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Open Thread: 7/31/05 vs MIN

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It's the trade deadline, everyone, and with the trade deadline comes ... trades. The Red Sox have been kind of loud this trade deadline, but haven't pulled the trigger on anything big yet. Will the Red Sox? Apparently Manny Ramirez is off the block now, and he is saying that he wants to stay in Boston. As long as he wants to stay here and doesn't complain about being here, then we can keep him.

The Twins seem to be backing off Bill Mueller, also, as they are close to acquiring Alfonso Soriano from Texas. The Twins want another prospect with Mueller for JC Romero, but the Red Sox don't seem to be budging. Plus, Romero and last night's starter Kyle Lohse are the players expected to go to Texas if they do get Soriano. So the Mueller trade may be out the window completely.

But! There is still a game to be played -- and a big one at that. The Red Sox are looking to win their fifth straight game and sweep the Twins this afternoon. To do that, they are going to need a great performance by top pitching prospect Jon Papelbon (0-0, 0.00 ERA) who makes his professional debut today. Papelbon has excelled in Portland and has had one bad game in Pawtucket. Us Minor League Nerds (me, Brian, Marc from Beyond the Box Score) expect big thins from him today.

The Twins send out Brad Radke (6-10, 3.88) who's win/loss percentage doesn't describe his season well enough. Radke has pitched well this season, but not on the road as he 1-5 with a 5.05 ERA.

No Manny again. So here's the lineup, with Alex Cora getting a start at second base.

J. Damon cf
E. Renteria ss
D. Ortiz dh
J. Olerud 1b
J. Varitek c
K. Millar lf
B. Mueller 3b
A. Cora 2b
G. Kapler rf

I'll update this open thread as the trade deadline looms. I'll post trades, potential trades, and even if nothing is going on at all. Stay tuned.