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Red Sox vs. White Sox lineups: Sox hope Shields will pull them out of tailspin

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The Red Sox face a must-win game against James Shields. Not because of the standings, but because if you lose to James Shields you're automatically disqualified from the postseason.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are in a 2-5 tailspin, and now solidly under .500 over their last 33 games. They need someone to save them, and they hope that man is James Shields.


Lineup

BOSTON RED SOX CHICAGO WHITE SOX
1. Mookie Betts, RF TBA
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Xander Bogaerts, SS
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Chris Young, LF
6. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
7. Hanley Ramirez, 1B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Marco Hernandez, 3B
Starting Pitcher -- Rick Porcello Starting Pitcher -- James Shields

Since the White Sox' panic bought the seemingly over-the-hill starting pitcher, he's allowed 21 earned runs in 8 innings. Let those numbers sink in.

There's simply nothing for it: if the Red Sox can't win this game, regardless of who's at third, then we need to start moving into exorcism territory. They'll no longer have any claim to being one of the best offenses in the league on a cold spell. You get shut down by James Shields, you get demoted to Triple-A.

Unfortunately one win can't undo the three losses they've already suffered to Chicago. It can't take a team that has lost the feel-good vibe that surrounded it in the first couple months of the season and leave them world beaters again. Five games ago I said the Red Sox needed to take a first step towards finding their rhythm again. They did, then another, then they fell flat on their damn faces again. Well, they need to start fresh, and if the upcoming Rangers series doesn't exactly promise fertile ground to extend any streak, the Sox can't choose their schedule, only what they do with it. They need a win today because you can't put together three without starting with a first, and because a loss would be the sort of disaster that takes a contained fire and leaves it spreading out of control.

First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.