It was a long climb back to even par, but the Boston Red Sox have found their way back to .500 for the first time since April 4 when they were 2-2. Now, a six-game road trip begins and presents the opportunity for the Red Sox to assert themselves to the front of the AL East.
Sitting just two games back of first, the Sox head west to face the Texas Rangers beginning tonight. Starter Clay Buchholz, who is from Texas, has won back-to-back games and is showing more of his early 2013 self. Buchholz is 2-2 with a 5.62 ERA, but has only allowed four earned runs over 13 1/3 innings in his two wins - at Toronto and at home against Oakland. Against Texas, however, Buchholz is 1-3 with a 3.30 ERA in his career, and 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Here is the Red Sox (17-17) lineup for tonight's game (first pitch - 8:05 pm ET):
1) Pedroia, 2B
2) Victorino, RF
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Sizemore, LF
6) Bogaerts, SS
7) Pierzynsi, C
8) Middlebrooks, 3B
9) Bradley Jr., CF
Yu Darvish will be on the mound for the Rangers. Darvish is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA in his third season with Texas. He held the Angels to three runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings to pick up a win in his most recent start. He had gone four starts between that without a win (0-1). Darvish is 0-1 with 5.93 ERA in two career starts against Boston.
This and that
Texas native Will Middlebrooks has a .346 batting average in nine career games at Globe Life Park ... Dustin Pedroia reached 300 doubles in his 1,048th game, making him the sixth-fastest player to reach that mark in the last 100 years. He also became the fastest modern Major Leaguer to reach 300 doubles and 100 stolen bases ... The Red Sox won back-to-back one-run games against Cincinnati. Boston was 3-8 in one-run games prior to winning those two games, and is tied with the Angels for the most losses in the AL in that category.
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