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Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The long home-stand (15 of 18 games at Fenway Park) got off to a shaky start with the Baltimore Orioles beating the Boston Red Sox 8-4 Friday night. Offensively, the Sox had a much better game than they have had recently, with every starter getting a hit. Unfortunately, John Lackey wasn't on point. For the second straight start, he allowed six runs on 10 hits - this time with four walks instead of four home runs, but it didn't matter. The Orioles got all they needed off him.

Felix Doubront will be on the mound for the Red Sox (7-10) in this afternoon's contest. Doubront went 6 2/3 innings in his most recent start against the Yankees, allowing three runs on seven hits. He was a hard-luck loser, making one mistake, a two-run home run to Carlos Beltran, and giving up a run on a double-play ball that was reversed by a replay challenge. John Farrell went berzerk and got tossed due to the overturn.

Doubront's only win of the season came against Baltimore in what was the rubber game of the opening series. He allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings. He has lost two straight since, however, so Doubront is looking to even his record and get the Red Sox back on track.

Here is today's Red Sox lineup (first pitch - 1:35 pm ET):

1) Sizemore, RF
2) Pedroia, 2B
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Carp, LF
6) Ross, C
7) Holt, 3B
8) Herrera, SS
9) Bradley Jr., CF

Doubront, P

The Orioles (8-7) will start Bud Norris, who is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts this season. Norris lost to the Tigers in his first start, giving up five runs in five innings. In his second start, he went seven innings and didn't allow a run in a no-decision against Toronto.

X gets a day off
For the first time this season, Xander Bogaerts is not in the starting lineup. This is a planned day off for the rookie in a day game following a night game following a travel trip that had the Sox return to Logan Airport at 3 AM. Bogaerts has reached safely in 10 of his last 15 plate appearances and raised his OBP from .351 to .417.

Creatures of habit
It's been a trying schedule so far for the Red Sox. No, the opponents haven't all been top of the division teams, but game times have varied to the extreme. After getting some normalcy in Chicago with three straight games starting at 7:10 pm local time, the Red Sox have five straight games with a different time each one. Last night began at 7:10, today is 1:35, tomorrow is 7:05, Monday (Patriots' Day) is 11:05 AM, and Tuesday against the Yankees is back to 7:10. For a group of ball players who can be superstitious at times, these schedules can alter routines. No excuses, though. The Red Sox need to find ways to win regardless.

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Ben Whitehead 4/19/2014 11:30:00 AM Edit
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