An ice-cold Xander Bogaerts will get a day off Thursday as the Red Sox take on the team that ended their winning streak and sent them back into a losing spiral: the Cleveland Indians.
|CLEVELAND INDIANS||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Michael Bourn - CF||Brock Holt - 3B|
|A. Cabrera - SS||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|M. Brantley - LF||David Ortiz - DH|
|Jason Kipnis - 2B||Mike Napoli - 1B|
|Carlos Santana - 1B||Daniel Nava - LF|
|Ryan Raburn - RF||Grady Sizemore - RF|
|Nick Swisher - DH||David Ross - C|
|Yan Gomes - C||J. Herrera - SS|
|Mike Aviles - 3B||Jackie Bradley - CF|
|Josh Tomlin - RHP||Jon Lester - LHP|
The lineup, frankly, is what it is. It is what it has been, and is what it's likely going to be, more or less, for the rest of the year. No, they're not going to score one run per 27 innings every time. Yes, Bogaerts will be back at some point. Others will shift in and out. It will not be unchanging in its composition, only its nature.
The lineup is the limiting factor. Even with Rubby De La Rosa's inconsistency and Jake Peavy's...well, his unfortunate consistency, the Red Sox seem to actually have the parts for a respectable rotation, if not a superlative one. Which five of their numerous starters actually comprise that respectable rotation is still up-in-the-air, but at the very least they're no longer automatically surrendering 60% of their games based on the pitcher alone.
The lineup, though? That can turn one-run gems into losses. It can turn reasonable nights from the pitching staff into, effectively, routs for the opposition.
If one of those two scenarios has to occur tonight, it will hopefully be the former. Ideally that lineup will actually score a few and maybe we'll make a real game of this, but at the moment the more important matter is probably whether Jon Lester has found whatever it is he lost between his 12-strikeout domination of the Rays and hes terribly flat performance against the Tigers. All pitchers are allowed their slumps, and there's little question that Jon Lester is a very positive part of this rotation. But at a time when the Red Sox have to be determining exactly what it is they're going to do with Lester's contract situation, a sudden curveball honestly doesn't help anyone.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN, WEEI, and the MLB Network.