Game 52: Phillies at Red Sox - Freedom Rings

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Anybody have the Boston Red Sox (31-20) in first place in the AL East on Memorial Day? No? Well, go check the standings and see it for yourself. A come from behind walk-off win against the Indians on Sunday and a subsequent Yankee loss propelled the Sox into a virtual tie for first. New York is just percentage points ahead of Boston, but a tie is a tie. Now, the Sox turn their focus to Interleague Play as they get set for a two-game home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Phillies (24-26). Clay Buchholz was scratched last night with discomfort in his shoulder after sleeping awkwardly, he said. Insert Alfredo Aceves (1-1, 8.20 ERA) into the rotation and Red Sox Nation will begin assuming that Buch will come back to the rotation just in time for the, you guessed it, Yankee series this weekend.

Here is how the Sox lineup will look tonight (first pitch – 7:10 pm EDT):

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

Aceves, P

Rookie right-hander Tyler Cloyd will make his first Fenway Park appearance. Cloyd is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts this season. He has allowed two runs in each of his starts.

He needed that
Jacoby Ellsbury hasn’t gotten off to the start many would have liked, especially considering it’s a contract year for a Scott Boras client. But Sunday’s walk-off line drive double that plated the tying and winning runs had to have been a huge weight lifted off Ellsbury’s shoulders. The center fielder is batting .249 with one home run and a .319 OBP. It’s about time he starts making his case on the field that the Sox should re-sign him to a lucrative contract. It certainly appears that his 2011 season (32 HRs, 105 RBIs, .321 AVG) was a fluke season. Perhaps the big hit gets him going for the dog days of summer.

Former Phillie Shane Victorino will get to meet and greet with a few of his former teammates this evening. The Flyin’ Hawaiian spent 2005-2012 in Philadelphia and was a huge part of the 2008 World Championship team. He was traded to the Dodgers last July and signed with the Red Sox in the offseason. Victorino expressed his excitement on Twitter this afternoon:

Shipping up to Boston?
There's another player who will be reuniting with a few former 'mates. Jonathan Papelbon comes back to Fenway for the first time since leaving the Red Sox after the 2011 season to play in Philadelphia. If the Phils get a chance to bring in Papelbon for a save or otherwise, I wonder if the Red Sox music team will play Pap's old intro song, "Shipping up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys. Nah.

Thank you, Military
Memorial Day is a day we all think of as the unofficial kickoff to summer: a day for grilling out, drinking adult beverages and enjoying the oncoming warm weather. But let’s not forget the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who have fought or are still fighting for our freedom. At tonight’s game there will be many tributes to the Armed Forces. Whether you’re at the park or not, please remember to say, “Thank you,” if you see someone in uniform. Victorino also had this to say to our military personnel:

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

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