BOS-NYY G3: Big lineup changes for Red Sox
After the Yankees earned a much-needed split in Boston with a 6-2 win in Game 2, the Red Sox now need to go to New York and do the same if this series is to return to Fenway Park for a winner-take-all Game 5. And let's face it -- it would only be fitting for this series to go the distance, just as it did when the clubs matched up in the ALCS in 2003 and 2004.
"I think you know it's a series that's capable of going the distance," said Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts. "I don't think you expect to sweep. You've got two great teams here, it's a best-of-five. It's going to be fun."
Here is your primer for Game 3, which will take place tonight at Yankee Stadium.
What do the starting lineups look like?
Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora makes major changes for Game 3, going with new faces at second base, third base and catcher. Brock Holt, one of Boston's best hitters in September (.354/.456/.667), will replace Ian Kinsler at second. Rafael Devers takes over for Eduardo Nunez at third and Christian Vazquez is in for Sandy Leon behind the plate. Kinsler, Nunez, and Vasquez all started the first two games in Boston. The other notable change is that Steve Pearce -- who normally only starts against lefties -- will be at first base in place of Mitch Moreland, who left Game 2 with a hamstring injury. With right-hander Luis Severino starting, Moreland would typically be in the lineup, and it's unclear what his status is as a reserve for this game and beyond.
:: ALDS schedule and results ::
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Rafael Devers, 3B
6. Steve Pearce, 1B
7. Brock Holt, 2B
8. Christian Vazquez, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Yankees: The state of Aaron Hicks' tight right hamstring was about the only question remaining for manager Aaron Boone as he looked toward his Game 3 lineup. Hicks, who had an MRI on Saturday in Boston that revealed no strain, isn't in the starting lineup but Boone said he is available off the bench and is more of an option than he was for Game 2. With Hicks unable to start, Brett Gardner again assumes the duties in center field.
1. Andrew McCutchen, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Luke Voit, 1B
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Gary Sanchez, C
7. Miguel Andujar, 3B
8. Gleyber Torres, 2B
9. Brett Gardner, CF
Who are the starting pitchers?
Red Sox: The original plan was for righty Rick Porcello to draw the start in Game 3, but the Red Sox announced on Sunday that Nathan Eovaldi will get the nod instead. Eovaldi has pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings against the Yankees since joining Boston in July. Whichever righty doesn't start Game 3 will likely get the nod in Game 4.
Yankees: There had been days, if not weeks, or debate in advance of the AL Wild Card Game before Boone and his staff finally decided to hand the ball to Severino (19-8, 3.39 ERA), citing a high-octane arsenal that could overpower the Athletics' bats in the one-game playoff. Severino gave his club what they needed, striking out seven over four scoreless innings before handing the game off to the bullpen.
The All-Star right-hander will accept a new challenge tonight, taking on a Red Sox team against whom he has gone 2-2 with a 3.56 ERA in five starts this season. The most recent of those outings came on Sept. 19 in New York, when Severino hurled seven innings of one-run, six-hit ball to pick up his 18th victory.
In fact, Severino pitched well against Boston all three times that he faced them in New York, also ringing up quality starts on May 8 and July 1. His losses against the Red Sox both came at Fenway Park, where he gave up five runs on April 10 and four runs on Aug. 3. Overall, Severino was 10-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 15 regular-season starts at Yankee Stadium.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Red Sox: If there was a bright spot for the Red Sox in Game 2, it was that their much-maligned bullpen came through, with the exception of Eduardo Rodriguez serving up a three-run homer to Sanchez in the seventh. The other four relievers (Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, Brandon Workman, Richard Hembree) combined to throw 5 2/3 shutout innings.
All hands will be on deck for Game 3, including, at least, possibly, David Price. The lefty volunteered his services after taking a shellacking while losing his start in Game 2. It seems more likely Cora would hold Price out for Game 4, or, more ideally, Game 5. Price has struggled mightily at Yankee Stadium the last three seasons (0-6, 9.79 ERA in six starts). Though Price's October woes as as starter are no secret to anyone, he has actually fared well in the 'pen, going 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA.
• Red Sox will look to Price for relief vs. Yankees
Yankees:Dellin Betances placed his hands upon his head when Ian Kinsler connected with a seventh-inning drive in Game 2, striking the Green Monster for a run-scoring double. Aside from Chad Green allowing a pair of inherited runners to score in Game 1, that has been the only blip this series for a powerful Yankees bullpen that has lived up to its billing. The crew worked six scoreless behind J.A. Happ in the opener and four innings of one-run ball behind Masahiro Tanaka in Game 2.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Red Sox: With the off-day on Sunday, Cora should have everyone available for Game 3. Due to the Red Sox trailing for the entire game, closer Craig Kimbrel never pitched in Game 2. Expect Cora to rely on him heavily in Game 3.
Yankees: Thanks to Sunday's off-day, the Yankees' relief crew should be rested and ready. Betances might not be available for multiple innings after throwing 28 pitches in Game 2, though Boone certainly would not hesitate to use him for at least one inning.
Any injuries of note?
Red Sox: Moreland is iffy for Game 3, thanks to the hamstring injury he suffered running first to home on a double by Kinsler in Game 2.
Yankees: Hicks will receive treatment for his right hamstring during Sunday's off-day, though considering he was able to go through a relatively normal warmup prior to Game 2, all signs point to Hicks returning to the lineup for Game 3.
Who is hot and who is not?
Red Sox: Shortstop Bogaerts, who belted a solo homer in Game 2, continues to be a force for the Red Sox. In his last 64 at-bats, he has a line of .344/.397/.594 with four homers and 15 RBIs. Leon, meanwhile, continues to have epic struggles at the plate. He has just two hits in his last 45 at-bats.
Yankees: Judge has homered in three consecutive postseason games and is 7-for-12 (.583) this postseason. Voit is batting .389 (21-for-54) with seven homers and 20 RBIs in his last 14 games, dating back to the regular season. Stanton struck out four times in ALDS Game 1 and is 2-for-10 against Boston pitching in the series, though he mashed Red Sox hurlers (1.123 OPS) during the regular season.
Anything else fans might want to know?
The pressure was clearly on the Yankees entering Game 2. Now, it has shifted to the Red Sox. In the history of five-game series with the 2-2-1 format, when the first two games are split, the club heading home for Games 3 and 4 has gone on to take the series 21 of 33 times (64 percent). And the Yankees have won each of their last seven postseason games played at Yankee Stadium.