The Red Sox have a chance to finish off their season series against the Yankees with a 4-game sweep in New York, dodge the "honor" of being their 10,000th win, and take one step closer to a .500-or-better record Thursday night.
|BOSTON RED SOX||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Mookie Betts - CF||Brett Gardner - CF|
|Jackie Bradley - LF||Rob Refsnyder - 2B|
|Xander Bogaerts - SS||Alex Rodriguez - DH|
|Travis Shaw - 1B||Carlos Beltran - RF|
|Rusney Castillo - RF||Chris Young - LF|
|Allen Craig - DH||John Ryan Murphy - C|
|Deven Marrero - 3B||Greg Bird - 1B|
|Sandy Leon - C||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Josh Rutledge - 2B||Brendan Ryan - 3B|
|Rich Hill - LHP||CC Sabathia - LHP|
Unfortunately, it seems like Torey Lovullo isn't putting all that much weight on those various goals. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are out. Josh Rutledge, Sandy Leon, and--oh God--Allen Craig are playing. It'd be the closest we've come to a late-2012 or 2014 lineup if it weren't for the fact that all those guys at the top of the lineup have been playing out of their minds (or...perhaps just up to their talent levels?) to even put the Red Sox in position to think of some of these things.
Speaking of guys at the top of the order: welcome to the two-hole, Jackie Bradley Jr. I think the Red Sox were a little worried about upsetting anything when Bradley was on fire. But now, after having seen him go cold for a while and apparently snap out of it even with his defensive position rotating between left, center, and right, it seems like they're more willing to experiment some in these final games.
And then, on the mound, there's Rich Hill, and honestly, who even knows at this point. He seemed ready to revert to pumpkin form in that first inning against Toronto, and since then he's thrown 15 scoreless. He has 30 strikeouts in three games to just 12 baserunners and a 1.17 ERA. Nobody quite understands what the hell has inspired this in Hill, but if he could keep it going just one more game, he'll have made it through the season without taking his foot off the gas, and given the Red Sox a nice reward for giving him the opportunity.
First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN, ESPN, and WEEI.