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Red Sox vs. Athletics: Sean O' Sullivan gives it a shot

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It's Sean O'Sullivan time in Boston, which...well, it could be worse.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox have Sean O'Sullivan on the mound Tuesday night, bridging the gap between the Matsuzaka-like Henry Owens, and the return of Eduardo Rodriguez. And if this is not the most encouraging news of the day, take heart in the fact that it could be worse.


Lineup

BOSTON RED SOX OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Mookie Betts, RF Coco Crisp, DH
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Billy Burns, CF
Xander Bogaerts, SS Josh Reddick, RF
Hanley Ramirez, DH Khris Davis, LF
Chris Young, LF Stephen Vogt, C
Josh Rutledge, 3B Billy Butler, 1B
Travis Shaw, 1B Yonder Alonso, 3B
Ryan Hanigan, C Marcus Semien, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF Chris Coghlan, 2B
Starting Pitcher -- Sean O'Sullivan Starting Pitcher -- Sean Manaea

The fact is that Sean O'Sullivan has been extremely good in Triple-A this year, producing a 3.27 ERA that doesn't even really do his peripherals justice. He's one of those Brian Bannister projects, which should give everyone some small amount of hope, but we're still talking about a guy with a career 5.96 ERA in the major leagues. There's good reason to be skeptical.

But what Sean O'Sullivan is not is Henry Owens, and God love Honk, he's just not right at the moment. We all had to endure that Matsuzaka outing against Chicago, and if the Red Sox came away with a win, it's not the sort of performance you want to bet on. O'Sullivan might be good, O'Sullivan might be bad, but he's probably not going to be as maddening as Owens, and with Brian Johnson and Roenis Elias both seemingly suffering from the same Pawtucket plague that's hit Owens, taking a gamble on a guy who might be able to go five allowing three or something like that doesn't seem so bad.

And if O'Sullivan can indeed do that, the Red Sox lineup will have a shot at making it work. Sean Manaea is a decent enough prospect, but he's not off to a great start in his rookie season, and if the Red Sox haven't really done much against lefties this year, the fact is they also just haven't faced very many, and one of them was named Quintana. They'll have Chris Young in the order since, y'know, that's what he's here for, but David Ortiz being out in favor of Josh Rutledge is certainly not ideal. Still, even without their best bat, this is a dangerous offense. Just give them a chance, O'Sullivan.

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