Game 83: Blue Jays at Red Sox - Welcome to Fenway, Diaz

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

So far, so good on this home-stand for the Boston Red Sox (49-33), who have won the first four games back at Fenway Park. The Sox have taken the first two games against the cooled-off Toronto Blue Jays (39-40) and look to take the series this afternoon with lefty Felix Doubront on the mound. He is 4-3 with a 4.33 ERA this season and has pitched very well in his last two outings. He went eight shutout innings against Tampa Bay two starts ago and five innings with just two earned runs against Detroit in his last start. Both ended with no-decisions, as the Sox couldn’t hold the lead late.

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

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

Doubront, P

The Jays counter with Esmil Rogers, who is 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA. He’s only started five games and pitched mostly out of the bullpen, striking out 32 batters in 54.2 innings.

Diaz called up
Jonathan Diaz has been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and will make his Major League Debut tonight, starting at third base. He is batting .242 for the PawSox this season with a .350 on-base percentage. Diaz was called up to replace Stephen Drew on the infield. Drew pulled his hamstring after hitting a double in his second at-bat in Friday’s game. Jose Iglesias moves over to his natural position, shortstop. The Sox have designated Clayton Mortensen for assignment in a corresponding move for Diaz.

Two-team race
The second half of the season has only just begun, but the AL East is sorting itself out. The top two teams in the division, the Red Sox and Orioles, are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Baltimore took down the Yankees with C.C. Sabathia on the mound Friday. If the Os win this weekend’s series, or even sweep the series, the Yankees could find themselves in a deep hole as we near the All-Star Break. Boston has been beating up on the division, with a combined 22-14 record against their East foes. The Sox have a winning record against everyone with the exception of the Orioles, against whom Boston is just 2-5. It’s still too early to tell and in baseball anything can happen, but the Sox and Orioles may be battling it out come September for the East crown and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

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

Like what you read? See more from Ben here.
As always, give me a shout on Twitter: @thebenwhitehead