With no game tonight, all that the Red Sox have to deal with is the MLB Draft. It's a night that can bring excitement, satisfaction, or disappointment, but not exactly one of tremendous tension. Nothing that happens tonight is likely to effect the team for years to come, and even if things go badly, it's something that can be accounted and made up for.
Then why is it such a suspenseful night? Simple: tomorrow is the day the Dustin Pedroia situation is likely to come to a head.
The Red Sox have been playing with one man down for the past week, as they've sacrificed depth in the hopes that their MVP second baseman can get healthy and avoid a trip to the 15-day disabled list. The result has been a bunch of Nick Punto and a fair bit of fear of the unknown--what will happen should either he or Aviles go down?
So far the Sox have survived, more or less, but a decision has to be made.
It's entirely possible that tomorrow we see Dustin Pedroia back in the lineup, providing a reassuring presence at second base. Just yesterday Pedroia tested his injured thumb with a round of batting practice, and was pleased enough with the results to declare himself "ready to go."
But ultimately the decision will come down to what the likes of Bobby Valentine, Ben Cherington, and the medical staff think. If there's any significant chance that Pedroia's playing now rather than in two weeks' time will cost him his season, one would assume that they'll err on the side of caution. With the additional information of how Pedroia felt one day after swinging the bat, combined with an off day likely spent considering the issue, a Tuesday trip to the disabled list is every bit as likely as a Tuesday return.
The Sox have managed to take some good wins over the past week in spite of the loss of Pedroia, but they're still in a precarious position with ground to make up. Depending on what happens tomorrow, it could be up or down from here.