Sunday Red Sox Lineup: Middlebrooks, Crawford Sit

BOSTON, MA - JULY 16: Carl Crawford #13 scores a run in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park July 16, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

When is it not a good time to give key players days off?

A) When one game above .500

B) When on a two-game losing streak

C) When you've got your worst-performing starter on the mound.

D) When your team has put together seven runs in three games.

E) All of the above.

The answer was E, but that's the situation the Sox are in today. Carl Crawford out, Daniel Nava in. Will Middlebrooks out, Nick Punto in. All in what I called last night the most must-win game of the season.

This team, after all, can ill-afford to go into Texas and New York at .500 and looking like they did out on the West Coast. But with a loss today that's exactly what they'll be looking at. To avoid the scenario they'll need Jon Lester to figure out exactly what he's doing on the mound or outscore the Jays with a weakened lineup after having Toronto put up 13 in the first two games.

Color me pessimistic, I suppose.


Lineup

BOSTON RED SOX TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Brett Lawrie, 3B
Daniel Nava, LF Yunel Escobar, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Colby Rasmus, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Cody Ross, DH J.P. Arencibia, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C Rajai Davis, RF
Ryan Sweeney, RF Travis Snider, LF
Mike Aviles, SS Jeff Mathis, C
Nick Punto, 3B Omar Vizquel, 2B

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