Sox in the afternoon

It’s a 1:35 p.m. start today for the Red Sox and Royals at Fenway Park, where the undefeated Daisuke Matsuzaka looks to become the American League’s first eight-game winner in 2008.

There’s a possibility of scattered showers in Boston this afternoon, but the Red Sox said they expect today’s game will be played. They’ll open the gates at the regularly scheduled time (11:35 a.m.).

Here’s today’s Sox lineup as reported on sports radio WEEI:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Manny Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
7. J.D. Drew, RF
8. Kevin Cash, C
9. Julio Lugo, SS

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We’ll have pregame updates, in-game blogging, game photos, and more starting later this morning on Boston.com.

The surging Red Sox (30-19), who like the Celtics are looking invincible at home these days, have won six straight at Fenway after dropping four in a row on the road prior to this homestand, which comes to an end today. The Sox are a major league best 20-5 at home so far in 2008, and have won Matsuzaka’s last 11 starts dating back to last season.

Matsuzaka (7-0, 2.15 ERA) got the winning streak rolling on Saturday in a 5-3 victory over the Brewers. Milwaukee was only able to manage two unearned runs off Dice-K in his 6 2/3 innings of work.

For Kansas City, it’s righthander Brian Bannister (4-5, 4.29) on the hill. Bannister’s only start against the Sox was last season on July 16, when the KC righty gave up four runs at Fenway in a 4-0 loss. In that game, Bannister surrendered home runs to Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and the slumping Manny Ramirez. Could No. 499 be on tap today?

Updated: 10:39 a.m.

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