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Red Sox: June swoon or bloom?

This week’s homestand will prove pivotal in terms of what the Red Sox will do at the trade deadline in late July.

The Red Sox return to Fenway Park this week for their final six games of Interleague play. Returning to the friendly confines against the Marlins from tomorrow through Thursday and Braves over the weekend allows the Red Sox to re-introduce the designated hitter to their lineup, but still does nothing to settle the corner infield-outfield platoon of Kevin Youkilis, Will Middlebrooks and David Ortiz, all three of whom have struggled at the plate recently.



Here is a look at the six-game home-stand:



Tomorrow

Clay Buchholz (7-2, 5.38 ERA)

vs. Mark Buehrle (5-7, 3.41)

Buchholz has finally turned the corner this season, going 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA over his last four starts. Last week against the Marlins, Buchholz allowed just one run over seven innings. Buchholz is 4-1 at Fenway this season, but his home ERA stands at 5.12. Buehrle, the former White Sox player, lost his first Interleague decision in his last 11 against the Red Sox, but pitched well in the process, holding the Red Sox to one hit over the first six innings before allowing two runs in the seventh.

Wednesday

Felix Doubront (7-3, 4.17) vs. Ricky Nolasco (6-5, 4.37)

The young left-hander continues to mature for the Red Sox, also beating Miami in his last start, allowing two runs over seven innings. Doubront is holding opponents to a .245 batting average this season. Nolasco lost to the Red Sox last week, allowing four runs over six innings. The Red Sox offense could enjoy his presence at Fenway, as Nolasco has allowed at least one homer in each of his past four starts.



Thursday

Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2, 5.73) vs. Carlos Zambrano (4-5, 3.92)

Don't let the record or the high ERA fool you: Dice-K has actually pitched well in his first two starts since coming back from Tommy John surgery and could be a huge factor for the Red Sox in the second half if he can continue to throw strikes and stay out of big innings. Zambrano has struggled lately. In his past two starts against the Rays, he allowed 11 runs combined and lasted a total of 4 1/3 innings.



Friday

Jon Lester (4-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. TBD

Brandon Beachy was the scheduled starter for the Braves, but won't be available after leaving Saturday's game against the Orioles with an elbow injury. Lester has made three straight quality starts after struggling in late May.



Saturday

TBA vs. Randall Delgado (4-6, 4.34)

Franklin Morales took the ball for the Red Sox in Sunday night's game against the Cubs, but the Red Sox will likely explore a better option for Saturday.

Sunday

Clay Buchholz vs. Mike Minor (3-4, 6.01 ERA)

Minor's finest start came last week, when he limited the Yankees to one run in 7 1/3 innings.

 
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