Adrian Gonzalez, who exited Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays with a calf injury after homering, is starting at first base and batting third as the Rays and Red Sox begin a crucial four-game series at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
The Red Sox lead the Rays by four games in the wild card race.
With Gonzalez and David Ortiz in there, there are no surprises in either team’s lineups. Ortiz missed Boston’s previous two games due to back spasms.
The Rays are using the same nine they did Wednesday with the exception of having Desmond Jennings back in the leadoff spot. He was given last night off.
Tonight’s game is one of two in the series in which the Rays would seem to have a big advantage when it comes to pitching matchups. They’ll throw Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 2.96 ERA), while the Red Sox will counter with Kyle Weiland (0-1, 6.75 ERA). It’s a rematch of last Saturday’s game in St. Pete, which the Rays won 6-5 in 11 innings.
Here are the rest of the matchups:
Friday: James Shields (15-10, 2.70 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (12-5, 2.49 ERA)
Saturday: Jeff Niemann (10-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (15-7, 3.07 ERA)
Sunday: David Price (12-12, 3.34 ERA) vs. Tim Wakefield (7-6, 5.13 ERA)
As long as the Red Sox can win two out of four, they’ll be in great position with both teams having 10 games remaining. If the Rays can win three, then the last week and a half could get very interesting.
JaCoby Jones was called up by the Tigers and made his major league debut yesterday. His parents, from Mississippi, had to scramble to get to Detroit to watch their son in action, but it was well worth the scramble: young Mr. Jones had two hits and two RBI as the Tigers won.
Jones’ first hit was an RBI double which broke a tie. It also caused his mom to break into tears:
Baseball is weird. That could be the first hit in an illustrious big league career. It could also be his peak as a major leaguer. Nothing is ever guaranteed. But Jones and his folks have that moment forever.
I used to be pretty anti-wave because I thought it was kind of dumb and that spending effort on it and not on paying direct attention to the game was a failure of priorities. As has been the case with a lot of things in the past two or three years, however, I’ve lightened up about that. As a part of a larger change of heart in which I determined that hating what other people like and which doesn’t cause me or others harm is not generally worth my time, I’ve left the wave alone. I still think it’s rather silly, but if you wanna be silly at the ballpark, go on and do it. You paid your money to be there.
Not everyone feels this way, however. Including some players:
I dunno, man. The Mets had a lead after one inning and never relinquished it. I’m not sure when this wave went down, and I’ll grant that if it came at a super tense part of the game it would be more annoying. But the Mets are playing some great baseball right now and a well-loved player — Curtis Granderson — hit a couple of homers off the bench. Let ’em be happy, Noah.
UPDATE: This is part of a larger “ballpark rules” feature from SNY: