Game 70: Red Sox at Orioles - Lack-ing against the Os

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

The Red Sox are on the verge of falling out of the top spot in the AL East and losing their first series since May 20-22. John Lackey aims to stop the bleeding and keep Boston firmly on top of the crowded East division.

This afternoon’s game between the Boston Red Sox (41-28) and the Baltimore Orioles (39-29) could do one of two things. 1) It could pull the Orioles within a half-game of the first-place Sox and within a game of sweeping a four-game set and claiming first place from Boston. Or 2) It could put the Red Sox firmly ahead of their East foes and set up a chance for a series split. Lackey, who is 3-5 with a 3.14 ERA, will pitch for the first time since the (non-)incident in Tampa Bay with Matt Joyce and the Rays.

Here is the Sox lineup for today’s game (first pitch – 4:05 pm EDT):

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

Lackey, P

Freddy Garcia will take the hill for the Orioles. He is 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA.

Ortiz remains a constant
A certain nameless someone out there is surely still pondering over the idea of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and his use of PEDs. Alas, that subject won’t be discussed further here, but what will be discussed is how incredibly talented Big Papi remains. Ortiz leads the American League with 14 RBIs in the month of June and is tied for the most home runs (5) in the month. His batting average has dipped to .302, far from the over-.450 average he had last month. But the big man in the heart of the lineup has had his affect on this team being in first place as the summer months roll around.

Can’t be stopped
Jose Iglesias has made it clear to the Red Sox management that he is staying put in the Major Leagues. After going 2-for-4 Friday night, Iglesias is hitting .451 in 25 games this season and hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down. In the field, he makes nearly every play look routine and his glove and foot work is immaculate. Perhaps that’s why he remains in the lineup and forced Will Middlebrooks (.198 AVG) out. Of course, the Sox will say it’s to give WMB a day off because he’s recovering from his injury. We just aren’t stupid enough to believe that. After all, Boston did just trade away Yankee Killer Pedro Ciriaco, who had been the utility infielder. Guess who has taken over that role?

Life against Baltimore is for the Birds
It was noted last night by the Red Sox radio crew that Boston has struggled and struggled mightily against the Os lately. Since the (GASP!) September 2011 collapse, the Sox are just 8-23 against the Birds. Boston lost 7 of 8 that September, 12 of 18 last season and 4 of 5 so far this season. Buck Showalter has become a thorn in the side of Red Sox Nation and the Nation would like that to change, ASAP.

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

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