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Red Sox Vs. Pirates Lineups: Adrian Gonzalez At First, Ortiz Sits Against Pirates

Adrian Gonzalez will not find himself in right field for the first Red Sox game without the designated hitter, instead getting the start at first base as David Ortiz sits.

Boston Red Sox (44-30)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. Darnell McDonald, LF
  6. Mike Cameron, RF
  7. Jason Varitek, C
  8. Marco Scutaro, SS
  9. Jon Lester, P
What's truly puzzling is the continued presence of Darnell McDonald and Mike Cameron in the lineup. Terry Francona has stuck fast to playing both against lefties, but matchups only work out when the players can hit period. To put things in perspective, Mario Mendoza of Mendoza Line fame hit .180/.226/.200 in his worst offensive season (excepting his 17 at bats in his final year). Darnell McDonald is currently sitting pretty at .108/.175/.189. Oh, and Josh Reddick's OPS remains over 1.000.

Pittsburgh Pirates (37-37)
  1. Jose Tabata, LF
  2. Chase d'Arnaud, 3B
  3. Andrew McCutchen 
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Matt Diaz, RF
  6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  7. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  8. Mike McKenry, C
  9. Paul Maholm, P
It's hard to really comprehend just how weak the Pirates are offensively until you see that lineup, but there it is. Interestingly, Mike McKenry will get the start against the Red Sox, who traded for him earlier this year and sent him to the Pirates not even a month ago.

Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester (9-3, 3.70 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (3-8, 3.29) 

The king of tough-luck losses, Maholm has allowed four-or-more earned runs only three times in 15 starts, and has only three wins to show from it. A lefty with big splits, Maholm is perfectly suited to shut down a typical Red Sox lineup, but lacking David Ortiz and Carl Crawford, it shouldn't really be much of a consideration tonight, as Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis balance out Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez in the meat of the Sox' lineup. As a soft-tosser, Maholm is also not particularly well-suited to take advantage of the slow bats of some of the Sox' older players.

Jon Lester seems to have recovered from his bad May. Though he did allow three very early homers to the Brewers, he fought back well, and has allowed seven earned over his last 20 innings, striking out 21 while walking just five. Clint Hurdle has done a decent job of stacking the lineup against him as best he can--Tabata and McCutchen have both been good against lefties, and Chase d'Arnaud has killed southpaws in Triple-A this year. But he only has so much to work with, and with Lester being a top-of-the-line AL lefty, he may be too much to handle for a weak NL lineup.