Jacoby Ellsbury will return to the leadoff spot Wednesday night as the Red Sox and Felix Doubront face off against David Price and the Rays.
Boston Red Sox (61-41)
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Shane Victorino, RF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- David Ortiz, DH
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Jonny Gomes, LF
- Stephen Drew, SS
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
- Jose Iglesias, 3B
Starting Pitcher -- Felix Doubront
Tampa Bay Rays (59-42)
- Desmond Jennings, CF
- Evan Longoria, 3B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Wil Myers, RF
- Luke Scott, DH
- Sean Rodriguez, LF
- James Loney, 1B
- Jose Molina, C
- Yunel Escobar, SS
Starting Pitcher -- David Price
It's a matchup of left-handed pitchers which appears lopsided by reputation, but much less so by the numbers.
On the one hand we have David Price. By reputation an ace, undeniably. A pair of top-two finishes in Cy Young voting (including last year's win) before even approaching 30 kind of guarantees that. On the other we have Felix Doubront who, given his mediocre full-time debut in 2012, many expected to be replaced in the rotation partway through the season if the Red Sox were contending. It's not hard to see which of these two should be the favorite.
And yet, 2013 has not gone quite as expected. For David Price this year has brought an ERA over 4.00, and if his peripherals are better, they are still diminished compared to his last couple years of work. For Felix Doubront, 2013--particularly these last couple of months--has been a breakout season, with the young southpaw finally reigning in his pitch counts and delivering consistently strong outings.
Still, if Red Sox fans have perhaps overcome their reluctance to trust Felix Doubront in any given game, it seems a bit foolish to presume that David Price will be anything less that the ace we know he can be. The reigning Cy Young winner that he is. Ultimately this one may well come down to which team can drive the opposing pitcher's pitch count up the quickest to get to the comparatively vulnerable bullpen.
Read more Red Sox:
- Dustin Pedroia's seven-year extension perfect for Red Sox and Pedroia
- Brandon Workman is earning a permanent Red Sox job
- Red Sox trade target: Jesse Crain
- The red-hot Rays, and the "underdog" Red Sox
- Mike Napoli's unique, weird, game-winning night