Game 119: Red Sox at Royals - The Return of Will Middlebrooks
Ben Whitehead Contributing Writer
Welcome back, Will Middlebrooks.
The third baseman has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to join the Boston Red Sox in Kansas City. Middlebrooks is replacing Brandon Snyder, who has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. More on Middlebrooks later.
Right now, the Red Sox (70-48) are in need of a team ‘W.’ Boston has lost the first two games against the Royals (60-53) and three of the first five games of this 10-game road trip. Friday night’s loss meant the Royals took the season series, leading 4-1 with two games to play.
Felix Doubront toes the rubber in Game 3 tonight and aims to turn things around for the Sox. Doubront is 8-5 with a 3.56 ERA, having gone seven shutout innings in his last start against the D-backs. Like Jake Peavy yesterday, Doubront has a tough time on the road, with a 4.00 ERA this season (3.21 at home).
Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 7:10 pm EDT):
1. Ellsbury, CF 2. Victorino, RF 3. Pedroia, 2B 4. Ortiz, DH 5. Carp, LF 6. Napoli, 1B 7. Saltalamacchia, C 8. Drew, SS 9. Middlebrooks, 3B Doubront, P
The Royals send Jeremy Guthrie, his 12-7 record and 3.96 ERA to the mound. He is 4-0 in his last four starts, including a complete game shutout against the Twins this past week. More on Middlebrooks
The last time we saw Middlebrooks in a Boston uniform, he was batting .192 with nine home runs and 25 RBI. In his final seven games before being sent down, Middlebrooks went 4-for-29 with one home run and four RBI. In 45 games in Triple-A, Middlebrooks has hit .268 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI. He finished his run in Pawtucket with an eight-game hitting streak, during which he went 11-for-33 with two home runs. The Sox hope Middlebrooks has turned a corner and found his swing. The fill-ins at third haven’t been all that productive. Brock Holt is hitting .203 with 11 RBI in 19 games, while Snyder is batting .209 with two homers and seven RBI in 21 games.
Buchholz increases throwing program Clay Buchholz threw 40 pitches off a mound Friday in Kansas City. Afterward, he mentioned that he felt comfortable and threw all of his pitches, a positive sign if he’s feeling no ill-effects. Buchholz has not pitched in a game since June 8. He had a 9-0 record with a 1.71 ERA and was well on his way to being in Cy Young contention before he was hurt against the Angels. His return could sway manager John Farrell to move to a six-man rotation so as to provide rest to the starters down the final stretch, or to bump one of the starters to the bullpen. As of right now, that would likely be Ryan Dempster, who has come out of the pen in his career previously as a closer for the Cubs.
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