The Boston Red Sox (48-60) begin a weekend series against the New York Yankees (55-52). Boston will be playing it's first game in the aftermath of the trade deadline that drastically reshaped the team's roster. There will be some new faces in tonight's lineup and some familiar ones will be nowhere to be found.
Boston has also made a flurry of corresponding roster moves in the fallout of yesterday's trades. Mike Carp has been designated for assignment after the Red Sox were unable to find a partner to facilitate his trade request. Will Middlebrooks has been activated from the disabled list and Mookie Betts has been called back up. Shane Victorino has been placed back on the DL, along with newly acquired Kelly Johnson. Tommy Layne and Alex Wilson have also been called up from Pawtucket to replace the departed Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller in the bullpen. Got all that? It's a good thing they hand out scorecards at Fenway, or else fans would have trouble keeping track of who's still on this team.
The Red Sox will spend the next two months figuring out how the new pieces fit and seeing which of their young players can be counted on to contribute next season, when the team expects to jump back into contention.
- Anthony Ranaudo (0-0, 0.00) makes his major league debut tonight for Boston. He was 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA and 99 strikeouts over 119.1 innings for Pawtucket this season. MLB.com ranks Ranaudo as Boston's No. 6 prospect, right behind Allen Webster. He throws his fastball in the mid-90s with some sinking action to pair with a sharp curveball, but he'll need to be careful to avoid tipping his change-up or major league hitters will hammer it.
- Allen Craig makes his debut with his new team tonight in LF, batting 5th. While he's been struggling this season, his past production shows he's a solid fit for the middle of the lineup. Last year with the Cardinals he drove in 97 runs and hit a ridiculous .454 with runners in scoring position.
- Yoenis Cespedes has yet to arrive in Boston, but his cross-country flight is expected to land at some point late this afternoon. He could arrive at Fenway during the game but not soon enough to be in the lineup tonight, so Red Sox fans will need to wait at least another day to see the biggest prize of the assets they gathered from yesterday's fire sale.
- Mookie Betts is starting in CF tonight, but it's expected to be just a routine day off for Jackie Bradley, Jr. With Victorino hitting the DL again and Cespedes unavailable tonight, it may be just a short stay in Boston for Betts. Bradley will presumably handle CF most of the time and the Sox still have Cespedes, Craig, Brock Holt and Daniel Nava on the roster. Betts needs to be playing everyday in order to develop and there's too much depth at the major league level right now to have him sitting around getting sporadic playing time.
- Brock Holt is in RF tonight – a position likely to be taken over by Cespedes once he arrives. Holt is expected to spend the rest of the season in a platoon with Bradley in CF, getting the start against lefties, while also splitting time between 3B and SS against right-handed pitching. Manager John Farrell will have his hands full trying to mix and match this lineup the rest of the season.
- The return of Will Middlebrooks to take over third base pushes Xander Bogaerts back to his natural shortstop position. Perhaps putting the rookie back where he's most comfortable will get his bat going again. Bogaerts was hitting .296/.389/.427 in 53 games at SS, but only .182/.217/.300 in 44 games at 3B. If being forced to change positions really effected his psyche enough to cause his horrific slump then presumably moving him back could cure him.
- Chris Capuano (1-1, 4.30 ERA) takes the mound for the Yankees against his former team. The Red Sox released Capuano back in June following a meltdown stretch where he gave up 10 runs in 4.0 innings (22.50 ERA) that month. He was later picked up by the Colorado Rockies, who then traded him to the Yankees for cash. Capuano had a no decision in his first start with the Yankees last weekend, giving up a pair of runs in 6 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Stephen Drew makes his Yankees debut facing the team that traded him away just over 24 hours ago. While the Red Sox originally re-signed him for his solid glove at shortstop, the Yankees are making him play a new position by moving him to second base. It's puzzling that the Yankees would acquire a player who's best asset is his glove, them move him to a position he's never played before. Of course there is no way they would ever ask Derek Jeter to give up his shortstop spot at the end of his final season – no matter how much of an improvement Drew would be defensively at the position.
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