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Gameday Thread: Red Sox at O's, 07/09

     Wade Miller, RH                 Bruce Chen, LH
     (2-2, 4.94)                     (6-5, 4.06)

     CF J Damon                      2B B Roberts
     SS E Renteria                   3B M Mora
     DH D Ortiz                      SS M Tejada
     LF M Ramirez                    1B R Palmeiro
     C  J Varitek                    DH S Sosa
     1B K Millar                     RF B Surhoff
     RF T Nixon                      CF L Matos
     3B K Youkilis                   LF L Bigbie
     2B B Mueller                    C  E Whiteside

Game time is 1:15 on FOX.

This here is a bit of a pivotal game. We've slipped into third, we're four back and reeling, and the Red Sox are now, kind of quietly, 13 games over .500 and charging. For a team with a lot of issues that they're going to try to correct (and are already trying to correct), that's kind of scary if you're trying to be in a pennant race with them.

I'm interested/worried to see how Chen looks today. Bruce was still as consistent as it gets on June 14, then got rocked in Toronto a little, hurt his toe in Atlanta, and came back looking horrible against the Yankees on Independence Day. Chen is a shutdown ace at home this year, though: 2.42/1.06/.205.

Wade Miller's one of those guys I just kind of like and if he wasn't playing against the O's, I'd root for him. He faced us at Fenway on May 31 and shut the bats down, going seven with just one earned. He's struggled with his control, which was to be expected this year, but for the first time this year, really, he posted the kind of strikeout numbers he's capable of his last time out, July 4 at Texas. Miller K'd eight in six innings. He also walked five. Wade Miller this season is like a box of chocolates.

If Palmeiro gets five hits in the next two games, he'll reach 3,000 before the break. I really do hope he does, because the O's come back from the break with a 10-game road trip to Seattle, Minnesota and Tampa Bay - man, that's a lot of travel. One end of the country to the other and a stop in Minnesota. Who booked that? It'd be nice if Raffy could get it at home, but wherever he gets it, he'll get a deserved standing ovation. Unless it's in Tampa Bay, because they don't have fans.