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Game 120: Red Sox at Orioles

Heroes or zeros

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The tagline for Heroes was “save the cheerleader, save the world.” For the Red Sox now it’s “win the series, save the season.” This team is confounding and just won’t quit or take off. Instead they exist in a place to neither know victory nor defeat.

The Red Sox send Kutter Crawford out against the Baltimore Orioles tonight. Since July 4th Crawford has tossed at least five innings every time out and allowed more than three runs just once. He’s handled the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, and Astros. His lone blowup of this stretch was against the Kansas City Royals. You can’t win them all. Kutter Crawford has shown he belongs in a major league rotation, which is no small feat. He enters tonight with an ERA of 4.18 against a FIP of 3.88.

Boston is just 4-5 against Baltimore this season but won the last series (the one game series, yeah, I know) against the Birds and sitting 2.5 games behind the fourth place team in the AL East, can help themselves by winning. Or even better (whispers) sweeping. After an 8-19 July, the Sox are 8-8 so far in August. They had a 14-14 May. And of course a crazy 20-6 June. The massive amount of talent that went on the IL in July can’t be ignored. Ultimately it may be too much to overcome, but for now, we can simply watch and see what happens.

J.D. Martinez is getting a day off and maybe it’ll help clear his head. He doesn’t have a home run in August. Rafael Devers hasn’t been the same since returning from the IL going just .155/.231/.362. He’s the best player on this team and until he returns to form it’s hard to build a lineup. Although Alex Verdugo (.352/.444/.556 this month) and Christian Arroyo (.316/.339/.439) are trying.

Jordan Lyles is a journeyman. Don’t let his 4.48 ERA fool you - there’s a lot of daylight between him and Crawford. He’s leading the league in hits allowed (150 in 134.2 innings) and has a WHIP of 1.44. This is a guy to exploit. Get on base, hit the ball, score runs. Take the first game and then you only need one of the next two.

Keep taking two out of three and things look good.

Game 120: Red Sox at Orioles

Lineup spot Red Sox Orioles
Lineup spot Red Sox Orioles
1 Tommy Pham, LF Cedric Mullins, CF
2 Alex Verdugo, RF Adley Rutschman, C
3 Xander Bogaerts, SS Anthony Santandar, DH
4 Rafael Devers, 3B Ryan Mountcastle, 1B
5 Christian Arroyo, 2B Kyle Stowers, RF
6 Eric Hosmer, 1B Austin Hays, LF
7 Rob Refsnyder, DH Rougned Odor, 2B
8 Reese McGuire, C Ramon Urias, 3B
9 Enrique Hernandez, CF Jorge Mateo, SS
SP Kutter Crawford, RHP Jordan Lyles, RHP