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Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Two tough losses in Anaheim have put the Boston Red Sox (54-36) in a 1-2 hole to start the West Coast road trip. Typically, a series against the Seattle Mariners (39-49) is a relief for the Sox. But for a team struggling at the plate facing one of the game’s best pitchers (if not the best), tonight is not anticipated to be a strong night.

Boston turns to Jon Lester, who returns to his home state, to get back on track as the Sox near the All-Star Break. Lester has seemingly returned to form, going seven innings in each of his last two starts with a 3.21 ERA. For the season, Lester is 8-4 with a 4.41 ERA and the Red Sox sure could use a Lester-esque start against the Mariners.

Here is the Red Sox lineup for Game 1 of 4 at Safeco Field in Seattle (First pitch – 10:10 pm EDT):

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

Lester, P

All-Star Felix Hernandez will be on the mound in front of King’s Court at Safeco. Hernandez is 8-4 with a 2.69 ERA, one of the best in baseball. He gave up two solo home runs against the Rangers in seven innings of work his last time out with seven strikeouts, two walks and seven hits.

Walking wounded
As you noticed, Jacoby Ellsbury is out of the lineup. He’s said to have a sore left wrist and is listed as day-to-day. Daniel Nava will play center field for the first time in his Major League career and bat in Ellsbury’s normal leadoff spot. Shane Victorino is also out, nursing a sore hamstring. That means the Red Sox outfield will consist of (from left to right): Mike Carp, Nava and Jonny Gomes. Carp returns to his old stomping grounds in Seattle to face his former team for the first time. Certainly not the outfield you had here on Opening Day, eh?

Lastly, Andrew Miller will have surgery on his left foot, which was revealed to have ligament damage. Miller is out for the season, which is a blow to the Red Sox bullpen who now only have one other left-hander (Craig Breslow) in the bullpen.

90 games in, 72 to go
Can you believe this season is 90 games gone? And the cherry on top so far, the Red Sox are in first place in the AL East by 4.5 games! Well, it’s time for another mini-season update. Here’s how the first 9 mini-seasons (10-game stretches) have played out:
1) 6-4
2) 7-3
3) 7-3
4) 3-7
5) 7-3
6) 6-4
7) 6-4
8) 5-5
9) 7-3

Only one losing stretch and one a .500. Certainly a reason why the Red Sox are 18 games above .500. Keep it up and they will find themselves in the postseason in October.

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

Like what you read? See more from Ben here.
As always, give me a shout on Twitter: @thebenwhitehead

Ben Whitehead 7/08/2013 08:51:00 PM Edit
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