Red Sox-Mariners: Lineup and notes

572244.jpg

Red Sox-Mariners: Lineup and notes

BOSTON -- There's a left-hander on the mound for Seattle (Jason Vargas) and, as a result, Mike Aviles goes back into the leadoff spot for the Red Sox tonight against the Mariners:

Mike Aviles SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Cody Ross RF
Daniel Nava LF
Marlon Byrd CF
Kelly Shoppach C

Jon Lester P

The Mariners' lineup isn't posted yet.

Some quick notes from the Red Sox P.R. department . . .

TEN IN NINE: Yesterday was Bostons ninth game this season scoring 10 or more runs, the most in the Majors and the clubs most ever through the first 34 games of a season . . . The Red Sox are just the second team in the last 81 years to score 10 or more runs in 9 of the first 34 games of a season (Colorado in 1997 is the other) and the first A.L. team to do so since Baltimore (now the Yankees) and Chicago both accomplished the feat in 1901.

FIRST 10 GAMES: With a homer and two RBI yesterday, Will Middlebrooks became the third player to accumulate at least 4 home runs and 13 RBI over his first 10 games in the Major leagues, according to Elias . . . The others: Kansas City's Mark Quinn in September 1999 (5 HR, 15 RBI) and Seattle's Alvin Davis in April 1984 (4 HR, 13 RBI).

VS. THE MARINERS: Boston and Seattle meet nine times in 2012 . . . The current two-game set is the Mariners' only series in Boston this year, the fewest number of games the Sox have ever played against the Ms at Fenway Park in a season . . . The Red Sox are 215-158 (.576) all-time against the Mariners, the top winning percentage for any American League club against Seattle.

Red Sox do not need Sonny Gray, and they know it

Red Sox do not need Sonny Gray, and they know it

BOSTON — Sonny Gray is not what the Red Sox need.

As of Monday, the power rankings of their trade targets should go as such: 1. Third baseman 2. Reliever 3. Back-end starter.

When he was addressing the addition of Doug Fister three days ago, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski noted that a premier starter is not what he lacks.

“Unlike maybe some other clubs, I don't believe that we need to add a top-of-the-rotation-type starter,” Dombrowski said. “We have [Chris] Sale. I think David Price continues to make strides to come back. His stuff is good he's just got to get back. [Drew] Pomeranz has thrown well for us. [Eduardo] Rodriguez has thrown well. We know Rick Porcello is a good pitcher.

“So we're not, maybe other clubs are looking for that No. 1, No. 2 type starter. That's not really important for us. I think it's more important to be in a position where we add depth for us, somebody that can help us win major league games if needed.”

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan on Monday reported that the Red Sox “have quietly sent some of their most respected evaluators to his last two starts. This could fall under standard due diligence, but one source familiar with their intentions said the Red Sox are keen for Gray – and when president Dave Dombrowski targets a player, the price for other teams jumps accordingly.” 

Due diligence is indeed all the Red Sox are up to, a baseball source with knowledge of the team’s thinking told CSNNE.com on Monday.

The Red Sox’ trade chips are limited, if they don’t want to drastically diminish their farm system. Gray is very close with David Price, but Gray's 4.45 ERA isn’t inspiring. He has a 3.60 FIP — fielding independent pitching — and has great talent. But again, he doesn’t play the hot corner.

Offense on a whole is a greater need. The Sox entered Monday with the third lowest slugging percentage in the AL. Hanley Ramirez is now battling some left knee pain as well as his shoulder issue, after he took a pitch off the knee Sunday.

It’s warmed up, but the Sox power bats have not also warmed up.

“I wouldn’t hinge this all on just temperature,” manager John Farrell said Monday. “And I don’t know that we use that as an excuse prior. . . Over the last three or four weeks, it’s kind of stagnated a little bit. I think the biggest thing for us as a group is to still maintain a consistent approach at the plate. When we think about getting too much muscle in a swing, eventually the strike zone expands, you don’t get the pitch that you’re looking for. We can’t afford to maybe go away from that approach for the sake of maybe trying to drive the ball with greater consistency.”

Tzu-Wei Lin was starting for the Sox on Monday, yet another in the third-base carousel. Jhonny Peralta and Pablo Sandoval (rehab assignment) are going to alternate time at third base starting Tuesday with Triple-A Pawtucket. 

That’s where they need help.

The bullpen can’t be overlooked either. Carson Smith started a throwing program again Monday, but it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return, or at what effectiveness.

Carrabis: Red Sox coaches were upset at John Farrell's usage of Craig Kimbrel

Carrabis: Red Sox coaches were upset at John Farrell's usage of Craig Kimbrel

Jared Carrabis says he was told that some Boston Red Sox coaches were not happy with the way John Farrell was over-using Craig Kimbrel, perhaps because he was trying to save his job.