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Red Sox vs. Blue Jays: Mike Napoli persists, drops to seven-hole

Mike Napoli will start another day, but as his spot in the lineup drops further, his back may well be up against the wall.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

Despite striking out in nearly half of his at bats this month, Mike Napoli continues to cling to a spot in Boston's starting lineup. Wednesday, however, he will slip all the way to seventh in the order, behind both Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew.

Boston Red Sox (72-49)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Shane Victorino, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Jonny Gomes, LF
  6. Stephen Drew, SS
  7. Mike Napoli, 1B
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Starting Pitcher -- Jon Lester

Toronto Blue Jays (54-65)

  1. Jose Reyes, SS
  2. Rajai Davis, CF
  3. Jose Bautista, RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
  5. Brett Lawrie, 3B
  6. Mark DeRosa, DH
  7. J.P. Arencibia, C
  8. Kevin Pillar, LF
  9. Munenori Kawasaki, 2B

Starting Pitcher -- Esmil Rogers

This is the farthest Napoli has fallen, and one wonders if there's really and further for him to go. Does John Farrell consider batting him eighth before simply yanking him from the lineup in favor of Mike Carp or Daniel Nava? Is this, in essence, the last stand of Mike Napoli, Red Sox Starter?

If so, at least it will start against Esmil Rogers and his 5.12 ERA. That's a comforting number with Jon Lester on the mound for the Red Sox, though it has to be acknowledged that the southpaw did bounce back from a very discouraging performance against the Diamondbacks with a solid outing against the Royals, no matter how shakily it may have started. Still, Lester is back in that in-between territory where it's hard to know what to make of him right now. It's easy to see him going either way from here, which would make a big night against Rogers very welcome indeed.

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