst of a terrible stretch. Only pitching 12 innings over his last three starts, Blackburn has given up 16 earned runs since his last quality start on July 20, good for an 11.68 ERA. What's worse is that, of the teams he faced in that time, only Texas is really a major offensive threat. Blackburn is a walk-machine against lefties, has homer problems against righties, and just shouldn't give the Sox any problems the way he's pitching these last couple weeks.