ALDS Game 4: Red Sox at Rays - Peavy, Sox hope to advance, avoid Game 5

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Well, there has been an unexpected turn of events in the Red Sox-Rays ALDS.

Boston blew a 3-0 lead when Evan Longoria laced a three-run homer off Clay Buchholz. Tampa Bay then took a 4-3 lead before the Sox tied the game in the ninth off close Fernando Rodney and his crooked hat.

In the bottom of the ninth, however, Jose Lobaton hit a walk-off bomb to send the few Rays fans into a frenzy and keep their postseason hopes alive for one more day.

The Red Sox still own a 2-1 series lead and have a second chance to clinch tonight with Jake Peavy on the mound for Game 4. Pending the outcome of the two ALDS games today, the ALCS matchup may be solved. Oakland has a chance to win its series in Detroit, which their Game 4 will finish around the start time of the Sox-Rays game.

Peavy hasn’t been spectacular, but went 4-1 in 10 starts with the Red Sox. He is also the owner of a cigar-bearing chief, a good-luck charm of sorts. Red Sox Nation hopes some of that luck rubs off on Peavy tonight and Boston can start settling in back home for Game 1 of the ALCS and not a decisive Game 5 against the Rays.

Here is the lineup for the Red Sox tonight (first pitch – 8:37 pm EDT; TV – TBS):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Nava, LF
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Drew, SS
9. Middlebrooks, 3B

Peavy, P

The Rays are opting for Jeremy Hellickson instead of bringing Matt Moore back on short rest to counter Peavy on the bump. Hellickson went 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA. Hellickson went 1-0 in three starts against the Red Sox this year. He allowed three runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings in his most recent start on Sept. 12, a 4-3 Rays win.

Ells makes history
Another three-hit night for Boston’s leadoff man put Jacoby Ellsbury into rare air in Red Sox lore. Ellsbury joined Kevin Youkilis and Nomar Garciaparra as the only Red Sox players with back-to-back three-hit games in the postseason.

Rays not quitting
For the fourth straight time, the Rays won an elimination game this season. Tampa needed a win on the final Sunday of the regular season to keep their postseason chances alive, then defeated Texas in Arlington in Game 163 for the final Wild Card spot. The Rays moved on to Cleveland for the Wild Card game, where they beat the Indians to set up this ALDS pairing with Boston. After falling behind 0-2 in the series, Tampa Bay had its back against the wall, but prevailed once again in Game 3. The Rays will get a chance to go 5-0 and set up Game 5.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

Like what you read? See more from Ben here.
Have a question or comment for Ben? Give him a shout on Twitter: @thebenwhitehead