Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 5/5/13
12:30 p.m.: Will Middlebrooks has really been struggling, both in the field and at the plate. The Red Sox third baseman will be given the day off on Sunday. Middlebrooks is 3-for-19 on Boston’s current road trip, which negates the strides he appeared to be making at the plate toward the tail end of the team’s recent homestand. Making matters worse is that Middlebrooks made an error in each of the last two games. Filling in for Middlebrooks will be Pedro Ciriaco, who will bat ninth. That bumps Stephen Drew up to eighth. Shane Victorino, who played in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday after returning from a back issue, will be out of the lineup on Sunday. Daniel Nava will bat second and play right field, while Mike Carp will start in left field and bat sixth. The rest of Sunday’s lineup is below. Red Sox (20-10) Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Daniel Nava, RF Dustin Pedroia, 2B David Ortiz, DH Mike Napoli, 1B Mike Carp, LF David Ross, C Stephen Drew, SS Pedro Ciriaco, 3B Jon Lester (4-0, 3.11 ERA) 8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox had a chance to flex their muscles against a fellow American League division leader. Instead, it’s the Rangers who have done all the flexing. After another convincing victory on Saturday, the Rangers will send their ace, Yu Darvish, to the mound as they look to sweep the Red Sox right out of Texas. The man asked to stop the bleeding for the Sox is Jon Lester. Clay Buchholz has been Boston’s best pitcher through the early part of the season, but Lester is still considered the team’s ace in the minds of many. The lefty has a chance to prove he can be a stopper on Sunday, although the Red Sox’ offense will need to be better than it has been through the first two games of the series. The Red Sox have been outhit 28-13 and outscored 13-1 in the series thus far. Their biggest issue has been their inability to take advantage of their scoring chances. They’ve been leaving runners on base at an alarming clip, and that’s something that simply can’t happen when you’re facing a good team like the Rangers. Boston’s quest to salvage the series with a win begins at 3:05 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN and follow along right here.

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

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