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Game 19: Twins at Red Sox

Beyond .500 again?

Minnesota Twins (4) Vs. Boston Red Sox (5) at Fenway Park (10 Innings) Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Back at zero. Last season it was all about getting to .500 and building a winning record from there. Of course, the wheels fell off shortly after building that temporary cushion. Tonight is part of the same journey though: win today and you’re back in the black. Lose today and it’s back to a losing record. The Red Sox enter tonight a game and a half behind the New York Yankees for fourth place in the AL East. And there are teams just as good as the Minnesota Twins in every upcoming series for a month.

In Corey Kluber, the Sox are looking to find a veteran reclamation project who can still shut down some good lineups when he’s healthy but probably in limited visibility at the back end of the rotation. Like Chris Sale before him, it’s been a rough start to 2023. Two poor outings sandwiching one better appearance. The good news? Over his last two starts he’s walked just two while striking out nine. Granted that’s only 9.2 innings, but it’s still early going and if he’s getting his command back that’s a path to success.

Yu Chang was added to the paternity list so Kiké Hernández is back at shortstop giving the speedy Jarren Duran a night in left field.

At second base is a major league debut: Emmanuel Valdez. The #15 prospect in the system accoridng too our friends at SoxProspects, Valdez has been slashing .179/.289/.333 this season at Triple A Worcester. Valdez was, appropriately enough, acquired from the Houston Astros for currently-visiting catcher Christian Vázquez. He’s described with the “Ceiling of a bat-first utility player. Makes hard contact and has a decent approach against right-handed pitchers, but struggles against lefties.” And so his debut does in fact come against a righty in the Twins’ Joe Ryan.

How can you not smile at the mind of Devers?

The lineup is notably missing Masataka Yoshida who is receiving a day off as they continue to monitor that hamstring pull from last week.

Game 19: Twins at Red Sox

Lineup spot Twins Red Sox
Lineup spot Twins Red Sox
1 Max Kepler, RF Alex Verdugo, RF
2 Carlos Correa, SS Raimel Tapia, CF
3 Byron Buxton, DH Justin Turner, DH
4 Trevor Larnach, LF Rafael Devers, 3B
5 Eduardo Julien, 2B Kiké Hernández, SS
6 Juan Miranda, 3B Reese McGuire, C
7 Joey Gallo, 1B Triston Casas, 1B
8 Ryan Jeffers, C Jarren Duran, LF
9 Michael Taylor, CF Emmanuel Valdez, 2B
SP Joe Ryan, RHP Corey Kluber, RHP

First pitch is at 7:10 PM ET on WEEI and NESN+.