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Red Sox vs. Braves lineups: Travis Shaw starts at third

The Red Sox are a circus act. And not the fun kind.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a while since I've looked at a Red Sox lineup and been reminded of the last days of 2012. Say what you will about the team's performance thus far this season, but the names have at least been such that you could look at it any given batting order and wonder how exactly it was this team was playing so badly.

Then we have this...

Brock Holt - 2B Jace Peterson - 2B
Mookie Betts - CF Cameron Maybin - CF
David Ortiz - 1B Nick Markakis - RF
Hanley Ramirez - LF Juan Uribe - 3B
Xander Bogaerts - SS A.J. Pierzynski - C
Alejandro De Aza - RF Andrelton Simmons - SS
Travis Shaw - 3B Kelly Johnson - 1B
Sandy Leon - C Eury Perez - LF
Clay Buchholz - RHP Shelby Miller - RHP

Yeah, that's Travis Shaw playing third base. Yeah, that's Alejandro De Aza batting sixth. Yeah, it's half thanks to Dustin Pedroia's knee giving him trouble and half due to this abomination.

This is the most 2012 this team has felt since Bobby Valentine was given the boot. Moreso than during any and all A.J. Pierzynski drama from last year (which was largely muted and, hilariously enough, about similar actions in a context far worse). We've been the butt of a thousand jokes this year, and at any given point in time, one player or another has earned said jokes, even if they didn't feel entirely fair.

This is the first time it's really felt like the team as a whole deserves it. How can they not? "Pablo Sandoval was just suspended one game for using instagram in the bathroom." They wrote that punchline yourself. To steal a punchline from Bryan Joiner earlier today, "The Aristocrats!"

There's a time for the first pitch and networks that will be broadcasting it, but it just feels cruel to subject you to that information today. Go take a walk. Be in the world. Don't participate in this madness, at least for today. You don't need it.