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Red Sox Vs. Rangers Lineups: Kevin Youkilis Returns Against Lefty Holland

The Red Sox' offense is finally healthy again. Kevin Youkilis will make his return to action Friday night, once again batting cleanup and setting to rights an order that has seen some weird iterations in recent weeks.

The third baseman's return comes at a bit of a perfect time, with a lefty on the mound and a couple of days after the Sox found themselves so often just one hit short of possibly breaking the game open.

While the Sox won't quite see their full-strength lineup just yet, with Darnell McDonald and Jason Varitek playing against the lefty, it will be as close as they've gotten since a rash of injuries saw Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis sidelined at the same time:

Boston Red Sox (83-53)

 

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. David Ortiz, DH
  6. Jed Lowrie, SS
  7. Conor Jackson
  8. Jason Varitek, C
  9. Darnell McDonald, RF

The Rangers will have Adrian Beltre back in their lineup for just the second time after missing more than a month. The former Red Sox will be making his first return trip to Fenway since his MVP-caliber season there in 2010.

Texas Rangers (78-60)

 

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Elvis Andrus, SS
  3. Josh Hamilton, LF
  4. Michael Young, 1B
  5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
  6. Mike Napoli, C
  7. Yorvit Torrealba, DH
  8. David Murphy, RF
  9. Craig Gentry, CF

Pitching Matchup: Andrew Miller (6-1, 4.42 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (12-5, 4.30 ERA)

Suddenly, Andrew Miller is exciting again. And it was a start against Texas that did it for him, too. Miller went 6.1 innings giving up just five baserunners and striking out six batters in the process, including putting a hat trick up on 2010 Americal League MVP Josh Hamilton. If he were to do it again today, it would really be the longest streak of success he'd have had in the majors in two or three years.

Derek Holland is not one of the pitchers who Boston battered in last week's series. He's also not of the soft-tossing variety, the likes of which have given the Sox so many troubles over the last few years. Really, he's kind of cookie-cutter in his makeup, which could mean that, while the Sox haven't faced him in a while, he won't be as unfamiliar as all that .