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Red Sox vs. Astros lineups: Mike Carp starts in left, Shane Victorino out

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Mike Carp will start in left field, allowing Daniel Nava to take over in right as Shane Victorino and his bad back get a day off.

Jason Miller

Shane Victorino's back will keep him out of another game Thursday, with the Red Sox turning to Mike Carp in left and Daniel Nava in right.

Victorino's back acted up in the midst of Wednesday's 6-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics, and while it's not clear just how bad it is, it's no surprise to see the Red Sox taking the cautious route and keeping him out for at least today. If ignored, these are the sort of injuries that can linger and end up doing a lot more damage in the long run.

Boston Red Sox (14-7)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Daniel Nava, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Mike Napoli, 1B
  6. Mike Carp, LF
  7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  8. Will MIddlebrooks, 3B
  9. Stephen Drew, SS
Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz

Houston Astros (7-14)

  1. Robbie Grossman, CF
  2. Jose Altuve, 2B
  3. Jason Castro, C
  4. Carlos Pena, 1B
  5. Chris Carter, DH
  6. Fernando Martinez, LF
  7. Matt Dominguez, 3B
  8. Rick Ankiel, RF
  9. Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Starting Pitcher -- Phil Humber

The real impact for the Red Sox is not in the lineup, but the field. Shane Victorino has been a useful number two hitter for the Sox, but Mike Carp is on some sort of magical run right now. Defensively, however, Carp is not impressive, and even the new-and-improved Daniel Nava looks like a DH in comparison to Shane Victorino.

The good news is that Clay Buchholz has been on a serious strikeout kick to start the year, and the Houston Astros strike out a lot. If the ball never gets into the outfield, Clay won't have anything to worry about from his defense. Of course, that's asking a lot from any matchup.

Obviously the Red Sox want to win these four games. They want to sweep them. The Astros are a bad team, and the Red Sox are certainly looking like a pretty good one right now. Dropping any one of these games will, individually, be a disappointment. But we certainly can't be taking a sweep for granted. The Astros have won one out of every three games they've played just as the Red Sox have lost one out of three. For tonight, however, this game, with this matchup, is really one the Sox should not be dropping.