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Red Sox vs. Rays lineups: Allen Craig gets his chance

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Allen Craig will start his fourth game in five days. With consistent playing time finally available, can he establish a foundation to build on?

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox will try to capture their first series win since they faced the Nationals as they send Justin Masterson to the hill against Alex Colome and the Rays.

TAMPA BAY RAYS (14-13) BOSTON RED SOX (13-14)
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Mookie Betts - CF
Logan Forsythe - 2B Dustin Pedroia - 2B
James Loney - 1B David Ortiz - DH
Evan Longoria - 3B Mike Napoli - 1B
David DeJesus - DH Pablo Sandoval - 3B
Joey Butler - LF Allen Craig - LF
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Brock Holt - RF
Brandon Guyer - RF Xander Bogaerts - SS
Rene Rivera - C Blake Swihart - C
Alex Colome - RHP Justin Masterson - RHP

Yesterday I had some fun with the idea that this was the start of the Allen Craig era in Boston because, let's be honest, it's not an easy idea to swallow. Not after so much futility since he was sent here in 2014.

Still, for the last few games, Craig has looked a bit like...well, he's looked almost like a baseball player. Yeah he got thrown out at second on his wall ball single, but the fact that he caught the wall at all is what's really noteworthy there. Hit the wall, mind, a couple games after leaving the park.

Is he just having a warm streak in the middle of an ice age? Who knows. Probably. But to repeat myself, Allen Craig was once very good, and his only opportunities to prove himself in 2015 have been scattered over the course of the season--a few at bats here, a few at bats there. Pinch-hitting is hard. Pinch-starting isn't much better, if you catch my meaning.

Justin Masterson will see a lot friendlier offense lined up against him than when he last took the mound against New York. He survived six innings against that Yankees lineup full of lefties and switch-hitters, but he didn't exactly look good doing it. Hopefully with five right-handed hitters in for Tampa, Masterson will have an easier time tonight.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.

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