Rays-Red Sox G4 lineups, FAQ (7 ET, FS1)

October 11th, 2021

BOSTON -- The ingredients are there for another zany Fenway Park endeavor in Monday’s Game 4 of the American League Division Series. On a day for celebration in the greater Boston area, the Rays and Red Sox will return to the scene of Sunday’s 13-inning epic, each with designs upon pushing their respective seasons forward.

Despite the first 100-victory season in franchise history, the Rays’ backs are pressed against the wall, facing possible elimination. With a 2-1 series advantage, the Red Sox will have their home crowd rocking on Marathon Monday as they aim to advance to their first AL Championship Series since 2018.

“We’ve still got work to do,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’re in a great spot, but that’s a good [Rays] baseball team. Let’s be ready for tomorrow.”

When is the game and how can I watch it?
The game will air on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET on Monday. It is also available to stream on MLB.TV with authentication.

What are the starting lineups?

Rays: Manuel Margot started in Game 1, when the Rays knocked left-hander out in the second inning. But with E-Rod starting tonight, Rays manager Kevin Cash opted to keep hot-hitting Austin Meadows in the lineup, shifting Randy Arozarena to right field.

Red Sox: The revamped 1-2 combo of Kyle Schwarber and the red-hot Kiké Hernández at the top of the order continues to work well. Cora went back to Christian Vázquez behind the plate after having Kevin Plawecki back there for Nathan Eovaldi’s Game 3 start. Vázquez will certainly have confidence after ripping a walk-off homer to win Game 3. The Sox have 35 hits over the last two games, one of their best offensive grooves in a while.

Who are the starting pitchers?
Rays: The Rays on Monday morning named right-hander Collin McHugh as their Game 4 starter. McHugh, a reliever, is set to serve as an opener, a role he played seven times during the regular season. In those outings, McHugh allowed six hits and a walk and struck out 12 in 12 scoreless innings. The 34-year-old righty is coming off a rare hiccup in Game 2, however, when he gave up three runs on a pair of homers in 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. McHugh is more experienced than the Rays’ first three starters, having previously pitched in eight postseason games with the Astros from 2015-18. McHugh never pitched more than three innings this year, and his season-high pitch count was 56 on July 2. Expect him to face the Red Sox one time through the order, at most, before the Rays deploy an all-hands-on-deck bullpen game.

Red Sox: It was supposed to be Nick Pivetta, but that went out the window when the righty fired four scoreless innings in relief to get the win in Game 3. Cora will hand the ball to lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (13-8, 4.74 ERA during regular season), who will be determined to redeem himself after lasting just five outs and 41 pitches in Boston’s 5-0 loss in Game 1. Rodriguez will be on three days of rest, but that shouldn’t be an issue given his limited pitch count at Tropicana Field.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Rays: After McHugh, it’s anybody’s guess. Cash said every reliever who pitched one inning or “one-plus” in Game 3 should be good to go in Game 4, and right-hander Michael Wacha should be fresh enough to handle a few innings, if needed, after not pitching for two days. It’s an elimination game, so expect to see all the Rays’ top high-leverage arms at some point, including Andrew Kittredge, Pete Fairbanks and perhaps J.P. Feyereisen, Matt Wisler and JT Chargois. Cash said there would be “all hands on deck” Monday, including Game 1-2 starters Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz as well as Luis Patiño, who pitched the 13th on Sunday night.

Red Sox: Intrigue builds for the Red Sox. Will Cora use his top bullpen weapon in 25-year-old rookie Tanner Houck, or will he hold him out for a start in a potential Game 5? Chris Sale went only one inning in Game 2 and didn’t pitch in Game 3, and you can bet he’ll have his spikes on in case Cora needs him in this one. Garrett Whitlock, Boston’s most consistent reliever this season, threw just 17 pitches in Game 3, so he will likely be available. The same goes for the red-hot Ryan Brasier, who was sharp again in Game 3. Considering that Sunday’s game went 13 innings, Cora is actually in pretty good shape in the 'pen. Nathan Eovaldi, who threw 85 pitches in his latest strong October performance in Game 3 offered Cora an inning on Monday. It seems doubtful Cora will take him up on it, but the manager appreciated the righty's team-first attitude.

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Rays: Everyone will probably be available with the season on the line, but it’s hard to imagine Cash calling upon right-hander David Robertson on Monday after he threw 40 pitches in two innings on Sunday. Luis Patiño might have been an option to pitch multiple innings, and perhaps he still is, but he had to throw 15 pitches at the end of Game 3 and doesn’t have much experience bouncing back to work on consecutive days. And it’s still a question whether Wisler, who’s managing a recurring right middle finger injury, is capable of pitching on back to back days.

Red Sox: Pivetta won’t pitch. Other than that, all hands should be on deck for the Sox.

Any injuries of note?
Rays: None on the active roster. There’s still some concern about Wisler, who recorded four outs on seven pitches in Game 3, and how he’ll bounce back from the right middle finger inflammation he’s been managing for about two months. The Rays opted to keep him on the roster after he felt the issue in Game 2, however.

Red Sox: Hansel Robles had a subpar outing on Sunday, surrendering a 4-2 lead. He then vomited when he left the mound. Cora indicated the righty is under the weather, so it’s unclear whether he will be available.

Who is hot and who is not?
Rays: Franco has lived up to the moment in his first postseason, going 6-for-15 with two doubles and his first postseason home run in Game 3. Meadows has delivered in a limited role, going 2-for-5 with a double and a homer. Arozarena still feels like their biggest threat in October, and he’s gone 3-for-11 with a double, homer and as many walks (four) as strikeouts. On the flip side, Lowe is 0-for-14 with six strikeouts -- another dramatic postseason slump after an excellent regular season. Mike Zunino is just 1-for-12 with six strikeouts, and Kiermaier is 1-for-11, albeit with a double and two walks.

Red Sox: You can classify Hernández as very hot. The center fielder set a record with eight hits over the last two games, something that’s never been done in a single postseason before. Schwarber, who homered in Game 3, also continues to get big hits. Christian Arroyo, who didn’t play much down the stretch but is the starting second baseman for Boston in these playoffs, warmed up with three hits on Sunday. Devers, who is playing with discomfort in his right forearm, isn’t quite himself. He went 1-for-6 in Game 3 and is 3-for-16 in Boston’s four playoff games.

Anything else fans might want to know?
• Franco is the only player 20 years old or younger with multiple hits in his first three postseason games -- or even his first two. Miguel Cabrera owns the record for most multi-hit postseason games before turning 21, with five, followed by Juan Soto and Andruw Jones (four each) then Franco and Mickey Mantle (three).

• The Red Sox would love to avoid going to Tropicana Field for a winner-take-all game. They are a much better team at home, going 41-21 in their last 62 games at Fenway.

• The Rays have used four rookie pitchers this postseason, well short of the playoff-record seven they sent to the mound last year.