Carl Crawford is back in the Sox’ lineup tonight

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Carl Crawford is set to make his 2012 debut tonight. He’ll be in the Sox’ lineup against the White Sox.  For his part, Bobby Valentine is keeping expectations low:

“I’m not expecting any immediate impact,” said Valentine. “I’m just expecting one of nine, a guy who can go out there and be a contributor. I’ve never been around Carl in a game situation and I hope that whatever he needs is provided him from his surroundings and I hope he’s healthy. I think if he’s healthy, he’ll do fine.”

Yeah, well, apart from needing Tommy John surgery I guess he’s healthy, but we shall see.

Seems like the next couple of weeks are going to be pretty telling for the Red Sox. For the first time they have an outfield that resembles that which the front office intended.  And despite all of the turmoil of the season thus far, they have managed to keep within striking distance.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.