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Red Sox Vs. Rays Lineups: Sox Open Doubleheader With Mike Aviles At Short

The Red Sox and Rays are set to open their unusually short three-game series Tuesday afternoon, and will do so with Jon Lester on the mound, and Mike Aviles at shortstop.

It's not surprising that the Sox would use some backups during the doubleheader, but seeing Mike Aviles pull duty over either Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie is a bit unusual. Still, Aviles has stepped up some in his limited time this month, hitting .381 in his 21 at bats in August. 

Other than Aviles, however, it's a full group for Boston, including Kevin Youkilis' continued presence at third.

Boston Red Sox (73-46)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  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, SS

The Rays' offense isn't in top form anymore these days, but might be on the comeback trail thanks to Desmond Jennings. The exciting rookie will be leading off for Tampa Bay today, playing left field in front of the Monster.

Tampa Bay Rays (64-55)

  1. Desmond Jennings, LF
  2. Sam Fuld, RF
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Ben Zobrist, DH
  5. B.J. Upton, CF
  6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
  8. Kelly Shoppach, C
  9. Elliot Johnson, SS

Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester (11-6, 3.32 ERA) vs. James Shields (11-9, 2.80 ERA)

Coming off a terrible start in Oakland that left his July looking quite a bit worse-for-wear, James Shields has fired two gems off so far in August, including nine shutout innings in Kansas City.

His history against Boston so far this season has been just as mixed. In May, Shields shut down the Sox for an entire game, holding them to just five hits. Then, in July, the Sox put up six in six on the Tampa Bay ace--the other blemish on an otherwise impressive 30 days. Which Shields will they get today? It's hard to say: the righty seems to shift back-and-forth between terrific and terrible with no real notice, though on any given day he's quite a bit more likely to be terrific.

It's been a long time since Jon Lester has been terrible, but his last two outings haven't been the sort that Sox fans have come to expect from their ace lefty. In both contests, Lester seemed to run out of gas in his final inning, allowing three runs in each frame before being pulled from the game. This could be some hangover from after his DL stint, so ideally Terry Francona should employ a fast hook. Unfortunately, though, with the bullpen facing a tough test given the schedule over the next couple of days, that might not be practical.