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Red Sox vs. Rays lineups: Wade Miley out to finish strong

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Wade Miley finished the last game he started. Red Sox fans would settle for just another good outing and a win against the Rays.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off one of his best starts of the season, Wade Miley is out to build on that momentum and finish a dissapointing season strong Friday night as the Sox send him to the mound against the Rays.

Mookie Betts - CF Brandon Guyer - DH
Brock Holt - 2B Mikie Mahtook - LF
Xander Bogaerts - SS Evan Longoria - 3B
David Ortiz - DH Logan Forsythe - 2B
Travis Shaw - 1B Asdrubal Cabrera - SS
Pablo Sandoval - 3B Steven Souza - RF
Rusney Castillo - LF Richie Shaffer - 1B
Ryan Hanigan - C Kevin Kiermaier - CF
Jackie Bradley - RF Rene Rivera - C
Wade Miley - LHP Chris Archer - RHP

The Red Sox season has been over for nearly two months now, if you mark the time of death at that terrible second half start. We've had too much experience with that recently, and usually it leaves fans in a bit of a weird position. Usually a team in this situation is just plain bad. In 2012 the end of the year was truly comical. In 2014, there was Mookie Betts (and eventually a resurgent Xander Bogaerts) to watch, and very little else. Really, wins become kind of a shame. Mookie Betts can go 4-for-4 in a 10-2 loss with the rest of the team being so miserable around him. Why waste draft position on a bunch of stand-ins.

This year is different. It's not just Betts. It's Betts and Bogaerts and Bradley and Swihart and Shaw and Holt and..well, at this point I'm just naming the lineup. And the rotation on a lot of levels when you get down to it. What we're watching right now is not a lame duck team playing out the string. It's the beta for the 2016 Red Sox, and now that they've finally got most of their pieces figured out and in the right places, they're winning some games. Draft positioning, even if it's the difference between a protected and unprotected pick, be damned. It's time to root for the 2016 Red Sox, even if we're still on the old calendar.

So with a series win against the Jays in pocket, it'd sure be nice for the Red Sox to announce their revival to another potential division threat for next year in the Rays. They'll have their chance over the weekend.

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