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Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Boston Red Sox left early this morning for a cross-country flight to San Francisco where they begin a six-game West Coast trip against the Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Sox have lost 7 of their last 10 games and lead the AL East by just a game over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tonight, Jon Lester will try to end their woes when he gets the ball for the opener at AT&T Park. Lester has allowed just three earned runs in his last two starts (13.1 IP), but the Red Sox are 0-2 in those games. He took the loss against the Royals two starts ago and Boston lost 4-3 in extra innings against the Blue Jays his last time out. Lester is 10-7 with a 4.31 ERA this year. In San Francisco, Lester has the advantage of facing a not-so-powerful lineup and at a ball park that has plenty of space in the outfield for speedy guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino to track down fly balls.

If the Red Sox (73-53) are going to make a run at the World Series, it needs to begin tonight against the Giants (55-68), who are the defending World Champions.

Here is the lineup tonight for the Red Sox (first pitch – 10:15 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, 1B
5. Saltalamacchia, C
6. Nava, LF
7. Drew, SS
8. Middlebrooks, 3B
9. Lester, P

Tim Lincecum, formerly known as “The Freak,” gets the starts for the Giants. He is 6-12 with a 4.38 ERA, but threw a no-hitter against San Diego just before the All-Star Break. However, in his last start, Lincecum gave up six earned runs in six innings to the Nationals.

The X-Man is here
As reported earlier, the Red Sox top prospect Xander Bogaerts has been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and is in San Francisco. Bogaerts began the year in Double-A Portland and has batted a combined .297/.388/.477 with 15 home runs and 67 RBI this year. The Sox sent Brock Holt back to the Paw Sox and it is expected that Bogaerts will make his debut at shortstop sometime this series. Stephen Drew is 3 for his last 24 and has played 27 straight games, tonight being his 28th.

Slumping Sox
The Red Sox lost their third straight series when they fell to the Yankees, 9-6, Sunday night. They have only lost three straight series one other time this year, from May 3-12. Boston had a four-game lead over the Rays that has dwindled back to one.

Stopping the losing streak
Boston is the only team in Major League Baseball yet to lose four straight games. The Sox had lost three straight before winning Saturday. The only other team in club history to go a whole season without losing four-in-a-row was the 1903 squad. The 2005 St. Louis Cardinals are the last MLB team to go an entire year without a four-game skid, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

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

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Ben Whitehead 8/19/2013 08:00:00 PM Edit
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