RAYS (1) @ RED SOX (1) - 3:07 pm CDT
Drew Rasmussen (76 IP - 1.4 fWAR, 3.09 FIP, 23.8% K)
Nathan Eovaldi (182.1 IP - 5.6 fWAR, 2.79 FIP, 25.5 K%)
Knowing Tampa Bay, the first inning will feature Drew Rasmussen, after which point manager Kevin Cash will trot out 16 pitchers to finish the rest of the game, none of whom you’ve ever heard of, and all of whom will combine for 24 strikeouts.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox trot out their ace in Nathan Eovaldi, who they acquired from the Rays in 2018. Instrumental to their championship that year, Eovaldi since signed a four-year deal with Boston; injuries and a pandemic-shortened season have somewhat beleaguered that arrangement, but Eovaldi bounced back to start a league-leading 32 games this year, and helped Boston duck past the Bronx Bombers in last week’s Wild Card Game.
It’s a big one as the series returns to Fenway; with each team needing two more wins, only one more contest can possibly be played at Tropicana Field. Neither team wants that to happen, but it would take a pair of hard-fought wins on either side to make that a reality.
Luis Garcia (155.1 IP - 3.1 fWAR, 3.63 FIP, 26.4 K%)
Dylan Cease (165.2 IP - 4.4 fWAR, 3.40 FIP, 31.9 K%)
It is officially do-or-die for the first time in the Division Series round. The White Sox were shut down 6-1 in the first game at Minute Maid Park, then knocked around to the tune of a 9-4 final in their second attempt at snagging an ALDS win. It’s time for Hall of Fame baseball person Tony La Russa to get his squad ready and rarin’ to go.
I’m still coming at you live from within the Chicago city limits — at least for another couple of weeks — so I can report a gloomy early-morning atmosphere with the threat of rain hopefully passing before tonight. Thousands of Chicagoans will be taking the red line southbound in all-black garb, once again creating the imposing, shadowed atmosphere of the blackout game at Guaranteed Rate.
Luis Garcia looks to lock it down for Houston and give them a chance to rest up for what would be their fifth(!) consecutive ALCS. In this, his official rookie season, he was a key cog in the Houston rotational machine, spinning 28 starts of high quality. Fun fact - he’s also the third such Luis Garcia active in Major League Baseball.
As far as I know, there’s only one Dylan Cease, who lead the league in wild pitches (13) and K/9 (12.3) in 2021. He faced the Houston lineup twice this season — Chicago lost both games. Cease and company will need to hope that third time’s the charm — lest their magical season be cut short tonight.
Will the Houston Astros complete the sweep?