There's no question that Jon Lester and John Lackey are currently the top two pitchers in the Boston Red Sox rotation. Even though Lester is 0-2 on the young season, he has performed at a high level and been the unlucky victim of a lack of run support. In the past, that role was filled by Lackey, but the resurgent righty has been nothing short of outstanding in his first two appearances.
Lackey got the Sox off the schneid with a strong performance in Monday's 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers. The Red Sox (3-4) took a 1-0 lead in the three-game series and look to even their season record tonight. The Rangers (3-4) have also struggled out of the gate and look to avoid dropping their second series in a row.
On the hill for the Sox is Felix Doubront. The southpaw allowed three earned runs and struck out four with one walk in 5 1/3 innings, picking up a win against the Orioles. He's become an integral piece to the rotation in that he adds a second left-hander along with Lester and many think he has yet to reach his ceiling. If he continues to grow, Doubront could be headed toward the top of the rotation. But that's a long way down the road. For now, he's fitting in nicely in the middle of the rotation and needs to show some consistency and stamina.
Here's the Red Sox lineup for tonight's game (first pitch - 6:10 pm ET):
1) Gomes, LF
2) Pedroia, 2B
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Sizemore, CF
6) Bogaerts, SS
7) Pierzynski, C
8) Roberts, 3B
9) Bradley Jr., RF
The Sox will face Rangers' left-hander Martin Perez. He struck out seven in 5 2/3 against the Phillies, but did not factor in the decision. Perez allowed just two runs and didn't walk a batter.
Roberts makes debut
Newly-acquired Ryan Roberts is batting eighth and playing third in his Red Sox debut tonight. He was signed as a free agent just a day ago. Many are speculating this could mean Will Middlebrooks' injury is worse than feared. Or that the Sox don't have much faith in Brock Holt, who was called up but then sent right back to Pawtucket after the Roberts signing.
Started from the bottom
The Red Sox 5-9 hitters combined for 10 of Boston's 14 hits Monday. Jackie Bradley Jr. and A.J. Pierzynski had three hits apiece and Grady Sizemore notched two. All five runs were scored by the bottom of the order. Mike Napoli, the Sox. No. 4 hitter, also had three hits, meaning 1-3 produced just one hit - a Daniel Nava RBI single in the eighth inning.
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