Josh Beckett (L), Luke Hochevar (R)

With the offense taking a vacation over the past three-game homestand, the Boston Red Sox will have to hope it comes back to life on the road as they’ll play their next eight games there. Tonight they’ll kick off the road trip with the first game of a four-game set with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Today’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. and will be broadcast in the Red Sox television market on NESN. If you live in the Royals broadcast area, you can catch the game on Fox Sports Kansas City. And if you can’t catch the television broadcast, you can always listen to the game on the 2011 Red Sox Radio Network.

Josh Beckett hopes he gets more than 3.30 runs of support tonight in his 24th start of 2011. In his previous 23 starts, Beckett is 9-5 with a 2.40 ERA. He took the loss against the Royals on July 28th at Fenway Park when he allowed three runs in seven innings of work. He’s made nine career starts against the Royals and is 6-1 with a 2.44 ERA. Five of those starts have come at Kauffman Stadium where he is 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA.

Luke Hochevar makes a team leading 26th start tonight for the Royals. In his previous 25 starts, Hochevar is 8-9 with a 4.89 ERA. In his lone start against the Red Sox this season which was against Beckett, he picked up the win after allowing two runs in seven innings of work.  In five career starts against the visiting nine from Boston, he is 2-3 with a 6.67 ERA. Two of those starts have come in Kansas City where he is 0-2 with a 9.28 ERA.

Click on the read more button below to see today’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day if you’re on the home page.

Here are this evening’s lineups:

Boston Red Sox74-48 Kansas City Royals51-73
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF 1. Alex Gordon LF
2. Jed Lowrie 3B 2. Melky Cabrera CF
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B 3. Billy Butler DH
4. Dustin Pedroia 2B 4. Eric Hosmer 1B
5. Josh Reddick RF 5. Jeff Francoeur RF
6. Carl Crawford LF 6. Johnny Giavotella 2B
7. Ryan Lavarnway DH 7. Salvador Perez C
8. Jason Varitek C 8. Mike Moustakas 3B
9. Mike Aviles SS 9. Alcides Escobar SS
Josh Beckett SP Luke Hochevar SP

And here is how the hitters have fared against today’s starting pitchers:

Boston Red Sox @ Kansas City Royals batter/pitcher matchups

As you see from the lineup, Lavarnway has been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket. He takes the place of Kevin Youkilis who was placed on the 15-day DL with back issues. To make room on the 40-man roster for Lavarnway, Randy Williams has been designated for assignment.

Check back and/or refresh often as more links will be added if/when they become available before game time.

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Sox should play long ball with Ortiz [Chris Gasper – Boston Globe]

The offense rests: Red Sox slumping their way into Kansas City [Clubhouse Insider]

Ryan Lavarnway called up, DHing tonight; Kevin Youkilis to DL [Clubhouse Insider]

Pregame notes: Youkilis update; Lavarnway ‘passionate about catching’ [Clubhouse Insider]

Youkilis (back) placed on DL; Lavarnway recalled [CSN New England]

Nation STATion: Do the Sox have the pitching? [CSN New England]

Lavarnway ‘focused’ in his big league debut [CSN New England]

Notes: Ortiz to miss at least a week [CSN New England]

W2W4: Beckett vs. Royals tonight [ESPN Boston]

Video: State of the Nation with Gordon Edes [ESPN Boston]

Video: Gonzalez’s importance to Red Sox [ESPN Boston]

Pregame notes: Lavarnway gets the call [ESPN Boston]

Masterson steps up for a teammate [Extra Bases]

Looking deeper at the Red Sox slump [Extra Bases]

Ryan Lavarnway up; Kevin Youkilis to DL [Extra Bases]

Lavarnway ready for action [Extra Bases]

Terry Francona on The Big Show: The next two weeks may not be easy for us [Full Count]

Vote: Which Red Sox Player Has Best Chance to Win American League MVP? []

A Broken Man When He Last Left Kansas City, Jacoby Ellsbury Returns an Elite Talent []

Ryan Lavarnway’s Fresh Bat, Ability to Hit Lefties a Welcome Addition to Banged-Up Red Sox Lineup []

Kevin Youkilis, Marco Scutaro Injuries a Potential Blow to Top-Ranked Defensive Team []

Youkilis lands on the DL [Projo Sox Blog]

Scutaro making progress [Projo Sox Blog]

Crawford still looking for stroke [Projo Sox Blog]

Beckett, bats look to bounce back vs. Royals []

Prospect Jacobs thrives with Drive []

Sore back forces Youkilis to disabled list []

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Photo credits:  AP Photo, AP Photo