Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

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Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

BOSTON -- Today's Red Sox lineup, courtesy of Sean McAdam, and pregame notes, courtesy of the Red Sox' P.R. department:

THURSDAY'S LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis3B
Josh Reddick RF
Carl Crawford LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS

Kyle Weiland P

VS. THE RAYS
Boston opens its sixth and final series against Tampa Bay in 2011, a four-game set . . . The Sox have lost 9 of 14 against the Rays this year, going 1-4 at Fenway Park and 4-5 while taking 4 of 9 in St. Pete . . . Since the start of 2010, the Sox are just 4-10 against the Rays in Boston . . . The Sox have dropped their last five games with the Rays by a combined 33-13 score, beginning with the second game of an Aug. 16 doubleheader . . . The current five-game drought is the Sox' longest ever against Tampa Bay . . . Since 2002, Bostons only longer single-season slide vs. any team was an 0-8 stretch vs. LAA, (April 23-July 30, 2008) . . . The Sox havent won a season series against the Rays overall since taking seven straight series from 2001-07.

EAST BEASTS
All of Bostons final 24 games, beginning Sept. 5, come vs. A.L. East rivals (2-7 thus far) . . . The Sox lead the A.L. with a 34-23 (.586) mark vs. the A.L. East in 2011, but are 3-11 in their last 14 . . . . Of Jacoby Ellsburys 27 homers, 17 have come against A.L. East rivals, the most for any player this year against that division . . . He also leads the majors in RBI (50) and batting average (.376) against the A.L. East (min. 10 games against the division).

STREAKING AGAIN
Jacoby Ellsbury tripled on Wednesday and has hit safely in his last 18 games, going 29-for-77 (.377) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 13 RBI, 16 runs, 9 walks and a steal during the stretch . . . The 18-game hit streak is tied for the longest active run in the majors with Texas' Adrian Beltre . . . This is Ellsburys fourth career hit streak of 18 or more games . . . Since 1919, the only other Red Sox with at least four single-season hit streaks of at least 18 games was Nomar Garciaparra.

SEPTEMBER MOMENTS
Marco Scutaro leads the majors (min. 50 PA) with a .429 average (18-for-42) in September and ranks second with 16 RBI in the month, trailing only Detroits Victor Martinez (17) . . . He has driven in at least one run in seven of his last eight games . . . Ellsbury is 22-for-56 (.393) since Sept. 1, leading the majors with 11 XBH (7 2B, 3B, 3 HR) and 29 times on base (tied) . . . He is batting .339 (120-for-354) in 88 career September tgames, his best mark in any month and the best career clip by a Sox in September (min. 250 PA) since Wade Boggs, 1982-92 (.349).

How dominant has Craig Kimbrel been? The numbers are eye popping

How dominant has Craig Kimbrel been? The numbers are eye popping

Remember that infield hit by Jonathan Villar of the Brewers off Craig Kimbrel on May 11 in Milwaukee?

Don't worry, nobody does. That's the last hit off the Red Sox closer. That's right. One hit this month.

How dominant has Kimbrel been? Going into Saturday, right-handed hitters don't have a hit off him in their past 39 at-bats. Opponents are hitting .083 against him. Move the decimal point and 0.83 happens to be his season ERA, too, to go with 13 saves. 

Here's more via @SoxNotes:

Kimbrel, 28, has been one of baseball's best closers for years with the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. His first year in Boston last season was solid with 31 saves and a 3.40 ERA, but his walks climbed (30 total and 5.1 per 9 innings, the second-highest totals of his career). He also struggled in non-save situations.

There's been no struggling lately. The last run Kimbrel gave up was a home run by Kendrys Morales of the Blue Jays in the ninth inning on April 20 in Toronto that tied the score at 1 in a game won by the Red Sox 4-1 in 10. Kimbrel got the win and his only blown save of the season.

His three-out save Friday night was his first outing without a strikeout since a one-out save April 23. That followed his four-strikeout inning Thursday night.

 

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six


After leaving Thursday night's game in the fifth inning and missing Friday night's game, Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday as they look to extend their winning streak to six in a 4:05 game against the Seattle Mariners.

Pedroia felt pain his left knee Thursday night and was taken out of the game by manager John Farrell as a precaution. The rainy conditions and wet field were also factors in keeping the second baseman out Thursday and Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on the knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked various confrontations between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his second start of the season for Boston and right-handed reliever Ben Taylor was optioned to the PawSox. Right-hander Rob Whalen, 23,  comes up from Triple-A Tacoma to make his first start of the season for the Mariners. 

The lineups:

MARINERS
Jean Segura SS
Danny Valencia 1B
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Taylor Motter LF
Guillermo Heredia RF
Mike Zunino C
Jarrod Dyson CF
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Rob Whalen RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Deven Marrero 3B
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Brian Johnson LHP