Game 23: Yankees at Red Sox - Boston hopes to continue success against
Between Jacoby Ellsbury's return to Fenway Park playing for the New York Yankees to Michael Pineda's pine tar-gate Part 2, the drama unfolding on the field appears to be more of a Broadway show than a baseball game. Who knows what's in store for tonight's series finale, but the Boston Red Sox hope all the drama ends with a victory tonight and for the series.
With Felix Doubront on the mound, Red Sox Nation will be holding its collective breath. Doubront has been one of the more inconsistent pitchers over the past two seasons for Boston. That trend holds true this season. Overall, Doubront is 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA with 15 strikeouts and nine walks.
He began the season with a win over Baltimore with three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. In his next outing, Doubront allowed five runs and didn't make it out of the third inning in a loss to Texas. He bounced back with a solid outing in the Bronx, but was saddled with a loss, then pitched masterfully in a no-decision against the Orioles. Two starts ago against the Yankees, Doubront allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He'll look to duplicate that outing tonight and provide the Sox a chance to earn a series win against their rivals.
Here is the Red Sox (10-12) lineup tonight (first pitch - 7:10 pm ET):
1) Pedroia, 2B
2) Victorino, RF 3) Ortiz, DH 4) Napoli, 1B 5) Gomes, LF 6) Bogaerts, SS 7) Holt, 3B 8) Ross, C 9) Bradley Jr., CF Doubront, P
On the mound for New York (12-9) is C.C. Sabathia, who is 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA this season. Sabathia pitched in the first series against Boston, picking up a loss while allowing four runs on six hits in seven innings. He did strike out nine and walked only two, but a three-run home run by former teammate Grady Sizemore did the damage. Lifetime against Boston, Sabathia is 10-12 with a 4.74 ERA.
Welcome back, Shane Victorino. After going just 1-for-11 in three rehab games with Pawtucket, the Flyin' Hawaiian will make his season debut. Many believe Victorino and Dustin Pedroia will anchor the top two spots in the lineup and provide the spark at the top the Sox have been missing so far.
Napoli the new Yankee killer?
Since coming to Boston prior to the 2013 season, Mike Napoli has ripped apart Yankee pitching. He's hitting 29-for-78 (.372 AVG) with nine home runs and 23 RBI against New York in 22 games. In the two games this series, he's 5-for-9 with two doubles, a homer and two RBI. Additionally, Napoli has reached base a career-high 18 straight games.
Like what you read? See more from Ben here.
Have a question or comment for Ben? Give him a shout on Twitter: @thebenwhitehead