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Red Sox Vs. Rays Lineups: Boston Goes Right-Handed Against David Price

The Red Sox have stacked their lineup with right-handed hitters Thursday in hopes of doing some damage against tricky lefty David Price. As a result, Sox fans can look forward to some bizarre phenomena (at least for 2011) such as Darnell McDonald hitting leadoff in place of Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s getting the day off.

Boston Red Sox (40-27)
1. Darnell McDonald, 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. Mike Cameron, RF
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

Tampa Bay Rays (36-32)
1. Johnny Damon, DH
2. Ben Zobrist, 2B
3. Matt Joyce, RF
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Casey Kotchman, 1B
6. B.J. Upton, CF
7. John Jaso, C
8. Sam Fuld, LF
9. Reid Brignac, SS

Clay Buchholz (5-3, 3.59 ERA) vs. David Price (7-5, 3.51 ERA)

There aren’t many pitchers in the game the Red Sox would like to see less on any given day than David Price. Not only is he a top-tier starter, but he’s particularly dominant against lefties, holding them to a paltry .406 OPS.

Tonight, he’ll only get the pleasure of facing off against three such lefties, but Price isn’t particularly bad against righties, either, and there’s a reason the righties are typically on the bench to begin with.

So chances are they’re going to need a big start out of Clay Buchholz. The good news is that, after showing his old stuff against Toronto, he could well be able to deliver. The back seems to not be bothering him anymore, and just in case he’s had an extra day of rest between starts. Buchholz might be particularly well-suited to face the Rays, too, given his reliance on off-speed pitches.

The Red Sox go for the series win Thursday night, but also of note is that, with the Yankees having already won, a loss would drop them to even in the loss category and just a half game ahead of their New York rivals in the AL East.