Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/12/13
6:25 p.m.: The lineup cards have been posted. Check them out below. Red Sox (57-37) Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Shane Victorino, RF Dustin Pedroia, 2B David Ortiz, DH Mike Napoli, 1B Daniel Nava, LF Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C Jose Iglesias, SS Brock Holt, 3B John Lackey, RHP (6-6, 2.80 ERA) Athletics (54-38) Coco Crisp, CF John Jaso, C Josh Donaldson, 3B Jed Lowrie, SS Yoenis Cespedes, LF Brandon Moss, 1B Josh Reddick RF Seth Smith, DH Eric Sogard, 2B Jarrod Parker, (6-6, 4.04 ERA) 8 a.m. ET: Every now and then, you come to a series that serves as a measuring stick. This is one of those series. The Red Sox and Athletics open up a three-game set at the top of their respective divisions. The Sox, who enter with an AL-best 57-37 record, own a 3 1/2 game lead over the Rays, while the A’s, who own a 54-38 record, lead the AL West by one game over the Rangers. It looked like the Red Sox were starting to slip a bit after Saturday’s crushing loss to the Angels. They dropped three straight, and it appeared as though the 10-game West Coast trip could prove to be disastrous. They’ve since bounced back, though, and they enter Friday’s series opener in Oakland riding a three-game winning streak. Boston will send John Lackey to the mound Friday, and he looks to build on a very impressive run. The right-hander, who you could argue is the team’s ace right now, ranks fifth in the American League with a 2.80 ERA. That’s his best mark through his first 15 starts in any season of his career, and he looks like a man on a mission. The Red Sox needed 10 innings to take care of the Mariners on Thursday, but fortunately, that game was a late-afternoon start. Friday will be a later one, as the first pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET. Throw on some coffee, and get ready for late-night baseball. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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