Well, damned if this one doesn't feel like a bit of a punt.
|BOSTON RED SOX||TEXAS RANGERS|
|Mookie Betts, RF||Shin-Soo Choo, RF|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Ian Desmond, CF|
|Xander Bogaerts, SS||Nomar Mazara, LF|
|Hanley Ramirez, 1B||Adrian Beltre, 3B|
|Jackie Bradley Jr., CF||Prince Fielder, DH|
|Bryce Brentz, DF||Rougned Odor, 2B|
|Travis Shaw, 3B||Elvis Andrus, SS|
|Sandy Leon, C||Mitch Moreland, 1B|
|Ryan LaMarre, LF||Bryan Holaday, C|
|Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz||Starting Pitcher -- Martin Perez|
That's certainly the worst the Red Sox lineup has looked in a long, long while. And I have a theory as to why. I very much believe that this is more or less a punt. That the Sox came into this series expecting to be without Ortiz for one game, figured they had a pretty good chance of taking the first two, and decided that they'd group the bad together with this Brentz - LaMarre lineup coming behind Buchholz.
If the Red Sox manage to take that game? Hey, fantastic! If the Red Sox lose that game? No big deal so long as they've taken the Wright and Price starts.
Small problem: they did not. They barely overcame Price's disaster and then were crushed behind Wright. And now they're staring another series loss in the face barring something of a miracle, and it kind of feels like they've used up their allotment of divine intervention after Friday.
So while it would certainly be nice to hope for the best, at this point it feels hard not to expect the worst from this lineup and this pitcher. If Clay Buchholz could build some on his last start and the Sox can steal this one, it'd be huge. It's just hard to really picture that happening.
First pitch is at 3:05 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.