American League Division Series Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, October 8th (All times Eastern)
Boston Red Sox (2-1) at Tampa Bay Rays (2-2), 8:37 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17) Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 5.17)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Despite a stunning loss on Monday the Boston Red Sox are still in the driver's seat of the American League Division Series. They'll try once again to close out the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 and move on to the ALCS Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay kept Boston's champagne on ice, as Jose Lobaton smacked a game- winning solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the die-hard Rays overcame a three-run deficit early on to pull out a dramatic 5-4 victory.
Lobaton's pinch-hit blast off Koji Uehara (0-1) enabled Tampa Bay to stave off elimination for the fourth time in nine days and bounce back from a pair one- sided defeats in the first two tests of this best-of-five set.
"Jose does have a flare for the dramatic," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's done that a couple of times now. A walk-off triple, two walk-off homers. It's incredible what he's done. What an interesting, wonderful game to stay solvent with."
Evan Longoria ignited the Rays' comeback with a game-tying three-run homer against Clay Buchholz in the fifth inning, and Tampa Bay survived a blown save from closer Fernando Rodney (1-0) in the top of the ninth to live another day.
James Loney went 3-for-3 in the win, with David DeJesus and Yunel Escobar each collecting two hits and a run scored for the Rays.
Jacoby Ellsbury finished 3-for-5 and scored twice for Boston, which had outscored its AL East rival by a 19-6 margin in the previous two meetings, while David Ortiz had an RBI single in the loss. Buchholz grinded through six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out five.
Boston is still firmly in control of this series, though, as teams up 2-1 in the Division Series format have gone 35-8.
"They are a resilient team. They said all year long they were going to keep coming," Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino said. "And we're still up 2-1. We are still in the driver's seat, we control our own destiny. We just got to go out there (Tuesday) and try to win another one."
Getting the call for the Red Sox on Tuesday will be righty Jake Peavy, who has won his last three decisions, but hasn't pitched since Sept. 25.
"Just doing everything I could possibly do to keep that feel," said Peavy, who has lost his only two postseason starts and has pitched to a 12.10 ERA in those outings. "If you watched (John) Lackey the other day, I think you saw the layoff can affect your feel and command a little bit. But at the end of the day, it will be no excuse. I'll get out there and figure out a way to get it done just as John did."
Peavy, who will be making his first postseason start since 2006, was acquired from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline and was 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 starts for the Red Sox.
"I fully expected we were going to win this game," said Peavy. "I relish the opportunity, without question. I hate this had to happen for that to happen. I'm happy to be the guy."
Peavy's also had success at the Trop, where he is 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA. In six starts versus the Rays, he is 3-1 with a 4.91 ERA.
"He's pitched well here in (St. Petersburg)," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He got three innings of work this past Wednesday, so even though it's been a number of days since his last start, we're looking forward to Jake being on the mound tomorrow. It's one of the main reasons we acquired him at the deadline, is to pitch in a game like tomorrow night."
Tampa, meanwhile, will turn to struggling righty Jeremy Hellickson, who endured a miserable campaign, going 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA - the second highest in the AL and more than two runs higher than last year. He also went 1-7 with a 7.53 ERA over his final 10 starts.
"Every elimination game we went into feels like just another game until we get out there and see the crowd and make some plays, and then we're a little more fired up. But we want to be in this situation," Hellickson said. "We know we can win three in a row. It's going to be difficult, but we know we can do it."
The former AL Rookie of the Year hasn't pitched since Sept. 27, but has posted a 2.42 ERA in 17 starts when pitching on six days of rest or more.
"I've got to be better. It's not fun what I did the last two months and the first two months," Hellickson said. "Like I said, I pride myself in going out there and being consistent, and I was anything but that. It was very frustrating.
"I'm glad it's behind me. Tomorrow is a new beginning, and I can't really dwell on what I did in the regular season too much. It wasn't my best, but I get another chance tomorrow."
Hellickson went 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA in three matchups with Boston this season.
Tampa actually beat the Red Sox in seven games back in 2008 to advance to the World Series in the only other postseason series between the clubs.
10/08 10:31:40 ET