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Red Sox vs. Rays lineup: E-Rod looks for Boston’s eighth win in a row

The injury-plagued but talented lefty makes his season debut today. Jackie Bradley Jr. sits.

MLB: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox
Welcome him back!
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox try for their eighth straight win behind lefty Eduardo Rodriguez when they face ‘Johnny Wholestaff’ and the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon at Fenway Park (1:05 p.m., NESN).

About today’s game: The tantalizing, talented E-Rod steps to the mound at full health for the first time in forever, and his first appearance at all since the dregs of last year. Still only 25 years old, he could be primed for a much-needed big season, writes Matt. A day after going to the bullpen early and often, the Rays go for another ‘bullpen day’ start, with righty Andrew Kittredge (0-2, 3.18 ERA), who took the loss in Thursday’s extra-inning affair, getting the nod.

Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the day off, with Hanley Ramirez sliding to DH, Mitch Moreland starting at first base and Andrew Benintendi moving to center field. Christian Vazquez is also back behind the plate in place of yesterday’s starter Sandy Leon.

About yesterday’s game: The bats finally woke up! Facing a 2-0 deficit before they got a turn to bat, the Sox pounded starter Jake Faria and pretty much everyone else Tampa Bay threw at them on their way to a 10-3 win (read the recap here). Xander Bogaerts hit a grand slam and two-run double, and J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers added homers as Rick Porcello overcame the early damage to pitch wondefurlly into the eighth inning.

Forecast: We’ve progressed from “sunny in the low 40s” to “sunny in the mid 40s.” Baby steps.

A good but maybe overstated tweet from yesterday from a nonetheless well-named and better-handled Xander fan account:


Game 9 vs. Rays

Lineup Spot Rays Red Sox
Lineup Spot Rays Red Sox
1 Matt Duffy, 3B Mookie Betts, RF
2 Kevin Kiermaier, CF Andrew Benintendi, CF
3 Carlos Gomez, RF Hanley Ramirez, DH
4 C.J. Cron, DH J.D. Martinez, LF
5 Daniel Robertson, 2B Xander Bogaerts, SS
6 Brad Miller, 1B Mitch Moreland, 1B
7 Jesus Sucre, C Eduardo Nunez, 2B
8 Adeiny Hechavarria, SS Rafael Devers, 3B
9 Rob Refsnyder, LF Christian Vazquez, C
SP Andrew Kittredge, RHP Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP