While both the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles have clinched playoff spots, they remain tied atop the American League East Division with only three games remaining. As the two teams look to avoid the coin-flip Wild Card playoff game by winning the division outright, the Yankees play host to the Boston Red Sox and the Orioles travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays for the final three games of the regular season
With the Rays still technically in the mix for a post season spot, it’s expected that they’ll dress all of their regulars tonight to take on Baltimore. In fact, even if they weren’t still in it, Major League Baseball’s unwritten rules suggest that as the season winds down, eliminated teams are obligated to fill out the best line up possible when facing other clubs that are still in the playoff race.
However, Dustin Pedroia (thumb) and Jacoby Ellsbury (undisclosed) are both out with injuries tonight for the Red Sox, meaning that tonight’s lineup card will share a striking resemblance to one that might appear during Spring Training rather than early October.
1. Pedro Ciriaco 4 – .296/.315/.404 in 104 career games
2. Daniel Nava 7 – .245/.354/.375 line in 145 career games
3. Cody Ross 9 – .262/.324/.461 line in 884 career games
4. Mauro Gomez 3 – .273/.318/.414 line in 36 career games
5. Ryan Lavarnway DH – .183/.240/.306 line in 60 career games
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia 2 – .239/.303/.420 line in 471 career games
7. Danny Valencia 5 – 258/.298/.391 line in 281 career games
8. Che-Hsuan Lin 8 – .111/.111/.111 line in 8 career games
9. Jose Iglesias 6 – .143/.229/.222 line in 32 career games
I know anything can happen, but one would have to think that Yankees receive something of an advantage tonight going up against this competition, which likely doesn’t make the Orioles very happy.