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Red Sox vs. Angels lineups: Oh boy

The Red Sox face the reigning American League MVP this afternoon at Fenway.

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Los Angeles Angels
The guy who hits also pitches. It’s a thing.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani, the two-way sensation who won the American League MVP award in 2021 with 46 home runs and a 3.18 ERA, faces off against Rich Hill this afternoon as the Angels and Red Sox finish their three-game series with a getaway day matinee (1:35 p.m., NESN, MLBN out-of-network).

If there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that Ohtani hasn’t been quite as dominant in 2021 as he was in 2022, as his bat has been slow to warm up and his ERA sits at 4.19. The cloud to which that silver lining is attached, though, has rained on much of the Red Sox’s season, most recently during last night’s bullpen implosion. And also Ohtani’s underlying pitching stats this year are far better than last year’s. When it rains, it pours.

Also, it’s the extremely rare, only-for-Ohtani day that a team eschews the DH and lets their pitcher hit. But Mike Trout is out of the lineup, so at least the struggling Sox won’t see the best player in baseball. Just, like, one of the top 5.

Rich Hill will try to stem the tide for Boston. Enrique Hernández gets the day off, which means Jackie Bradley Jr. is in center field — maybe that particular sight for sore eyes can get things moving in the right direction? Please?

Game 26 vs. Angels

Lineup spot Angels Red Sox
Lineup spot Angels Red Sox
1 Taylor Ward, RF Trevor Story, 2B
2 David Fletcher, 2B Rafael Devers, 3B
3 Shohei Ohtani, P Xander Bogaerts, SS
4 Anthony Rendon, 3B J.D. Martinez, DH
5 Jared Walsh, 1B Alex Verdugo, LF
6 Max Stassi, C Franchy Cordero, RF
7 Jack Mayfield, LF Bobby Dalbec, 1B
8 Brandon Marsh, CF Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
9 Andrew Velazquez, SS Kevin Plawecki, C
SP Shohei Ohtani, RHP Rich Hill, LHP