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Red Sox vs. Yankees: Sox turn to John Lackey to play stopper

Things aren't going too well for the Red Sox right now. Can John Lackey turn things around?

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

A floundering Red Sox team will be without Shane Victorino Saturday afternoon as they try to stop the bleeding that's left them just one game up in the AL East.

Boston Red Sox (72-52)

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

New York Yankees (63-58)

  1. Brett Gardner, CF
  2. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
  5. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  6. Curtis Granderson, DH
  7. Eduardo Nunez, SS
  8. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  9. Chris Stewart, C

Starting Pitcher -- Hiroki Kuroda

The Red Sox, simply put, need to play better. They need to pitch better, need to hit better, need to field better. No allowing a runner to score on a single while looking like the Astros. No giving up homers to Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds (even if they were just playing their parts in the grand farce that is the Yankees signing a washed up player). No stranding 12 men on base.

Perhaps John Lackey will be the one to play the old "stopper" role and lift them up. He didn't really do that last time out, though, and the Red Sox have a tendency to short him on runs. With Hiroki Kuroda pitching for the Yankees, and the general malaise currently afflicting the team, it's hard to feel good about today. But it was hard to feel bad about yesterday and look where expectation got us there.

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