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Red Sox at Orioles lineup: Jackie Bradley Jr. returns, Moreland moves up

Drew Pomeranz looks to repeat a wonderful first start against Baltimore in the series opener.

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
You know what would be cool? One of those months where he hits everything in sight.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Red Sox come into tonight’s game against Baltimore riding high after their best road win of the season, a taut affair in Toronto that Mookie Betts won with a bases-clearing double in the 10th inning. The win pushed the to 10-6, one game behind 10-4 Baltimore, who they will try to catch tonight (never too early!) with Drew Pomeranz on the hill. While it’s abundantly clear that Chris Sale is the best pitcher on the Red Sox, if not the American League, and Rick Porcello is still the second-best overall, Pomeranz certainly has the best non-Sale start of the season season against these same Orioles.

In his first start of the year, Pomeranz went six innings against Baltimore, allowing one earned run (it scored after he left the game) and striking out six batters. With the Sox’ non-Sale starters generally putting up bad crooked numbers across the board, Pomeranz’s gem stands out, and he might have to repeat the performance if Boston will have a chance to win.

The bats fell asleep in the last two games in Toronto, and with Jackie Bradley Jr. back in the lineup, hoping to provide a spark after returning from a productive rehab assignment after suffering a knee sprain. Lord knows he’s sparked the team before, and he usually provides the gasoline, too, during his searing, random hot streaks. (If gas is gonna get cheaper... whaddya say, Jackie?)

John Farrell isn’t counting on JBJ alone to lift the bats, though, as he’s shifted hot-hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland into the cleanup spot ahead of DH Hanley Ramirez, who will bat fifth. Xander Bogaerts sits after jamming his thumb sliding into second base on what should have been yesterday’s game-winning RBI. Marco Hernandez takes his place and bats ninth, while Christian Vazquez does the catching.

They’ll try their best against Dylan Bundy, who brings a nice 1.93 ERA into the game. As Matt Collins wrote in his series preview, if there’s a bright spot, it’s that most of his earned runs came against the Red Sox, but a good night with the slider could spell doom for Boston.. that is, unless Boston gets all the calls, a charge that wouldn’t be surprising coming from O’s manager Buck Showalter, the Sox’s Troll King, whom I recently appreciated. For whatever reason, it’s never just a series when these teams play anymore; there’s an edge to this rivalry that cuts deep, even in the division. Was the edge tonight? Judge for yourself. Here are the full lineups:

Game 17, April 21 at Baltimore

Lineup Spot Red Sox Orioles
Lineup Spot Red Sox Orioles
1 Dustin Pedroia, 2B Craig Gentry, LF
2 Andrew Benintendi, CF Adam Jones, CF
3 Mookie Betts, RF Manny Machado, 3B
4 Mitch Moreland, 1B Mark Trumbo, RF
5 Hanley Ramirez, DH Chris Davis, 1B
6 Jackie Bradley Jr. CF Welington Castillo, C
7 Pablo Sandoval, 3B Trey Mancini, DH
8 Christian Vazquez, C Jonathan Schoop, 2B
9 Marco Hernandez SS J.J. Hardy, SS
SP Drew Pomeranz, LHP Dylan Bundy, RHP