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Red Sox vs. Athletics: Enter Sonny Gray

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The Sox have an ace to face tonight. But he's not pitching like one right now.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are back in Fenway, but will have to beat Sonny Gray if they want to make their return a triumphant one as they take on Oakland's ace.


Lineup

BOSTON RED SOX OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Mookie Betts, RF Coco Crisp, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Jed Lowrie, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS Josh Reddick, RF
David Ortiz, DH Khris Davis, LF
Hanley Ramirez, 1B Stephen Vogt, DH
Travis Shaw, 3B Danny Valencia, 3B
Brock Holt, LF Yonder Alonso, 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF Josh Phegley, C
Christian Vazquez, C Marcus Semien, SS
Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz Starting Pitcher -- Sonny Gray

So, I say ace, and obviously Gray is. But the Athletics are in a situation not unlike the Red Sox. They have their ace--Sonny Gray to Boston's David Price--and then they have the guy who's actually pitching like one--Rich Hill to Boston's Steven Wright. Gray, you see, is in a small bad stretch. Not quite Price levels, but it hasn't been great these past couple games, with Gray allowing eleven runs in nine innings. Maybe, just maybe, the Red Sox are catching him at a bad time.

And maybe, just maybe they're putting Clay Buchholz up against him at a good time. Or at least that's all we can really hope for. That Buchholz' last six innings against the White Sox were the beginning of a turnaround, even if he still doesn't really seem to have his fastball in hand. Is it likely? I won't really believe it until I've seen it. But at the same time, he's starting today one way or another. Doomsaying won't change that, so we may as well hope.

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