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Red Sox vs. Yankees lineups: Get busy living or get busy dying

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A one-game playoff against the Yankees at home. This is what it’s all about.

New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox Prep for AL Wild Card Game Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Red Sox and Yankees meet tonight in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park for the first time since 1978, the year with Bucky Dent and all that, looking to finally, blissfully, even up that particular score. Boston postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi, a former Yankee, is on the mound for Boston, set to face Cy Young Award contender Gerrit Cole. There’s no other way to say it: It is one of the bigger games of our lives.

I am proud of this year’s team, and their simply making it this far is kind of amazing. That said, a playoff game against the Yankees (8.08 p.m., ESPN, ESPN2 for a non A-Rod feed) is not the same as a playoff game against anyone else. The Yankees not winning is as important as the Sox winning, and the Sox will kill one of those dreams tonight. Eovaldi is the right guy to be out there, despite—maybe because—of his terrible outing against New York two Fridays ago. That’s the aberration. Good Nate is the rule.

The big roster news heading into this game is that J.D. Martinez won’t play, having been left off the roster today because of an ankle injury he suffered running out to right field on Sunday. Just incredible stuff, and something the Sox will have to deal with as they face Cole, who has been on one:

So again: The Sox are without Martinez tonight because he hurt himself running over second base on Sunday, not in game action, but in between innings. That’s is the last I’ll say about it for all of our sakes, but he’s not the only big name you won’t see. Chris Sale isn’t on the roster after being overruled on it by Alex Cora, which, as Pete Abraham noted, means the Sox are without their two most highly paid players, but you go to war with the army you have.

That army, as it stands, will send Kyle Schwarber to bat leadoff, hoping he can be an energy vampire on Cole and drain him. Kevin Plawecki gets the start at catcher and Christian Arroyo bats ninth and plays second base.

The Yankees, for their part, also have a beefy top of the order, with Anthony Rizzo leading off to start the run of the big four. As we well know, they can hit anyone. But this is one man on one day. It’s Nate’s chance, again, to make himself a postseason legend. He lost the last huge game he pitched for the team in the World Series, but he won our admiration. Now he can win the game, too.

Here are the full lineups for both sides:

Wild Card vs. Yankees

Lineup spot Yankees Red Sox
Lineup spot Yankees Red Sox
1 Anthony Rizzo, 1B Kyle Schwarber, DH
2 Aaron Judge, RF Kiké Hernández, CF
3 Giancarlo Stanton, DH Rafael Devers, 3B
4 Joey Gallo, LF Xander Bogaerts, SS
5 Gleyber Torres, 2B Alex Verdugo, LF
6 Brett Gardner, CF Hunter Renfroe, RF
7 Gio Urshela, 3B Kevin Plawecki, C
8 Kyle Higashioka, C Bobby Dalbec, 1B
9 Andrew Velazquez, SS Christian Arroyo, 2B
SP Gerrit Cole, RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP