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Red Sox at Rays lineup: Playoff Chris Sale, in the nick of time

This is why he’s here. Shane Baz will counter for the Rays in tonight’s ALDS Game 2 as Tampa Bay looks to put the Sox in an 0-2 hole.

MLB: ALDS-Workouts
Definitely not an axe murderer.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox look to even up their ALDS showdown with the Rays behind Chris Sale tonight in St. Pete (7:02 p.m., FS1).

Last night was a disappointment, but sometimes you just lose a game. In the Shakespearean words of the Sox Outsider, OTM alumnus Matthew Kory, that game was a “huge dud,” and there’s not much point in reliving it. So we pointedly will not do that.

Tonight figures to be much better, because Sale is on the mound and he’s pissed off. Even if he hasn’t been great recently, he’s still Sale, and Rays starter Shane Baz, who has been great, is still a rookie (like last night’s starter, Shane McClanahan, but ignore that). Hopefully the Sox see more rookie jitters from Shane the Second as they did from Shane the First. And hopefully Sale pitches better than Eduardo Rodriguez managed last night, because while the Sox have famously made a living coming back from 0-2 deficits in the ALDS, it’s easier to... you know, not do that. In layman’s terms, it would be much better if they win tonight.

Alex Cora said earlier in the day he was waiting for J.D. Martinez to tell him if he was good to go to release the lineup:

The verdict was, perhaps unsurprisingly given that it was up to the player, that he was in fact good to go. (That it took forever to come to this conclusion was less surprising, given the Sox’s general sluggishness with the lineups this year). I agreed straightaway that he was good to go, FWIW, despite not living in his body, simply because I think it’s good to field the best roster possible in a playoff game, but maybe I’m just built different.

ALDS Game Two at Rays

Lineup spot Red Sox Rays
Lineup spot Red Sox Rays
1 Kyle Schwarber, 1B Randy Arozarena, LF
2 Kiké Hernandez, CF Wander Franco, SS
3 Rafael Devers, 3B Brandon Lowe, 2B
4 Xander Bogaerts, SS Nelson Cruz, DH
5 Alex Verdugo, LF Yandy Díaz, 3B
6 J.D. Martinez, DH Jordan Luplow, 1B
7 Hunter Renfroe, RF Manuel Margot, RF
8 Christian Vázquez, C Mike Zunino, C
9 Christian Arroyo, 2B Kevin Kiermaier, CF
SP Chris Sale, LHP Shane Baz, RHP