No October skies for the next few days while the Rays are in Boston. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

After an ugly 14-6 loss on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays will look to get back on the winning side of the ledger in game three of the American League Division Series this afternoon, in Boston. The Rays and Red Sox enter play even at a game apiece after Boston hit five homers and scored 12 of the next 13 runs after Tampa Bay took a three-run, first-inning lead.

Brandon Lowe enters Boston mired in an 0-for-8 stretch to start in the ALDS, which has created a hole in the Rays lineup. However, in 16 career games at Fenway, Lowe is 24-for-54 with six home runs, five doubles, 16 RBI, and 11 walks. He’s struck out just 16 times in 69 plate appearances. That’s good for a .444 BA/.551 OBP/.870 SLG/1.421 OPS slash line. If ever there was ever a perfect place to break things open, it’s Fenway.

Every time we go there, I don’t know whether it’s the fans that they have that it makes such a good atmosphere or what it is, but I feel comfortable at the plate. There’s a good box there. There’s a good batter’s eye. I see the ball well, and when there’s a wall [the Green Monster] 300 feet away, it makes it a little bit easier on a lefty. I can get jammed or I can get beat and still kind of filet one the other way and hopefully, it bangs off that wall.

— Brandon Lowe

The Rays could make a roster move prior to Sunday’s contest depending upon how Matt Wisler feels.

Wisler surrendered a single and a three-run homer in the fifth inning on Friday, and Rays manager Kevin Cash confirmed that he (Wisler), again, felt the right middle finger inflammation that sidelined him for a month across two Injured List stints.

The right-hander threw off the mound Saturday during the Rays’ light, optional workout in Boston. Cash said Wisler will be reevaluated prior to game time. With a bullpen game looming in the fourth game of the series Monday, the Rays will likely have to make a decision on whether Wisler will be placed on the IL for the third time season.

It’s just an issue that he’s going to have. He’s been managing. We’re going to sit and talk to him and see how he can manage it. I think it’s good that he’s coming today (to) play catch, and then we’ll go from there. We’ll probably sit down and see where we’re at.

— Kevin Cash, on Saturday

If Tampa Bay removes Wisler from the ALDS roster due to injury, they could replace him with another player — possibly right-hander Nick Anderson or Louis Head — for the rest of this series. Should they advance pst Boston, they would not be able to put Wisler on the Championship Series roster. He, however, could return for the World Series if the Rays advanced to that point.

THE NEW WHAT NEXT

As expected, Drew Rasmussen (4-0, 2.44 ERA) will get the start for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Nathan Eovaldi (11-9, 3.75 ERA).

Drew Rasmussen hurled five scoreless frames during which he allowed one hit and no walks while striking out two Astros. Rasmussen held Houston without a baserunner for 4.1 frames before Yuli Gurriel broke through with a single. Rasmussen completed the inning without surrendering any damage on the scoreboard. He threw only 54 pitches (42 strikes, 78% strike rate, 17% StStr%) despite his dominance. Rasmussen finished his 2021 campaign with a 2.84 ERA and a 2.86 FIP, with a 1.08 WHIP, and a 2.92 K/BB across 76 innings. The right-hander has faced Boston five times this season as a starter or a reliever and has allowed just four runs across 15.2 innings (2.30 ERA). Overall, Red Sox hitters are 13-for-58 (.224) without a homer against Rasmussen.

Nathan Eovaldi allowed one run on four hits and no walks while striking out eight across 5.1 innings against the Yankees on Tuesday. Eovaldi tossed six scoreless frames in his final regular-season tuneup, and he maintained his success in his first postseason outing of the season. The right-hander exited the contest after he gave up a solo home run to Anthony Rizzo with one out in the sixth inning. Eovaldi finished his 2021 campaign with a 3.75 ERA and a 2.89 ERA, with a 1.19 WHIP, and a 5.57 K/BB across 182.1 innings. Key Matchups: Ji-Man Choi (5-19, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), Brandon Lowe (5-19, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB), Manuel Margot (2-7), Austin Meadows (7-21, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Francisco Mejía (2-7, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Joey Wendle (6-17, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, 2 BB)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup is below.

RAYS 10/10/21

  1. Lowe 2B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Meadows LF
  4. Cruz DH
  5. Choi 1B
  6. Arozarena RF
  7. Kiermaier CF
  8. Zunino C
  9. Wendle 3B
  10. Rasmussen RHP

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