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Red Sox Vs. Rays Lineups: Sox Back At Full Strength Against Jeremy Hellickson

The Red Sox will have their lineup back at full strength Thursday night as they face off against Jeremy Hellickson and the Rays.

That the team would have even some semblance of their starting-nine ready to go for this all-important series against the Rays was by no means clear. Between David Ortiz' back spasms, Adrian Gonzalez' calf tightness which caused him to miss the last three innings of Wednesday's loss to the Jays, and of course Kevin Youkilis isn't exactly at the top of his game, either.

But one way or another, all three men will make it into the lineup to compliment the usual suspects, forming the strong 1-through-9 the Sox are used to:

Boston Red Sox (86-62)

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

The Rays will respond with the best they've got, starting at the top with a slumping but still impressive Desmond Jennings.

Tampa Bay Rays (82-66)

  1. Desmond Jennings, LF
  2. B.J. Upton, CF
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  5. Johnny Damon, DH
  6. Matt Joyce, RF
  7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  8. John Jaso, C
  9. Reid Brignac, SS

Pitching Matchup: Kyle Weiland (0-1, 6.75 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 2.96 ERA)

Kyle Weiland just hasn't been very good in his first season in the majors. While the last time out (again against the Rays) he managed to limit the damage that came from allowing nine baserunners in four innings to just three runs, the fact that such an outing is actually considered to be a positive is telling in itself. Ideally, Weiland wouldn't even be playing right now, but with the rotation only now returning to some slight semblance of normalcy, the Sox will take whatever they can get. And if Weiland can just keep the ball low in the zone, he might actually find some success.

Jeremy Hellickson's first season in the majors, on the other hand, is Rookie of the Year material. Still, the young righty hasn't had as much luck fooling the Red Sox. While he's still a threat for a strong outing, the Sox have shown enough patience against Hellickson that his occasional lack of control has often proved costly, if not terribly so. Given who's on the mound for them, however, the Sox will need more than just a decent outing against the Rays' starter Thursday.