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Red Sox Vs. Mariners Lineups: Josh Beckett, Felix Herandez Set For Duel In Seattle

The Red Sox and Mariners have lined up their aces for a Saturday night duel, as two of the league's best in Josh and Felix Hernandez will take the mound in Seattle.

The Red Sox will be without Kevin Youkilis for the second straight night thanks to some lingering back pains. Marco Scutaro will make his return to the shortstop position with Mike Aviles filling in for Youkilis at third. It's not the worst possible night to lose Youkilis, since Hernandez has done fairly well against him over the course of his career, but a .350 OBP against is probably about as much as you could hope for given who's on the mound. Aviles, for what little it's worth, is 3-for-8 against the Seattle ace.

Boston Red Sox (73-44)

 

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, 2B
  2. Carl Crawford, LF
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Josh Reddick, RF
  7. Mike Aviles, 3B
  8. Jason Varitek, C
  9. Marco Scutaro, SS

The Mariners will have a familiar face in their lineup: Wily Mo Pena, hitter of homers, and prolific strikeout artist. Pena will fill the role of DH and bat fifth.

Seattle Mariners (50-67)

 

  1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  2. Franklin Guttierez, CF
  3. Dustin Ackley, 2B
  4. Mike Carp, 1B
  5. Wily Mo Pena, DH
  6. Casper Wells, LF
  7. Josh Bard, C
  8. Luis Rodriguez, 3B
  9. Jack Wilson, SS

Pitching Matchup: Josh Beckett (9-4, 2.17 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (10-10, 3.31 ERA)

You don't get matchups much better than this, but based on recent history, this could just be a mismatch. After all, it was less than a month ago that Hernandez came undone in the seventh inning against Boston, allowing four runs in the frame and six in his 6.1 total innings of work. The key will likely be working long at bats against Felix, if only just to get him out of the game, but given the Seattle ace's tendency to throw strikes early and often, that's easier said than done. They've also done their best work against Hernandez' off-speed stuff, so if they're going to hack at fastballs, they'd best be good ones to hit.

If the Sox can just score three for Beckett, that could well be enough. After all, the Boston ace has allowed more than three earned runs just twice, and one of those times was in his return to action after an illness forced him to go 13 days between starts. As one might expect, his one start against the weak-hitting Mariners was even above his typically high standard, going seven innings and giving up just one earned run. If he can avoid letting the top of the lineup put him in a difficult position, he could have another stellar night.