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Red Sox Vs. Royals: Marco Scutaro Returns To Lineup Against Felipe Paulino

Marco Scutaro will make his return to the Red Sox Saturday evening, making his first start at shortstop since August 13 having missed the last week with a sore back.

The rest of the lineup is still pretty ugly--especially since Jacoby Ellsbury will receive a day or two off after being drilled in the back in the later innings of Friday night's game. Darnell McDonald will take over in center field, with Josh Reddick playing in right. Jed Lowrie will also sit despite reaching base four times Friday, with Mike Aviles playing Kevin Youkilis' customary role at third.

Boston Red Sox (76-48)

  1. Marco Scutaro, SS
  2. Mike Aviles, 3B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  5. Josh Reddick, RF
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Carl Crawford, LF
  8. Ryan Lavarnway, DH
  9. Darnell McDonald, RF

You know things have gone bad for Carl Crawford when he's batting seventh in that lineup. 

The Royals, undettered by having Andrew Miller nearly shut them out, will make only small changes to the bottom of their lineup.

Kansas City Royals (51-75)

  1. Alex Gordon, LF
  2. Melky Cabrera, CF
  3. Billy Butler, DH
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  7. Salvador Perez, C
  8. Chris Getz, 2B
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitching Matchup: Tim Wakefield (6-5, 4.90 ERA, still shy of 200 career wins) vs. Felipe Paulino (1-9, 4.30 ERA)

At what point does the futility of Tim Wakefield's quest for his 200th win become comical? He's pitched four perfectly winnable games since picking up number 199 on a night when he allowed seven runs to score in under seven innings of work, and while the Sox have pulled out wins in two of them, they have rewarded him with not a single positive decision. 

So, given how things work in Wakefield's world, maybe today he's got the best possible odds. A weird, unimpressive lineup behind him, a few guys who have hit him quite well in opposition, and a pretty good pitcher in opposition; it all spells disaster on a normal day, and so what could go wrong?

And don't let his record fool you, Felipe Paulino has been a pretty good pitcher this year. Utilizing an overpowering fastball, the 27-year-old righty has come into his own somewhat this year. His biggest weakness--lefties--would usually come into play against Boston, but if you look at that lineup, they're not nearly so threatening from that side of the plate without Ortiz and Ellsbury in the equation. For once, the Sox would probably rather face the lefty from last night rather than the righty they're up against tonight.