Thursday, April 7, 2011

What to Watch For Today, 4/7

As the Red Sox are preparing for the second time around in their starting rotation, things have not gone as planned thus far. They will be leaning on their ace Jon Lester to get them tyheir first win on Thursday. He will be facing yet another ace who struggled his first time out, Fausto Carmona. Here is today's starting lineup, followed by a few things to watch for in the game.

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

  • Ellsbury has to get on base. In the his last three games, he has failed to record a single hit or a walk. That is not going to fly for the leadoff guy in this lineup. If Ellsbury is able to get on base, the Red Sox should be able to put up runs. They have dynamic speed at the top and great RBI guys in the middle. They need their leadoff man, though. In his career, Ellsbury is 2-6 in his career against Carmona with no extra base hits or walks, and two strikeouts.

  • Jon Lester has not seen anyone in this young lineup more than 6 times. This bodes well for the Red Sox ace, who will be able to be more of a new presence to these guys. Lester struggled against Texas's power-packed lineup on Opening Day, but now he gets a slightly easier task in shutting down an inexperienced Cleveland lineup. He's going to need some offensive support, but I see Lester playing with a chip on his shoulder, and pulling out the W for Boston.

  • In addition to the top, the Sox need some productivity from the bottom of their lineup. After Ortiz thus far this year, the bottom 3 in Boston's lineup has been abismal. Usually made up of Drew/Cameron/McDonald, Salty/Tek and Scutaro/Lowrie, the Red Sox have not gotten production no matter the combination. Carmona is a right hander, which would make one believe that Drew should hit him well. However, he has a career .111 BA against him. Scutaro and Salty, on the other hand, have hit .440 and .375, respectively. If there is some offense in the bottom 3rd of the lineup, the team should put some runs up on the board.

First pitch is at 12:05 PM ET.

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