Game 28: Red Sox at Blue Jays - Lineups and more

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Boston’s boomsticks were out Wednesday night and provided the Red Sox (19-8) an opportunity to get their seventh series win in nine tries to start 2013. Mike Napoli crushed two home runs (the Sox had five total) and Clay Buchholz (6-0, 1.01 ERA) became the first pitcher in MLB to reach six wins this season, as the Sox pounded the Blue Jays 10-1, setting up the rubber game tonight.

Here’s the lineup John Farrell will use to go for his second series win in Toronto as Boston’s manager (first pitch - 7:07 pm):
John Farrell looks to win his second series in Toronto
as manager of the Red Sox.

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Gomes, LF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Napoli, DH
5. Nava, RF
6. Middlebrooks, 3B
7. Carp, 1B
8. Ross, C
9. Drew, SS

Dempster, P

The Blue Jays (10-18) will send LHP J.A. Happ (2-1, 3.86 ERA) to the mound. Happ earned the win against Boston in early April, going 5.1 IP with six strikeouts, three walks and gave up just one hit in a 5-0 Blue Jay victory.

Lineup notes: David Ortiz gets a regular day off (although I’m not sure why, the Red Sox just had an off day before starting this series). Reports are that his heels still aren't 100% so taking time off will help keep him healthy for the long haul … Will Middlebrooks is slotted ahead of Mike Carp in the lineup. WMB is batting .206, while Carp is hitting .480. Farrell's logic here is putting a bunch of RH bats in a row to face Happ … David Ross gets his second consecutive start behind the dish, also likely due to the lefty on the hill for Toronto for the second straight day.

Big Papi at 22 and counting…
Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a double in the sixth. The streak dates back to July 2, 2012. Ortiz is now hitting .487 after a sub-par 1-for-3 night. Of course, he’s out of the lineup tonight, presumably available to pinch hit, if needed.

Hacksaw goes off
The damage last night, however, was done by the guy behind Big Papi in the batting order. Mike Napoli has been everything and whole lot more the Red Sox wanted when they signed the former catcher. After an 0-for-4 night with four Ks, Napoli busted out with a huge game. According to ESPN’s home run tracker, Napoli’s two home runs last night traveled 472 and 467 feet. I’ll do the math for you: That’s 939 total feet, or longer than three football fields. Napoli now has six home runs and 31 RBIs through the first 27 games. The 31 RBIs lead the league, as does his 21 extra-base hits.

Following the game, Dustin Pedroia (@15lasershow) took to Twitter to find Napoli (@mikenapoli25) a new nickname. See the awesomeness unfold below:

Dempster: The strikeout machine
Ryan Dempster didn’t earn his first win of the season until his last start. But Dempster has been impressive in his new division thus far. He has 43 strikeouts in 30 IP, a 12.9 K/9 ratio. Some thought Dempster would struggle in the AL East, but he’s holding his own with a 3.30 ERA despite just a 1-2 record.

Sad to head south
As a team, the Red Sox have hit 31 home runs this season. Over half of them have come inside the Rogers Centre. Boston has 16 home runs in Toronto in five games (eight in this series). In comparison, the Sox have hit 14 home runs at Fenway Park. In 16 games. Stephen Drew knocked his first homer in last night’s game. A night earlier, Carp and Jonny Gomes did the same. Carp then got his second of the season in a pinch-hit role in the 9th inning last night. Can Boston just play all of its home games in Toronto? And against Blue Jays pitching? Unfortunately, the Red Sox only visit here once more this season, a three-game set in August.

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

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