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Red Sox vs. Yankees lineup: You play to win the game!

The defending World Series and Super Bowl champs play at the same time tonight.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox
For all of us!
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t look good for the Red Sox this year in their quest to win the Lombardi Trophy World Series title, but they still play the games and the reasons to watch the Sox play — which at this point are basically Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez — are as valid as ever. Tonight they’ll face the Yankees at 8:00 on ESPN, and it’s time to get philosophical out of nowhere, because what else to say at this point? The season isn’t over, but it’s over, so why play? Well...

My theory is that it’s because sports are good and the goal of sports is to win. The best quote in sports history is Herm Edwards’s “You play to win the game,” because it’s true as hell, but it’s a current ESPN employee that I think of more reliably when it comes to being out of contention (which okay the Sox aren’t totally, but come on), and it’s from Jalen Rose, who opposed tanking by players on a gut level. The good part about baseball vis a vis basketball is that baseball players can burnish their stats in a way that’s not necessarily true of NBA players — garbage time NBA stats are not the same as garbage time MLB stats. There’s no incentive not to try in baseball, and there’s every incentive to play the team in front of you, just like the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, who will play concurrently with this game, which you know because you’ll be watching it. Just about the only ones not watching in this neck of the woods will be the players and fans themselves... and that’s what makes it even more important that they win, no matter what happens in October. Tomorrow is fake; there is only today, when Rick Porcello will face Masahiro Tanaka to finish up the series.

In short, Go Pats! Here are the lineups. I mean Sox! Go Sox.

(And Pats)

Game 143 vs. Yankees

Lineup spot Yankees Red Sox
Lineup spot Yankees Red Sox
1 DJ LeMahieu, 3B Mookie Betts, RF
2 Aaron Judge, RF Rafael Devers, 3B
3 Didi Gregorius, SS Xander Bogaerts, SS
4 Gary Sánchez, C J.D. Martinez, DH
5 Edwin Encarnación, DH Andrew Benintendi, LF
6 Gleyber Torres, 2B Brock Holt, 2B
7 Brett Gardner, CF Mitch Moreland, 1B
8 Luke Voit, 1B Brock Holt, 2B
9 Mike Tauchman, LF Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
SP Masahiro Tanaka, RHP Rick Porcello, RHP