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Red Sox Vs. Rangers: Boston Tries To Dodge The Sweep Behind Clay Buchholz, Carl Crawford Bats Seventh

Clay Buchholz will take the mound against the Rangers Sunday at 2:05 EDT, trying to save the Red Sox from opening the season by getting swept in Arlington, Texas.

Buchholz, long considered one of the Red Sox’ most promising young pitchers, finally had that potential shine through in 2010, pitching to an outstanding 2.33 ERA and going 17-7 in just over 170 innings of work. While his peripherals weren’t nearly as impressive, the hope is that last year will have given him enough confidence to go with his at times dominant stuff, leading to another impressive year.

He will need to quiet a dangerous Texas Lineup that has already scored 21 runs off the Red Sox in just two games, however.

1. Ian Kinsler, DH
2. Michael Young, 2B
3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. David Murphy, LF
7. Mike Napoli, C
8. Mitch Moreland, 1B
9. Andres Blanco, SS

While it’s still a potent offensive group, the good news is that, with Michael Young in the infield, Hamilton in Center, and Andrus sitting, this is a far less impressive bunch defensively than the Red Sox lineup has seen in the last two games.

Speaking of the Red Sox lineup, Terry Francona has made an interesting—and in ways impressive—switch against Texas’ left-handed starter.

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. Carl Crawford, LF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Darnell McDonald, RF

First, Jed Lowrie has been inserted to do what he does best: destroy left-handed pitching. Darnell McDonald, too, has good numbers against southpaws. But what’s most interesting is seeing Carl Crawford batting seventh. That’s a strong move from manager Terry Francona, who many expected would not risk upsetting Crawford by moving him down against lefties. For the moment, the move is expected to be temporary, but we’ll have to see how it turns out in the long run.

Matt Harrison will be given the task of trying to keep the Red Sox off the board. And while his being left-handed gives him an advantage, with a 4.71 ERA in 2010, the Sox have a good shot at beating up on an unimpressive and inexperienced pitcher, and maybe giving Texas a taste of their own medicine.