Christian Vazquez is in the lineup for a rare start Saturday night as the Sox take the field with a chance to finish the regular series with a series win and perhaps even leave the Jays on the outside of the wild card race looking in.
|BOSTON RED SOX||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||Devon Travis, 2B|
|Xander Bogaerts, SS||Josh Donaldson, 3B|
|David Ortiz, DH||Edwin Encarnacion, 1B|
|Mookie Betts, RF||Jose Bautista, DH|
|Hanley Ramirez, 1B||Russell Martin, C|
|Chris Young, LF||Troy Tulowitzki, SS|
|Jackie Bradley Jr., CF||Melvin Upton Jr., LF|
|Aaron Hill, 3B||Kevin Pillar, CF|
|Christian Vazquez, C||Ezequiel Carrera, RF|
|SP - Eduardo Rodriguez||SP - J.A. Happ|
Not that long ago the AL East seemed to be not a question of who would make the postseason, but who would have to play the wild card game. Now, though, the Jays are just barely ahead of the Tigers for the second wild card spot which, I'm sure they would say, is too close for comfort.
The Red Sox, I'm sure, didn't exactly come into this series with any particular designs outside of "escape healthy". The Jays are a good team the Red Sox would rather not have in the playoffs, true. But the Tigers aren't exactly easy pickings, either, and at this point whatever team ends up in that wild card spot would have to make it through first the Orioles, and then the Rangers to actually end up facing the Sox.
So while the Red Sox might be interested in taking a scalp for the sake of taking a scalp, at the end of the day another one is just going to line up to take Toronto's spot if they do manage to knock them off. Even with some home field implications, the outcome of this game, really, is less interesting than how the Red Sox get there. In particular, how Eduardo Rodriguez looks coming off contributing to a historic night from the Boston pitching staff. Right now the Red Sox have him set as their #3, but the way he's pitched of late suggests he could be a bit less or, quite possibly, a good deal more for them in October.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN, WEEI, and the MLB Network