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Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

What has been an incredible season up to this point may boil down to what happens tonight. Fenway Park is the site once again of a crucial game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox are owners of the best record in the American League at 59-40, but a series loss to the Yankees (52-45) could be devastating to a team trying to complete the 180-degree turnaround from last year. Boston can ill-afford to lose two games at home to a team in fourth-place in the AL East with Tampa Bay breathing down its neck at one game back (heading into tonight's game) and winners of 20 of their last 24.

Jon Lester was scratched for tonight’s start and Ryan Dempster has been slotted to take his place in the rubber game of this series to open the unofficial second half of the season. Dempster is just 5-8 with a 4.23 ERA this season and went just 3.1 innings allowing seven runs (four earned) in his last start against Seattle before the break.

Here is the Red Sox lineup for tonight on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball (first pitch – 8:05 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Drew, SS
9. Iglesias, 3B

Dempster, P

The Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia tries to rebound from a disappointing outing in his last start. Sabathia went four innings and gave up eight runs (three earned) on eight hits against the Royals. He is 9-8 with a 4.07 ERA on the year.

Triple-digits
Today marks Game 100 of the Red Sox season. At 59-40, the Sox have the most wins in MLB and are well ahead of any preseason prognostication with a chance to finish the season with one of the best records in baseball and possibly club history. Just 63 games remain between Boston and a postseason berth. The next two series are extremely important, as the Sox host second-place Tampa for four games and travel to Baltimore (3.5 games back) for three more. A lot can change between now and October, but one thing remains certain: Boston is in control of its own fate.

Sox need heart (of lineup)
The heart of the Red Sox lineup, including Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, has yet to drive in any runs this series. Boston’s RBIs have come from elsewhere in the lineup, which we touched on yesterday proving the balance of the lineup is tremendous. However, the big boppers need to produce tonight against Sabathia if Boston wants to take the series and seize momentum heading into the series with Tampa.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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Ben Whitehead 7/21/2013 06:00:00 PM Edit
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