Early Evening Elucidation - Lloyd's Illuminations on the Lineups

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breadline.gifHmmm, if only I had lede. Game 7 is almost upon us and I'm here to shoot skepticism all over the manager's choices. Some key players have slumped through the playoffs, do their managers have the magic touch? Can they find the secret combination to secure a World Series birth?

Boston - Starting Jon Lester will no doubt give the Sox a boost. He got knocked around like a hogtied tourist in the trunk of a Brazilian taxi during Game 3, but has been the best Boston pitcher all season.

Tito Francona has made a few changes to his lineup, reinserting Alex Cora at short to start against Matt Garza. No joke Terry, I don't get it. Yes, a left handed bat has value, but doesn't Jed Lowrie sometimes hit left also? Oh right, he can't hit either. The rest of the lineup is the same, Yook following Papi, Drew in front of Bay.

Tampa Bay - Professor Joe Maddon has opted for a comprehensive overhaul of his lineup due to Jon Lester's freakish left handedness. Willy Aybar is in as the DH, relegating angry Cliff Floyd to the bench. Considering the early hook he gave Gabe Gross last night, he wasn't likely to start tonight no matter what. The southpaw on the hill gives Joe Maddon an excuse to bust out the secret weapon: ROCCO GETS THE START IN RIGHT FIELD!!11!! Rocco's made three starts this postseason, picking up 2 hits and 4 RBI. The team won 2 of his starts which qualifies him for secret weapon status.

Matt Garza's game 3 start was excellent, but quite a few Socks have excellent records against the big righty. Ortiz has only 2 hits lifetime, but both were big flies. Interestingly enough, the Sock with the best history against Matt Garza is the badly struggling and firmly benched Jacoby Ellsbury.

Both bullpens have been used extensively in the last few days, but who cares? It's game 7! Jonathon Papelbon will be out there in the 4th inning if Francona thinks it will save the season. There were some whisperings that Joe Maddon managed last night with Game 7 in mind by not using Dan Wheeler. Might we get a David Price sighting? He's not on the roster just to soak up the atmosphere is he?

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