Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup, pregame notes


Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup, pregame notes

BOSTON -- Today's lineup, and pregame notes courtesy of the Red Sox' P.R. department:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mike Aviles 3B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Conor Jackson LF
Darnell McDonald RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS

Tim Wakefield P

MR. 3,000
Todays starter, Tim Wakefield, owns a club-record 2,997.0 innings pitched with the Red Sox, three innings shy of becoming the first Boston hurler to reach the 3,000-inning plateau . . . Of the original 16 teams, Boston and Cincinnati are the only ones that have not had a pitcher work at least 3,000 innings.

Since July 1, Jacoby Ellsbury leads the majors with 44 extra-base hits and 181 total bases . . . In that time, his 18 homers are tied for third in the A.L. . . He is the only major-leaguer with 50 runs, 50 RBI and 35 extra-base hits since the start of July.
Mike Aviles went 3-for-4 yesterday and has hit safely his last eight starts since Aug. 18, batting .438 (14-for-32) . . . He is batting .361 (26-for-72) since joining the Red Sox on July 30, third-best clip in the A.L. in that time (min. 75 PA) . . . Aviles .361 batting average is the best by a player in his first 25 games with an at-bat to begin a Red Sox career since Sean Casey hit .378 (31-for-82) from March 26-June 6, 2008.

Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 30th save of the season Friday night . . . He became the first pitcher ever to record 30 or more saves in each of his first six full major-league seasons (2006-11) . . . He has not allowed a run in 22.0 innings over his last 21 games since July 17, with 28 strikeouts in that stretch . . . It is the longest active scoreless streak in the majors and matches the longest single-season scoreless run of his career, also 22.0 innings from May 4-June 26, 2006 . . . He has converted his last 25 save opportunities since May 13, the longest stretch of his career and the second-longest save streak in the A.L. this year.

Daniel Bard recorded his 32nd hold of the season on Friday night, second most in the A.L. to New Yorks David Robertson (33) . . . The 32 holds match Bards single-season club record, set last year . . . Bard is the only major-league pitcher with 30 or more holds in each of the past two seasons.

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.