Red Sox vs. Orioles: Mike Carp starts at first as Sox go for sweep

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox will switch Mikes--Carp for Napoli--as they try to make it five straight wins and a sweep of the Orioles Thursday night.

UPDATE: Carp a late scratch, Jonny Gomes playing left while Nava takes over at 1B

Fresh off providing Wednesday's game-winning hit, Mike Carp will get the start at first base as the Red Sox try to complete a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles.

Boston Red Sox (79-55)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Shane Victorino, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Daniel Nava, LF 1B
  6. Mike Carp, 1B Jonny Gomes, LF
  7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  8. Stephen Drew, SS
  9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Starting Pitcher -- Jon Lester

Baltimore Orioles (70-61)

  1. Nate McLouth, LF
  2. Manny Machado, 3B
  3. Adam Jones, CF
  4. Chris Davis, 1B
  5. Matt Wieters, C
  6. J.J. Hardy, SS
  7. Nick Markakis, RF
  8. Danny Valencia, DH
  9. Brian Roberts, 2B

Starting Pitcher -- Chris Tillman

Carp's single may not have been the most impressive of hits, but with Mike Napoli going back into the tank with a hat trick and the Plantar Fasciitis probably still a concern, it's not too surprising to see him make a return tonight. The question will be if he doesn't make an appearance for David Ortiz at some point in the near future. No, nobody is saying Papi needs to hit the bench even after an 0-for-18 slump, but if the back issues and soreness we heard about during the National League road trip, getting him some time off might be a priority, even given all the games he missed on the West Coast.

For now, though, he'll just try to work it out at the plate, though he'll have to do so against Chris Tillman, who has done a pretty good job of getting opposite-handed pitching out over the course of his career, and just generally keeping runs off the board since 2012. Tillman suddenly fulfilling his potential has been a big part of the emergence of the Orioles as a playoff contender, but he falls into that slightly annoying category of pitchers who just seem to get the job done without looking particularly dominant on the mound. Hopefully the Red Sox take full advantage of his weaknesses and Lester keeps up his run of positive results, but this isn't likely to be an easy sweep to complete.

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