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Red Sox at Rays lineup: 7’s heaven, but 8 is great

The Sox look to hand Tampa Bay its eighth straight defeat behind Garrett Richards tonight in Florida.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
LFGKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox, fresh off arguably their biggest win of the season—one that pushed them to 1.5 games over Tampa Bay, rather than a half-game back, in an 11-inning classic—will look to continue the Rays’s relative woes tonight behind Garrett Richards (7:10 p.m., NESN).

Last night’s game had everything: the scintillating debut of baseball’s top prospect, the fruitful debut of a top-ish Boston prospect, extra innings, and a Sox win. Most of all, last night’s game had an atmosphere that has rarely been achieved in Tampa Bay outside of the postseason. This is a no-shade post: That was an awesome environment. But that every game was that loud and raucous and, you know, a win for our boys.

Garrett Richards gets the call, and maybe, juuuuuust maybe, he could avoid having a bad first inning. He’s astoundingly consistent in starting out games poor and improving as he goes along. His first-inning ERA is 7.71, second inning is 4.50, third and fourth innings 3.46 each and fifth, if he gets there, drops all the way to 1.54. That is wild! Can he just go extra hard in the bullpen before the game to simulate the first inning or something? Why am I the only person to notice or think of this? Clearly I must be or the Sox would have fixed it by now. They should read this column imho.

Old friend twice over (native, former Sox) Rich Hill makes the start for Tampa Bay, clocking in with a 3.64 ERA at age 41 thanks, as always to the lollipop curveball. Everybody loves Dick Mountain. With the big lefty on the mound, Alex Cora changes... nothing, running back yesterday’s lineup. That means Danny Santana’s batting leadoff again, people! Joy, joy, joy to the world. The Rays have Ji-Man Choi batting second with the rightly Richards on the mound, pushing Wander Franco down to third in his second major MLB game, which means he’ll still be up in the first inning no matter what. Hold on to your butts!

Game 74 at Rays

Lineup spot Red Sox Rays
Lineup spot Red Sox Rays
1 Danny Santana, CF Brandon Lowe, RF
2 Alex Verdugo, LF Ji-Man Choi, 1B
3 J.D. Martinez, DH Wander Franco, 3B
4 Xander Bogaerts, SS Austin Meadows, DH
5 Rafael Devers, 3B Randy Arozarena, LF
6 Hunter Renfroe, RF Joey Wendle, 2B
7 Christian Vázquez, C Manuel Margot, CF
8 Kiké Hernández, 2B Taylor Walls, SS
9 Bobby Dalbec, 1B Mike Zunino, C
SP Garrett Richards, RHP Rich Hill, LHP