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Red Sox vs. Angels lineups: Lineup back to a strangely impressive normal

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The Red Sox will return to a more normal, strangely effective starting nine for the first half of Saturday's doubleheader against the Angels.

Jim Rogash

Two days ago, thanks to a big night from Jonny Gomes and Ron Washington's...unique...decision making, the Red Sox made something of an ugly lineup work. Today, in their first game against the Angels, they're back to normal. Or at least what constitutes normal these days.

Boston Red Sox (37-24)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Daniel Nava, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Mike Napoli, 1B
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Mike Carp, LF
  8. Stephen Drew, SS
  9. Jose Iglesias, 3B

Starting Pitcher -- Felix Doubront

Los Angeles Angels (26-34)

  1. Mike Trout, CF
  2. Josh Hamilton, RF
  3. Albert Pujols, DH
  4. Mark Trumbo, 1B
  5. Howie Kendrick, 2B
  6. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
  7. Chris Iannetta, C
  8. Erick Aybar, SS
  9. J.B. Shuck, LF

Starting Pitcher -- Tommy Hanson

It's shocking, really, that we can look at that Red Sox lineup, compare it to the Angels', and actually feel pretty good about it. Mike Trout is incredible, of course, to the point where you look at his .899 OPS season-to-date and wonder what's wrong with him. Somehow, though, the rest of that cast hasn't worked. Hamilton and Pujols have joined Mark Trumbo as one-trick power ponies, and when you've got three of those in a line...well, let's just say you're not maximizing your gains from any given homer.

Meanwhile the Red Sox have a group batting sixth through ninth that should mean the end of them as a contender. Except that Saltalamacchia has been unusually solid, Mike Carp's 23 hits have all been big, and while Jose Iglesias is not going to keep this up, between all his line drives this past month and that three-walk performance the other day, it's getting harder to believe he's a complete fluke. Of the four, Stephen Drew is the one who most could have been expected of, and while he's technically had the least impressive season, he's also rocking a .858 OPS since May 1st.

Of couse, if this example shows why we play out the season instead of awarding a championship in March (well, also because that'd be really boring), it also shows us that looking better on paper at the beginning of the day ensures nothing about the end of it. The Sox still have to go out there and win this one.

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