Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

This article was printed from mlb, originally published .

Read more news at:

Lineup breakdown: AL Wild Card Game

A look at tonight's starting lineups in the NL Wild Card Game:


1. Michael Bourn, CF - This was a down year for Bourn both in terms of on-base percentage (.316) and stolen bases (23 in 25 attempts), and he's entering this game shortly after spraining his wrist and pulling up lame with a sore calf in the last week of the regular season.

2. Nick Swisher, 1B - A sore shoulder helped limit Swisher to a .220/.310/.370 slash line against right-handed pitching this season. And even in the midst of his September surge, those numbers were .190/.279/.293 against righties.

3. Jason Kipnis, 2B - Kipnis seemed to be hitting a wall early in September, but he hit .474 with a 1.249 OPS in his final five games of the season -- all must-win games for the Tribe.

4. Carlos Santana, DH - The switch-hitting Santana is slightly better against lefties (.864) than righties (.815) like Alex Cobb, but he also got hot in the last week (1.041 OPS).

5. Michael Brantley, LF - Probably the Tribe's most consistent pure hitter, Brantley hit .288/.336/.421 against right-handers.

6. Ryan Raburn, RF - The supersub winds up getting a start, and it's well-deserved. He has a .953 OPS against right-handers this year.

7. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS - The former All-Star had a disappointing year, all around. The vast majority of the switch-hitting Cabrera's power, though, comes from the left-hand side (.421 SLG vs. .363 against lefties), so this is at least a good matchup for him in that regard.

8. Yan Gomes, C - He's been a game-changer for the Indians at the plate and behind it (he threw out 38.3 percent of opposing baserunners). Will be interesting to see if the Rays test him.

9. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B - A surprise addition to the lineup, as Mike Aviles had been getting the bulk of playing time at the position during the season-ending surge. But Chisenhall's .583 slugging percentage vs. righties in September was the best mark on the club.

Danny Salazar, SP - The kid's 11th big league start is a big one. The Indians have removed the cuffs on him, pitch count-wise, and Terry Francona said a manager in this type of game has to resist the temptation to have too quick of a hook.


1. David DeJesus, LF - Like Young, DeJesus has turned out to be a savvy in-season acquisition for the Rays. He had a .241/.315/.418 slash line in September, a nice tonic given Matt Joyce's struggles.

2. Wil Myers, RF - Some rookies fade in September. Myers hit .308 with a .904 OPS. Splits don't matter much with Myers, but he's actually shown more power against the same arm side.

3. James Loney, 1B - Loney had a resurgent season guided mostly by a stellar first half, but he also finished strong, going 8-for-21 with three walks and four doubles in the last six games.

4. Evan Longoria, 3B - There was a period in late August/early September when Longo's bat was sagging and so were the Rays. But he came through when it mattered most with a huge night in the tiebreaker against Texas.

5. Ben Zobrist, 2B - Zobrist's versatility is an obvious asset, especially this time of year. He had just a .666 OPS over the last four weeks, but he is at his best against right-handers when batting from the left-hand side (.290 average, .817 OPS).

6. Desmond Jennings, CF - Jennings returned from a hamstring injury just in time to provide a spark in Game 163. In his last eight games of the season, he had a .571 OBP. Worth noting he has just four stolen bases since the end of July.

7. Delmon Young, DH - Raise your hand if you thought Delmon Young would be in the postseason this year. He revived his season with the Rays by showing a lot more patience than he ever has previously, drawing a walk every 11.6 plate appearances.

8. Yunel Escobar, SS - Escobar has just a .674 OPS against righties, and he had a .203/.315/.329 slash line in September.

9. Jose Molina, C - Molina hit .325 with three homers and 10 RBIs in September so the Rays are sticking with the hot hand.

Alex Cobb, SP - Cobb silenced the Indians over 7 1/3 innings in his previous start against them this season. Of course, that was six months and one concussion ago. But there's no denying the Rays feel good about having Cobb on the mound in this must-win. He has a 2.41 ERA and .219 average against in nine starts since his return from the DL.