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Tuesday’s wild card matchup preview

Sep 27, 2011, 1:13 AM EDT

Jeremy Hellickson Getty Images

With the AL wild card all knotted up and still just one game separating the Braves and Cardinals in the NL, here’s what we have to look forward to on Tuesday night.

AL wild card

Boston – Erik Bedard (5-9, 3.50 ERA)
Baltimore – Zach Britton (11-10, 4.44 ERA)

New York – Bartolo Colon (8-10, 4.02 ERA)
Tampa Bay – Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.90 ERA)

The Red Sox and Rays are all tied after Boston lost 6-3 and Tampa Bay won 5-2 tonight.

Bedard makes his second start since returning from knee and hip problems; he allowed four runs — one earned — in 2 2/3 innings against Baltimore last week. The Red Sox get to face a rookie they’ve handled very well so far; Britton is 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA and a 3/4 K/BB ratio in 6 2/3 innings in his two starts against the club. He has a 5.14 ERA in five September starts.

The Rays also have a favorable matchup, it would seem. Colon is winless since July and has a 6.64 ERA in four starts this month. He’s also 0-3 with a 6.60 ERA in three starts against Baltimore this year. Hellickson has a 2.28 ERA this month and a 2.50 ERA since the All-Star break. Plus, he faced the Yankees last week and allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

NL wild card

Philadelphia – Roy Oswalt (8-10, 3.86 ERA)
Atlanta – Derek Lowe (9-16, 4.92 ERA)

St. Louis – Jake Westbrook (12-9, 4.48 ERA)
Houston – Henry Sosa (3-5, 4.68 ERA)

Ideally, the Braves would wrap this one up Tuesday so that they wouldn’t have to send ace Tim Hudson to the mound on Wednesday.  For it to happen, Lowe will have to snap a skid that has seen him lose four straight.  His quality start last week against the Marlins (3 ER in 6 1/3 IP) was his first since Aug. 31. Oswalt was shaky in his last start, giving up six runs in 7 2/3 innings against the Nationals.  He’ll likely only throw five or six innings in this one. Oswalt is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the Braves this year, while Lowe is 1-3 with a 4.13 ERA in four starts versus the Phillies.

Of course, with a one-game lead, the Braves would need a win and a Cardinals loss to clinch. Westbrook will have something to say about that. He’s beaten the Astros both times he’s faced them this year, and he has a 2.61 ERA in four starts this month. Sosa will be making his first start against St. Louis since debuting last month. A product of the Jeff Keppinger deal, he’s turned in quality starts five of his last six times out. However, he’s also given up five homers in his last three starts.

  1. bigharold - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    Here’s to neither the Rays or the RS getting another win in the regular season and getting a preview of next year’s one and done WC format.

  2. Ick McWang - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    matthew, hellickson doesn’t have a 4.90 era, or he wouldn’t be in the running for rookie of the year…he’s 13-10 w a 2.90 according to

    • Ick McWang - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:47 AM

      and on top of that, most of his losses came with 3 runs or less scored against….with the yankees or red sox offense, he’s a 20 game winner as a rookie.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:56 AM

      Yep, thanks for catching that.

  3. proudlycanadian - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    I see a Ray of light at the end of the tunnel. I see calls for job terminations by the Boston Red Sox fans and a playoff game for the former Boston Braves.

  4. florida727 - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Matthew, what happens if the Rays and Red Sox finish tied. Playoff game where? I think the Rays are 12-6 v. Boston this year. Does that give them the playoff game in Tampa?

    • kopy - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      If what you are saying is true, that the Rays have a winning record against the Red Sox, then yes.

      You can thank the Minnesota Twins for that. In 2008 they played Game 163 in Chicago, even though they had a winning record on the season against the White Sox, because they lost a coin flip. That was the rule at the time for deciding home field advantage of a one game playoff, and they rightfully complained. The rule was changed next year, and against all probability the Twins were the immediate benefactors of the rule change when they finished with the same record as Detroit in the regular season and then hosted Game 163 in the dome because they had a winning record against the Tigers that year.

      • florida727 - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        Thanks “kopy”. Appreciate the knowledge. I thought that made sense, which of course I assumed also meant I would be wrong :) Should be an interesting couple of days…

  5. hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    This is really incredible that the Rays are still in this. With the exception of Longo overtaking Youk (although Youk was the All-Star), and the Sox moving Zobrist to right, the Rays do not have a single player that would start on either team. They have Kyle Farnsworth as the closer, and have started 3 rookie pitchers.

    Maddon has managed his pitching staff extremely well, making a terrible bullpen seem respectable by allowing his starters to pitch their maximum number of pitchers before removing them. His catcher and SS both have sub .200 averages, but he pulls the strings at the right times. Maddon is coach of the year, and second place is far behind.

    • hackerjay - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM

      I think at this point the Sox would gladly trade starting rotations, and in a 100 fewer games Desmond Jennings has already been significantly more useful then Crawford, giving the Rays three solid outfielders where the Sox only have one.

      • hittfamily - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Of course they would gladly trade rotations. However, Beckett and Lester are better than Niemann and Davis. Farnesworth, the Rays closer, would not even be the setup man on either the Yanks or Sox. Jennings has been great, but Crawford’s salary keeps Desmond on the bench. So by my count, the Rays have 3 better pitchers than the Sox, and that is the only place where they have an advantage.

        I was just making an observation how much weaker the Rays players are,not areguing what makes them successful.

  6. foreverchipper10 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Just another night of sweating these games out.

  7. housebroken dad - Sep 27, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    What would be the pitching matchup if Rays and Sox meet for #163 – would it be Lackey vs Davis? Oh boy…

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