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The Best Red Sox Hitter Since Ted Williams Returns To Boston

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With the Dodgers heading to Fenway Park for the first time since 2004, the major story line is the return of Manny Ramirez to Boston.  The big question seems to be whether or not -- or perhaps, how loudly -- Manny will be booed in his first game in Boston since his acrimonious exit in July 2008.

I'm not here to condone all of Manny's actions in his final days in Boston, and I don't want to tell Red Sox fans how to act, but I believe with a step back to look at the big picture, there is a clear choice as to how fans should react to the return of Ramirez. During Manny's time in Boston:

Do what you have to do, Boston fans, but to me this is someone who deserves a standing ovation.

This is such a big series that Vin Scully made the rare trip east of Denver to call today's game.  He won't broadcast Saturday or Sunday because the Dodgers will be on national television, on Fox and ESPN, respectively.  The Dodgers have made one previous trip to Fenway Park, losing two of three from June 11-13, 2004.  The Dodgers scored 16 runs that series, but unfortunately 14 of those runs came in one game, the lone win of the series, credited to Jeff Weaver.

Today's matchup features a pair of young Venezuelan pitchers.  The 24-year old Rule 5 pick, Carlos Monasterios, will be making his sixth career start, while 22-year old Felix Doubront is making his major league debut.  Doubront started the season in Double A, and put up a 2.51 ERA and 2.78 FIP in eight starts.  He moved up to Triple A and fared even better, with a 1.08 ERA and 2.58 FIP in four starts.

Monasterios looks good on the surface, with a 3-1 record and a 2.98 ERA, but his FIP (5.34) and x-FIP (5.37) have painted a different picture.  Over his last four starts, Monasterios has struck out just six of 79 batters faced, while walking seven.  The Dodgers have a relatively well-rested bullpen to support Monasterios:  long man Weaver and closer Jonathan Broxton last pitched on Sunday, Ramon Troncoso has had the last two days off, while Ronald Belisario and Hong-Chih Kuo didn't pitch yesterday.

Lineups

Dodgers      Red Sox
CF Kemp SS Scutaro      
C Martin
2B Pedroia
RF Ethier DH Ortiz
DH Manny 1B Youkilis
3B Blake RF Drew
1B Loney     
3B Beltre
2B Belliard        

C Varitek
LF Johnson
CF Cameron
SS Carroll LF Nava
P Monasterios   
P Doubront       

Notes

  • The Dodgers have lost 32 of their last 42 games in American League parks, and that includes a 5-4 record last season
  • Jeff Weaver is the only Dodger pitcher ever to get a win against the Red Sox in Boston.  The Dodgers lost all three games at Braves Field in Boston in the 1916 World Series, and lost two of three at Fenway Park in 2004. Weaver won the middle game of the series.
  • Andre Ethier has 10 home runs in 62 career interleague games
  • Jamey Carroll had three walks Thursday to raise his OBP to .394, and push his total to 27 walks on the season, two behind Russell Martin, who has 79 more plate appearances than Carroll

Game Time: 4:10 pm

TV:  Prime Ticket, MLB Network

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday