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Red Sox Vs. Astros Lineups: Kevin Youkilis Returns To Lineup In Houston

The Red Sox will be once again have the services of Kevin Youkilis Friday night after X-rays on the third baseman's foot came back negative. Youkilis missed the Sox' final game against the Phillies after fouling a ball off his foot Wednesday. 

Boston will return to using its standard National League lineup against right-handed Bud Norris, with the only substitute being the impressive Josh Reddick filling in for Carl Crawford, who is not expected to return to the lineup until after the Red Sox return home.

Boston Red Sox (46-34)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. J.D. Drew, RF
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Josh Reddick, LF
  8. Marco Scutaro, SS
  9. Tim Wakefield, P
The Astros haven't really had much in the way of a standard lineup this year, with 15 different position players having made at least 10 starts. Absent from the lineup tonight is Matt Downs, the middle infielder who has put up surprising numbers in his 100 plate appearances so far.

Houston Astros (29-53)
  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Angel Sanchez, 2B
  3. Hunter Pence, RF
  4. Carlos Lee, LF
  5. Chris Johnson, 3B
  6. Brett Wallace, 1B
  7. Clint Barmes, SS
  8. Carlos Corporan, C
  9. Bud Norris, P
Pitching Matchup: Tim Wakefield (4-3, 4.54 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (4-6, 3.36 ERA)

Tim Wakefield's return to Pittsburgh resulted in something of an implosion despite the opposing lineup's unfamiliarity with the knuckleball. Still, though, most of the damage came from the one man who had seen him regularly in the past: Lyle Overbay.

With that in mind, Wakefield will want to be extra careful around Carlos Lee, who has 27 very good at bats against him in his career. After Lee, though--who has, for the record, been having a bad season--the lineup falls off. Brett Wallace has been decent, but the real threats come at the top in Bourn and Pence.

The Red Sox will have to deal with Bud Norris, who has come into his own. Though he has a changeup, Norris is primarily a two-pitch pitcher, relying on a low-mid 90s fastball and leaning very heavily on his slider, which could prove quite troublesome to Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

Perhaps the Sox' best weapon, though, will be patience. Norris doesn't exactly pound the zone, and if the Sox can build up his pitch count early, they'll be very happy to see the Houston bullpen enter the game.