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Red Sox Vs. Astros Lineups: Adrian Gonzalez Returns To Right Field Against J.A. Happ

Terry Francona has once again elected to send Adrian Gonzalez into the outfield, penciling the slugging first baseman in as the right fielder for Saturday's game against the Astros.

It will be the second time on the road trip that Gonzalez will play the outfield in order to get David Ortiz' bat in the game. So far, though, Ortiz' bat hasn't really been worth it, as Big Papi finds himself mired in a season-worst 0-for-15 slump.

The Sox will just have to hope that J.A. Happ--currently the owner of a 5.54 ERA--proves to be the cure.

Boston Red Sox (47-34)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, RF
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. David Ortiz, 1B
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Darnell McDonald, LF
  8. Marco Scutaro, SS
  9. Andrew Miller, P
Despite losing on Friday, the Astros can't be too unhappy with the five runs and thirteen hits they recorded against the Sox. Only two starters failed to record at least a base knock Friday, and coincidentally enough, those two are the ones who won't be in the starting lineup tonight.

Houston Astros (29-54)
  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Angel Sanchez, 2B
  3. Hunter Pence, RF
  4. Carlos Lee, 1B
  5. Jason Michaels, LF
  6. Chris Johnson, 3B
  7. Clint Barmes, SS
  8. J.R. Towles, C
  9. J.A. Happ

Pitching Matchup: Andrew Miller (1-0, 3.09 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (3-9, 5.54 ERA)

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Andrew Miller's last two starts is not how solid they were, but how much excitement they've generated. Barely more than an afterthought this offseason, there wasn't much to indicate that Miller would be any different from any of the other reclamation projects that happen every year.

One way or another, though, Miller ran off a string of four terrific minor league starts, and made his way up to Boston, where he has looked quite impressive. The wildness that used to characterize Miller's starts has been limited to just the occasional burst here and there, and if it goes away altogether, who's to say what the Sox could have on their hands?

Still, the fact remains that Miller hasn't really had to face much in the way of competition, and that's not really set to change today. Bourn and Pence are a solid enough combination, but there's a surprising number of righties who can't hit righties in today's lineup, and Miller hasn't ever really been a reverse splits guy.

The same can be said for J.A. Happ, despite the huge numbers he's allowed to lefties this year. But he's also not a guy who should frighten batters at either side of the plate. Happ features a fastball without much velocity, and a slew of off-speed pitches that haven't really been fooling batters--not a good thing when he leaves so many out of the zone. His slider tends to hang, and his curveball ends up in the dirt far too often to entice batters on a typical day. Simply put, he's someone the Sox should hit.