Red Sox vs. Rays lineups: Boston goes for ALDS sweep behind Clay Buchholz

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are going for an ALDS sweep Monday night in St. Pete. But even with a total victory so near, defeat could be just around the corner.

The Red Sox have Clay Buchholz on the mound as they try to finish off the ALDS with a three-game sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Boston Red Sox (2-0)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Shane Victorino, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. David Ortiz, DH
  5. Mike Napoli, 1B
  6. Daniel Nava, LF
  7. Jarrod Satlalamacchia, C
  8. Stephen Drew, SS
  9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz

Tampa Bay Rays (0-2)

  1. David DeJesus, LF
  2. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Wil Myers, RF
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Desmond Jennings, CF
  7. Matt Joyce, DH
  8. Yunel Escobar, SS
  9. Jose Molina, C

Starting Pitcher -- Alex Cobb

Up 2-0 in the series, some Red Sox fans might feel like they've got this all wrapped up. But obviously that's not the case. All Boston has done is hold on to home field advantage in a park where they've dominated the competition all year long. And if they've gone 6-3 against the Rays in Tampa this year, that doesn't make taking down Alex Cobb any easier. Game 5 is much closer than any of us really want to think--close enough that the Sox have to be looking to finish this in three.

Which, of course, is exactly what John Farrell will have told them, if any of them even need to hear it. That seems unlikely enough given the way they kept pouring it on up by six, seven, eight in Game 1.

It is a weird situation, though, with arguably the aces of each team taking the mound for the first time in game three. Usually in Game 3 we'd be talking about the offenses finally getting a chance to show their stuff. After putting up 19 in the first two games, though, this might be the night where the Sox need their starter to carry the load. Buchholz can do that if he's on. He can do that better than anyone on the team--possibly in the entire game of baseball based on how he started the year. But even after a pretty strong return to action, there are still question marks surrounding just how much of the old Buchholz is back.

Then again, the Red Sox just dominated two top-level starters, and Cobb has a 5.16 ERA against them this season. So maybe it'll just be more of the same.

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