BOSTON, MA - JUNE 8: Nick Punto #5 of the Boston Red Sox beats the throw to the plate to score against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at Fenway Park June 8, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Who's ready for more Nick Punto?
Unfortunately, as much as I may want to be infuriated about Punto making his way into the lineup, it's hard to get too up-in-arms when you consider how poorly Mike Aviles has been playing. Almost a caricature of himself at this point in his inability to work good at bats, ever since the end of the first month Aviles has become a candidate for the Kevin Cash rules: three pitches and it's a successful plate appearance. It's been pointed out that he's historically performed far better after the All-Star break, but how much weight do you put into that sort of thing?
Also absent from the lineup will be Kevin Youkilis, as Adrian Gonzalez moves back to first and Will Middlebrooks takes his hacks at third. Middlebrooks has been flashing the leather of late in addition to maintaining pretty decent results at the plate (though they've seen a drop-off with the rest of Boston's offense against the difficult opponents they've faced of late), so hopefully he can back up Jon Lester well enough against yet another impressive Washington arm.
|BOSTON RED SOX||WASHINGTON NATIONALS|
|Daniel Nava, LF||Danny Espinosa, 2B|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Xavier Nady, RF|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||Ryan Zimmerman, 3B|
|David Ortiz, DH||Michael Morse, DH|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||Adam LaRoche, 1B|
|Will Middlebrooks, 3B||Ian Desmond, SS|
|Ryan Sweeney, RF||Tyler Moore, LF|
|Scott Podsednik, CF||Jesus Flores, C|
|Nick Punto, SS||Roger Bernadina, CF|