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Red Sox vs. Astros ALCS Game 4 lineups: The biggest start of Nick Pivetta’s career

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The postseason hero can push the Sox to within one game of the World Series tonight. The World Series!

MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
Bigger than this, even!
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

What a freakin’ team! After a dominant first half, an August free-fall and a roller coaster September, the Red Sox sit home wins away from the World Series as the team seems to be peaking at exactly the right time. Tonight, the Sox will start Nick Pivetta, who’s pitching better than ever, against the quirky, ridiculous, and often but not recently fantastic Zack Greinke (8:08 p.m., FS1), in what is easily the biggest game of Pivetta’s career in front of what should be the loudest Fenway crowd since... last night.

There is nothing quite like a dominant Game 3 hone win, because a Game 3 win necessarily is the first home game for that team, and they’re looking for absolution (when down 2-0) or blood (when they’re not). Last night were out for blood, and they struck quickly with another first inning grand slam, though they missed the extra point and ended the frame only up 6-0. It finished 12-3, and it was a very 12-3 game. It’s the type of game this team is always capable of but is only sometimes able to play. Of all the special Sox teams of the past two decades, this one is the most erratic, but the highest are absolutely exhilarating.

If Pivetta can slow down the Astros tonight—and the Astros will lash out, perhaps especially (cough) at home—the Sox would be in a place no one expected them to be back in March, no matter how triumphal some Sox fans are acting right now. The flip side to that is that, obviously, it makes all of this the sweeter, and the sweetness right now is fairly all-consuming.

In facing Greinke, they’ll get a pitcher who went on the DL several times in September and didn’t pitch very well when he was out there, but definitely has it in him to dominate... or get dominated by a red-hot Sox lineup. Somehow, some way, the Sox’s ragtag starting pitching staff has become a strength in this series, even after Chris Sale’s short Game 1 outing. They’ve become that way by surviving, and Pivetta, the survivor of the season-long back-end starter battles, can drive the point home tonight if The Aceves is willing.

There are no changes to the lineup or batting order, a situation befitting a team that cannot stop kicking butt. The Astros have merely swapped out their center fielder and are otherwise the same as yesterday. With so few changes, how about a repeat, eh?

Game 4 vs. Astros

Lineup spot Astros Red Sox
Lineup spot Astros Red Sox
1 José Altuve, 2B Kyle Schwarber, 1B
2 Michael Brantley, LF Kiké Hernandez, CF
3 Alex Bregman, 3B Rafael Devers, 3B
4 Yordan Álvarez, DH Xander Bogaerts, SS
5 Carlos Correa, SS Alex Verdugo, LF
6 Kyle Tucker, RF J.D. Martinez, DH
7 Yuli Gurriel, 1B Hunter Renfroe, RF
8 Jake Meyers, CF Christan Vázquez, C
9 Martín Maldonado, C Christian Arroyo, 2B
SP Zack Greinke, RHP Nick Pivetta, RHP