W2W4: ALDS Game 4 -- Red Sox at Rays

October, 8, 2013
10/08/13
9:00
AM ET
• When and where: Tropicana Field, Tuesday at 8:37 p.m. ET

• Starting pitchers: Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 5.17 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17 ERA)

Hellickson
• Scouting report on Hellickson: Rays manager Joe Maddon’s decision to go with Hellickson over successful rookie Chris Archer (9-7, 3.22 ERA in 23 starts) in Game 4 of the ALDS came as a shock to many last week. Even to Hellickson.

“I was surprised a little bit,” Hellickson said. “I know that what I did the last two months didn't sit too well with the guys making the decision. And I was very happy that they still had confidence in me going out there in a playoff game.”

After going 8-2 in 11 June and July starts, Hellickson struggled mightily in the last two months of the season, posting an ERA of 7.02 and only making it through five innings in three of his final 10 starts. The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year was sent down to High-A Charlotte on Aug. 27 before being recalled a week later following September’s roster expansion.

Having not pitched in a game since Sept. 27, Maddon feels the extra rest will serve Hellickson well come Tuesday. Hellickson has made 17 career starts with six or more days of rest, going 8-4 with a 2.42 ERA in those games. He had 91 strikeouts and 36 walks in 104 innings.

“What we believe and feel is when he's given rest and actually extended rest he normally comes back pretty well,” Maddon said. “This is a pretty good rest he's had between the last time he pitched and the time he's going to start next.”

In three starts against Boston this season, Hellickson went 1-0, making the Red Sox the only team he faced multiple times and didn’t lose to. In his career, Hellickson has gone 4-2 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 starts against the Red Sox.

Hellickson has never started a postseason game.

Peavy
• Scouting report on Peavy: Acquired by the Red Sox from the Chicago White Sox a day before the July 31 trade deadline to fill the void left by an injured Clay Buchholz, Peavy has done everything asked of him, going 4-1 in 10 starts and providing a reliable pitching option every five days.

However, Tuesday will mark the first time Peavy has ever been asked to start a postseason game mid-series.

“It does [feel different], I guess, starting a bit later,” Peavy said. “I’ll be excited to pitch but there won’t be any crazy nerves or any crazy excitement.”

Peavy started Game 1 of the 2005 and 2006 NLDS for the San Diego Padres opposite Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals each time, dropping both decisions and being hammered for a combined 19 hits and 13 runs in 9 2/3 innings. He was pitching through injuries in both cases.

The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner will be making his first start since Sept. 25. In 46 career starts with six or more days of rest, Peavy is 26-11 with a 3.31 ERA.

“I’ve just done everything I could possibly do to keep [my] feel,” Peavy said. “If you watched [John] Lackey the other day (seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings), I think you saw that a layoff can affect your feel and command a little bit. But at the end of the day there will be no excuse. I'll get out there and figure out a way to get it done just as John did.”

Peavy has gotten it done against the Rays in his career going 3-1 in six starts, including 1-0 in two starts this season.

Three Rays players to watch

Loney
James Loney, 1B: Having played in the same division for three and a half years, Loney’s 32 plate appearances are by far the most against Peavy among Rays hitters. Loney has gotten the better of the matchup over the years with 10 hits and two home runs in 31 at-bats. Loney has been the hottest Rays hitter in the playoffs. He is 6-for-12 in the Rays' four postseason games this season (three against the Sox and the wild-card game Texas).

Jose Lobaton, C: Following a walk-off homer from Lobaton in Monday’s Game 3 win and another hitless night from regular catcher Jose Molina, Maddon may make the decision to switch the catchers' roles for Tuesday’s game. Both Lobaton and Molina have been ineffective against Peavy in their careers, Lobaton 0-for-5 and Molina 0-for-6.

David DeJesus, LF: Hitting leadoff against Buchholz on Monday, DeJesus had a successful night, going 2-for-3 with a double. His ability to hit tough right-handed pitching will be necessary again on Tuesday as Peavy has held DeJesus to only three hits and eight strikeouts in 22 at-bats.

Three Red Sox players to watch

Middlebrooks
Will Middlebrooks, 3B: Hellickson has dominated Middlebrooks, holding the third baseman to only hit while striking him out eight times in 12 at-bats.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C: Saltalamacchia has faced Hellickson a total of 30 times, hitting .320 (8-for-25) while blasting three home runs, the most he’s had against any pitcher in his career. Twelve of Salty’s 14 home runs this season came against right-handed pitching.

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: As long as Ellsbury continues to keep hitting, the Red Sox continue to keep scoring. Ellsbury has a postseason-high eight hits in three games so far and has scored six runs, also tops among postseason hitters. Ellsbury has six hits in 23 at-bats against Hellickson.

Three key considerations:

• Rays rookie outfielder Wil Myers was pulled in the eighth inning of Monday’s game after cramping in both his legs required IV treatment. Myers said after the game that he expects to play Tuesday. The 22-year-old is still hitless in 12 at-bats in this series.

• Maddon told reporters on Saturday that Game 2 starter David Price will get the start at Fenway Park on Thursday if the Rays are able to force a Game 5. Game 1 starter Matt Moore will be moved to the bullpen as insurance for the remainder of the series.

• After throwing 28 pitches in one inning pitched on Monday, Rays left-handed reliever Jake McGee is expected to be unavailable Tuesday.

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