Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox begins Friday at Fenway Park, where the rain and clouds are just now disappearing to make room for sun and afternoon shadows.
The division-winning Sox have home field advantage, so things kick off in Boston rather than at Tropicana Field in a battle of lefties. Jon Lester will take the mound for the Sox against the Rays' Matt Moore. Moore has been phenomenal on the road this season, posting a 2.74 ERA in 16 starts with the Rays going 14-2 in those contests, while Lester, excepting three June outings, has been his old, productive self for much of 2013.
Sox lineup: Ellsbury CF, Victorino RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Napoli 1B, Gomes LF, Saltalamacchia C, Drew SS, Middlebrooks 3B, Lester SP— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 4, 2013
The Sox are using a lineup people should be used to by now, with Shane Victorino higher up in the order with a lefty on the mound, and Jonny Gomes patrolling left for the same reason. Will Middlebrooks is hitting ninth, but that's just been his neighborhood since returning to the majors -- he's one of Boston's biggest power threats against southpaws.
The Rays similarly have no surprises here, though seeing Sean Rodriguez somewhere besides the bottom of the order is always jarring for the uninitiated.
Game 1 will begin at 3 pm on Friday, and can be seen on TBS.