Sport Inside the Thrilling and Super Fun Red Sox–Rays ALDS
As MLB brings 'Field of Dreams' to life: Here's 6 other iconic venues we want to see a game
What if sporting events were played at sites made famous on the big screen? Here's a few ideas: Boxing at the Colosseum Commodus may not appear in the emperor's chair to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down like he did in "Gladiator," but this would still be an iconic place for two fighters to face each other in the ring. It would prove tough to strengthen the infrastructure to seat thousands of people and construct a sturdy ring, all while preserving thousands of years of history. But the spectacle (imagine Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor-level hype) would be worth it.
What a series. We typically reserve that summation for playoff series that go the full five or seven games, because there’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of a winner-take-all game to decide an exciting matchup. But the Red Sox–Rays ALDS, which ended in four games with, was the exception to the going-the-distance rule. This series had everything we could’ve hoped for.
First came the setup: This series featured two intradivision foes that faced each other 19 teams in the regular season, with Tampa Bay winning 11 of them. In five of the last six years, either the Red Sox or Rays finished first in the AL East. Chaim Bloom, Boston’s chief baseball officer, was hired after the 2019 season because of his success as second in command in Tampa Bay’s front office. Three key members of the Red Sox—second baseman Christian Arroyo, right fielder Hunter Renfroe and starter Nathan Eovaldi—all previously played for the Rays, while Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash spent three seasons as a glove-first, light-hitting backup catcher with Boston. Collin McHugh, a former starter who’s resurrected his career as a two-inning spinmaster with the Rays, signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox for the '20 season before ultimately opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tampa Bay signed him this February.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole pulled after six outs in AL wild-card game: 'Sick to my stomach'
Gerrit Cole, the Yankees ace, lasted only six outs against the Red Sox in the AL wild-card game. "I didn't perform the way I wanted to," he said.That’s all the New York Yankees received from their $324 million ace, at their most needful hour.
Then came the action:, knocking starter Eduardo Rodriguez from the game in the second inning and cruising behind rookie Shane McClanahan to an easy 5–0 win. They also looked to be in control of the second game, when Jordan Luplow crushed a first-inning grand slam off ace Chris Sale, who didn’t come back out to the mound for the second.
But things turned quickly, as they do in the best of series. Game 2 ended in a Red Sox 14–6 win, as their lethal lineup——erupted against the AL’s best bullpen. for which this series will be remembered, and it featured the requisite highlight play—the that bounced off the right-field wall, ricochet off Renfroe and went into the Boston bullpen. What, at best, could be described as divine intervention but is probably better summed up as an unfortunate defensive gaffe actually went in favor of the team whose player made the blunder. Because the ball, no longer in flight after hitting the fence, deflected off Renfroe, who never had possession of it, went out of play, the batter Kevin Kiermaier had to halt at second and Yandy Díaz, who easily would’ve scored the go-ahead run from first base on the play, could advance no further than third. The Red Sox got out of the game and then walked it off on Christian Vázquez's two-run dinger over the Green Monster.
MLB Roundtable: ALDS Predictions
Astros or White Sox? Rays or Red Sox? Our experts make their picks. Three of the four remaining American League teams made it to the World Series in each of the last four seasons. The Astros, who host the White Sox on Thursday afternoon, won it all in 2017 and lost the 2019 World Series. The Red Sox beat the Dodgers in 2018, while their opponent Thursday night, the Rays, lost to the Dodgers in last year's Fall Classic. While these three teams have cycled through players, coaches and front office personnel, they do have some of the experience necessary to make it through the AL bracket.
didn’t have the or the Bizarre Play You’d Never Seen Before to make it an instant classic. But it did follow the pattern of Boston’s season: early lead, second-half collapse, final play that allowed the team to advance.
The Red Sox are the first team of this postseason to make it through the Division Series. They’ll next play on the road Friday against the winner of the. currently leads that series, 2–1, with Game 4 set for this afternoon as the first of today’s three games. Sounds like a great day of baseball. Let’s have some more fun.
1. THE OPENER
“The game was tense, punctuated with moments of sloppiness, teetering on the edge of what would have been a remarkable blown lead. But none of that mattered in the end for the Red Sox.”
That’s how Emma Baccellieri. Really, just swap out “game” with “season” and that sentence could just as easily describe the Red Sox this year. Last night’s game was a perfect encapsulation of Boston this season, of what this team does well, the holes it still has and how it projects moving forward.
2021 MLB playoffs: Red Sox vs. Rays odds, ALDS Game 1 picks, predictions from expert on 31-19 run
Larry Hartstein, who is on a 31-19 run picking Red Sox games, just locked in his ALDS Game 1 best betsThe Rays are listed as -153 money line favorites, and first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET. The total number of runs Vegas thinks will be scored, or the Over-Under, is eight in the latest Red Sox vs. Rays odds. Before making any Rays vs. Red Sox picks or MLB playoff predictions, you need to see what red-hot SportsLine expert Larry Hartstein has to say.
Read Emma’s entire story.
Miss some or all of last night’s NLDS Game 3 between the Giants and Dodgers? We’ve got you covered:
by Stephanie Apstein
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford combined his own experience and athletic ability with his team's analytical insight to produce a game-saving play against the Dodgers.
Need to get caught up on the ALDS between the Astros and White Sox before that series continues today? Here’s what’s happened so far:
by Tom Verducci
Chicago's Game 3 victory over Houston produced a bunch of historical oddities that indicate how this series could turn around.
by Tom Verducci
Carlos Correa's clutch double off Craig Kimbrel is the biggest of many reminders of why Houston succeeds in October.
by Tom Verducci
Houston’s righthander has become the kind of rock-solid reliable starter every team needs to win a championship.
Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff share photo on opposite sides of Giants-Dodgers rivalry for MLB playoffs
VP Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff have spoken in the past on the rivalry in the household. Harris is a Giants fan, Emhoff a Dodgers fan.Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff have differing opinions on the matchup and Emhoff shared a photo of the couple each wearing the gear of their preferred team – Harris the Giants and Emhoff the Dodgers.
3. WORTH NOTING
Tom Verducci writes: The Rays love their high fastballs with run, and with their season on the line they stuck to their strength. Tampa Bay threw fastballs on 32 of the final 37 pitches of their season, including 20 of 24 in the final two innings in their. There were just five pitches between 84 and 87 mph. The other 32 all were 92–98.
Stephanie Apstein writes: You plan for the wind to affect the game in San Francisco. You do not expect the same in Los Angeles. “I hardly even remember a light breeze here most nights,” said, who has played 78 games at Dodger Stadium. Gusts reached 45 mph; the ball boys and girls spent more time corralling trash than snaring errant balls. The foul poles swayed. At one point, was nearly blown off the mound. At least three drives that are home runs here on any other night died on or before the warning track, two by the Dodgers and one by the Giants. “It was huge,” said L.A. manager Dave Roberts. “Those two balls right there, it would have been a different outcome. But those are the elements that both teams had to play with, and that's baseball.” Fortunately for everyone, the forecast for tonight’s Game 4 appears to be clear.
Jim Kaat apologizes for bizarre '40 acres' comment about Yoán Moncada during MLB playoff game
Kaat, 82, was calling Friday's game between the Astros and White Sox when he started talking about Chicago's Yoan Moncada.The booth, consisting of Bob Costas as the announcer joined by Buck Showalter and Jim Kaat, discussed White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada as he stepped to the batter's box for his first at-bat of the game Friday. Showalter, the longtime MLB manager, commented on Moncada's physique.
4. WHAT TO WATCH FOR from Will Laws
Today will be the last time this year we can watch three MLB games on the same day, so make the most of it and set up your remote workstation in front of the TV if you can. After Astros–White Sox Game 4 was delayed Monday due to inclement weather, Houston will see if it can close out Chicago on the road at 2 p.m. ET on FS1. The Braves will then try to become the first NL team to clinch a Championship Series berth. They face the Brewers at Truist Park in Atlanta at 5 p.m. ET on TBS. They’ll be followed by Giants-Dodgers at 9 p.m. ET on TBS, with the defending champions looking to stave off elimination at home in Los Angeles.
Let’s take a look at today’s first NLDS game:
The Braves and Brewers have combined for just nine runs thus far, making their matchup the lowest-scoring division series in league history through three games,. Milwaukee’s lineup has been especially inept, with Rowdy Tellez’s two-run homer in Game 1 counting as the Crew’s only run-scoring hit through three games. Could manager Craig Counsell adjust his starting lineup Tuesday to try to spark an offense that hasn’t produced a run in 19 innings? It’s not as if there’s an obvious name to blame above the rest—every Brewers regular has at least one hit, but shortstop Willy Adames, with four, is the only player with more than two. One candidate to be replaced is Lorenzo Cain, who’s 1-for-9 with a walk in this series and crashed into a stanchion in center field yesterday while trying to make a catch—an unfortunate event that the 35-year-old admitted may leave him sore Tuesday. It could make sense to hand a start to Tyrone Taylor, who outhit Cain during the regular season.
Should We Blame La Russa for White Sox’ Struggles?
No matter what happens in the two games today, three of the four Division Series will see Game 4. The Red Sox’ bats erupted against the Rays’ deep pitching staff to even the series Friday night. Last night, the Braves won Pitchers Duel Part II with the Brewers, shutting out Milwaukee, 3–0, behind Max Fried’s six innings and nine Ks. The final game of the night, between the Dodgers and Giants, started out close enough before Cody Bellinger and A.J. Pollock ripped things open in the sixth with back-to-back two run doubles.And then there are the White Sox, who’ve looked completely overmatched so far in their two losses to the Astros.
Counsell has ruled out a start on short rest byin Game 4. Even with Milwaukee’s back up against the wall, its starters are ill-prepared to go on three days’ rest after being part of a six-man rotation with five days’ rest for most of the season. So instead, on the mound for the Brewers today will be lefty Eric Lauer, who’s one of their two players not to enter a game yet and the only starter who could go on full rest. Lauer effectively handled hitters on both sides of the plate this season (righties: .641 OPS, lefties: .635 OPS) and quietly ranked in the top 10 in the second half (min. 60 IP) with a 2.60 ERA. But if Atlanta’s righty-heavy lineup can jump on Lauer, it’ll put a ton of pressure on Milwaukee's offense, which is 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position thus far.
5. THE CLOSER from Emma Baccellieri
The Rays’ bullpen has been one of their biggest assets all year; indeed, it’s been among the strongest in baseball. (Their 3.24 relief ERA was best in the AL and their 3.36 K/BB was best in MLB.) But the emphasis on their ‘pen all year might have overshadowed just how little they had in the way of starting pitching depth. Sure, that’s naturally less of a focus when you have a relief corps this strong and with the ability to take up so many innings. (Tampa Bay’s bullpen was the only one in baseball to end the season with more than 700 IP.) But there’s still much to be said for keeping choices open in terms of your starters, and with their season on the line, the Rays didn’t have that. It was always going to be hard to figure out a pitching plan for a do-or-die game the day after a. (It was for the Red Sox, too!) But it didn’t have to be this hard. Having just one more serious starter—like, say, , whom they let go this winter, or Rich Hill, whom they traded for next to nothing in July?—might have made a real difference in the outcome here.
That’s all from us today. We’ll be back in your inbox tomorrow. In the meantime, share this newsletter with your friends and family, and tell them to sign up at. If you have any questions for our team, send a note to .
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