Red Sox Complete Regular Season Tonight, Will They Have More Tomorrow

If the Red Sox and Rays both win or if they both lose their will be a game in Tampa tomorrow. If one of them wins and the other loses the winner will advance to the playoffs with the loser going home. The message to the Red Sox is pretty clear, win. And they go with Jon Lester tonight who despite recent outings still gives the team the best chance to win. Lester is going on 3 days rest for the 2nd time of his career but he only had 50 pitches on Saturday so the 3 days rest might not be a massive issue. The bigger issue is his recent 3 starts where he was shelled in 2 of them and mediocre in another. However the Orioles have been the answer for Lester. He has never lost to them in his career with a perfect 14 and 0 record with an ERA under 3. The Orioles will pitch Alfredo Simon who has a sub par 4.85 ERA but was impressive in his last outing against Detroit allowing just 3 runs over 8 innings. Tonight the Red Sox line up will consist of last night’s hero Ryan Lavarnway again at the catcher position. This could be injury reason or riding a hot bat regardless Lavarnway will get another chance tonight.

  1. Ellsbury CF
  2. Pedroia 2B
  3. Ortiz DH
  4. Gonzalez 1B
  5. Lavarnway C
  6. Drew RF
  7. Scutaro SS
  8. Crawford LF
  9. Aviles 3B

Lester (3.49 ERA) vs Simon (4.85 ERA)

Can Red Sox Turn It Around Before It’s Too Late

The Red Sox are 6 and 19 in September with 2 games left and the Rays finally caught them last night in the wild card chase. The Red Sox still technically control their own destiny but it would now require a 163rd game which is looking more and more likely. But before we get to that the Red Sox need to win tonight. They will turn to ex Oriole Erik Bedard tonight in desperate need of a good start. Bedard had a short outing last week failing to get out of the 3rd but in fairness to him he threw 23 pitches extra pitches after Josh Reddick failed to make a routine play in right field. Bedard can’t let tonight’s game get away from the team. The Orioles turn to Zack Britton who has been pretty good for the Orioles this year but he had a rough outing last time against Detroit. The line up against Britton includes Crawford back in the 8 hole. And Ortiz moves up to the 3rd hole with Lowrie moving into the clean up spot. The fact remains though that Boston is 1 and 4 in the last week against Baltimore. That is simply not good enough to make the playoffs so the Red Sox better hope they can at least get that mark to 3 and 4 otherwise they will be watching October from home.

  1. Ellsbury CF
  2. Pedroia 2B
  3. Ortiz DH
  4. Lowrie 3B
  5. Gonzalez 1B
  6. Lavarnway C
  7. McDonald RF
  8. Crawford LF
  9. Scutaro SS

Bedard (3.50 ERA) vs Britton (4.44 ERA)

Sox Face Yanks In Desperate Need Of Wins

It has come to this. 6 games to go and a magic number of 5 the Red Sox need to win and need to start winning now. Luckily the Red Sox will throw Jon Lester tonight. And with Wakefield and Lackey starting the other 2 games in the Bronx this weekend the Red Sox badly need this one or will be staring down a potential sweep. The Red Sox miraculously still control their own destiny despite a 5 and 16 this month. As for the game tonight Lester needs to step up. Lester has lost back to back games against the Rays which if he had won one of them it would greatly change the current situation. Lester has a chance to redeem himself tonight. His opponent will be Freddy Garcia who is making a case to be the Yankees number 2 starter in the playoffs. The Yankees will also be using a full strength line up tonight. This has been a topic up for debate since the Yankees have clinched the division but at least for tonight they will go all out. Regardless of everything else one thing is for sure, this is the most important game of the year for the Red Sox and Lester. It is a game they absolutely can not afford to lose.

  1. Ellsbury CF
  2. Pedroia 2B
  3. Gonzalez 1B
  4. Ortiz DH
  5. Aviles 3B
  6. Crawford LF
  7. Scutaro SS
  8. Salty C
  9. Reddick RF

Lester (3.15 ERA) vs Garcia (3.77 ERA)

Sox Look To Lower Magic Number

6. That is all that matters. Any combination of 6 Red Sox wins or Ray losses will get Boston in despite how bad the September has been. Boston has a chance to lower it to 5 tonight against the Baltimore Orioles when Josh Beckett takes the mound. Josh Beckett is the only starter to win a game in September that the Red Sox have not scored double digit runs. In fairness Lester shut out the Blue Jays 14 to 0 but the reality is Boston has not received good enough pitching to win throughout September. For one night though the Red Sox don’t have to worry about sending a mediocre pitcher to the mound. They get to send Beckett who has won 13 games with an ERA of 2 and a half. The Orioles send Tommy Hunter to the mound tonight who is very inexperienced but has pitched into the 7th inning of his last 3 starts so this game to just split with Baltimore is no slam dunk. Overall Boston has taken just 3 of 9 in the final home stand of the season. An unusual line up change will be Pedroia in the 5 hole tonight. This is likely due to the effect that Boston hit 4 lefties in a row last night in the 3 through 6 holes.

  1. Ellsbury CF
  2. Aviles 3B
  3. Gonzalez 1B
  4. Ortiz DH
  5. Pedroia 2B
  6. Reddick RF
  7. Crawford LF
  8. Scutaro SS
  9. Varitek C

Beckett (2.50 ERA) vs Hunter (4.81 ERA)

Sox Look To Earn Split Of Double Header

If the Red Sox lose tonight they will have no where left to hide. A loss tonight ties Tampa and Boston in the loss column which means it would be a final 8 day free for all with both teams controlling their own destiny. The Red Sox would like to remain the team in control of their own destiny at least until tomorrow. But to do that they will need the ever inconsistent John Lackey to be on his game tonight. The Red Sox fortunately will face a starter with an ERA worse than Lackey (yes that starting pitcher does exist) in Brian Matsusz who couldn’t make it out of the 2nd inning in his last start. He has a record of 1 and 7 and if the Red Sox let him double his win total tonight then it will be full out panic. However the Red Sox will have to do it without Youkilis and Crawford in the line up. Youkilis has not played since Thursday with the obvious ongoing injuries. Crawford however was benched yesterday and will miss both games of the double header today with a tweaked neck. Not the way the Red Sox want to be looking in must win games.

  1. Ellsbury CF
  2. Scutaro SS
  3. Gonzalez 1B
  4. Pedroia 2B
  5. Ortiz DH
  6. Lowrie 3B
  7. Jackson LF
  8. Varitek C
  9. McDonald RF

Lackey (6.19 ERA) vs Matsusz (9.84 ERA)

Sox Welcome O’s To Town In Desperate Need Of Wins

Up 2 games with 10 to go. That is all that matters right now for Red Sox fans. Fortunately the Red Sox welcome to the Orioles to town and Tampa goes to New York. So on paper the Red Sox are in good shape to create a little more distant. But as Red Sox fans have learned this September that nothing on paper means anything. You have to play the games on the field.  There will be 2 games played on the field at Fenway today as the Red Sox begin a 4 game series with the Orioles. The pitchers for the first half include Wailand for the Sox and Guthrie for the O’s. The Sox will look to hit the 17 game loser hard this afternoon and give the youngster Weiland plenty of run support. Weiland pitched pretty well against Tampa. 4 of the runs should have been unearned given if Scutaro had made the play where a shattered bat flew at him it would have wiped 4 runs off the board. Though that aside it doesn’t matter anymore, what the Sox need now is wins and they need them desperately. A couple of other notes include that Youk is not in the line up this afternoon but expected to be in tonight. Also Erik Bedard will return tomorrow and Josh Beckett will get Wednesday’s game. Beckett in theory could also pitch next Monday if necessary and still be at full rest for game 2 of the ALDS. Though it is not official rumors have been coming out that Lester will get game 1 for the Sox.

  1. Ellsbury CF
  2. Pedroia 2B
  3. Gonzalez 1B
  4. Ortiz DH
  5. Reddick RF
  6. Crawford LF
  7. Scutaro SS
  8. Salty C
  9. Aviles 3B

Weiland (7.58 ERA) vs Guthrie (4.22 ERA)

What Happened and What It Means

The Red Sox not so long ago had a nice 9 game lead in the wild card race and had held a lead by about that size for over a month. Now here we are with 16 games to go and the Red Sox are up by 3 games with 4 games remaining with the Rays. First of all the Red Sox are not this bad. This team won 37 of 54 games during the course of July and August. That is a 111 win pace over exactly one third of the schedule. They did that with no Buchholz, no Bedard until August, and Lester missed 2 weeks of July. No team can play at that rate for that period of time and not be good. Now for the current situation. Fortunately for the Red Sox they have their next 10 at home while Tampa has the next 10 on the road. The odds of Tampa making up 3 games with those circumstances is hard to imagine. However we have learned quite a bit about the Red Sox and their make up even if they do make the playoffs. That would be that this team has dreadful cold spells. It happened in April when they started 2 and 10. They went 3 and 7 for a stretch of interleague play. And they are now in a 2 and 9 slide to start September. Championship teams don’t do that. Championship teams have losing stretches like everybody but they know how to put a halt to them and not let them stretch out of control like the Red Sox have done multiple times this year. So can the 2011 Red Sox find a way to stop this losing stretch in time and avoid having this again in October? Or will this collapse continue for them to miss the playoffs entirely or almost just as bad have the season end a few days into October? These final 2 weeks will answer that.