Welcome home, Red Sox.
The American League-leading Boston Red Sox (45-33) return to Fenway Park for nine-game home-stand and get it kicked off with an interleague matchup against the Colorado Rockies (39-38). The Sox and Rox clash at Fenway for the first time since the 2007 World Series, when the Red Sox swept the first two games on their way to a complete series sweep for their second World Championship in the 21st Century.
The first of two games this go-round will feature Ryan Dempster going for the Red Sox. He is 4-8 with a 4.28 ERA this season and has been prone to giving up the long ball. He’s also been on the wrong end of run-production. Over the last five starts (all quality starts), Dempster is 2-3. In his two wins, the Sox have scored 27 runs. In the three losses, Boston has scored a total of three.
Here is the lineup that Dempster hopes will be of the high-octane variety (first pitch – 7:10 pm EDT):
1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Nava, LF
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Drew, SS
9. Iglesias, 3B
Juan Nicasio is the Rockies starter in the opener. Nicasio is 4-3 with a 4.78 ERA this season.
Middlebrooks demoted, Ross to 60-Day DL
Will Middlebrooks received word today that he would be headed to Triple-A Pawtucket to work on his hitting. The Sox haven’t been thrilled with his production (.192 AVG, nine HR, 25 RBI). He began the season in the five- and six-hole, and has since fallen to bottom third of the order. … In other news, Sox catcher David Ross was moved to the 60-day disabled list and Boston purchased the contract of Brandon Snyder from Pawtucket.
Although Boston hasn’t been at its best recently, the Red Sox are still in first in the AL East and are percentage points behind Texas for the best record in the AL. The Sox are 2-4 against the Rangers, but 1-3 against Detroit (AL Central leader). Boston maintains a 2.5-game lead over the Yankees and Orioles, despite having a 25-25 record since starting 20-8. The AL East is considered the best division in baseball right now, as every team is above .500, the only division to be able to claim that.
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