Red Sox activate Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie from DL

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Boston’s lengthy list of injuries will get a little shorter tonight, as the Red Sox welcome both Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie back from the disabled list.
After missing nearly a month with a strained hamstring Buchholz will start against the A’s despite an underwhelming rehab outing at Triple-A last week. He was 10-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 15 starts before the injury to make his first All-Star team.
Lowrie hasn’t played for the Red Sox yet this season and hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2008, yet manager Terry Francona has him in the starting lineup tonight against left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Lowrie will start at shortstop, giving Marco Scutaro his first break since June 15.
Lowrie went 11-for-30 (.367) with a homer and four doubles in 10 rehab games split between Single-A and Triple-A, likely speeding up his initial return timetable by hitting so well. He’s highly unlikely to supplant Scutaro as the Red Sox’s everyday shortstop, but even claiming a utility man role would be a victory for Lowrie after two injury wrecked years.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.