Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Victorino accepts HBPs if it helps Red Sox win

BOSTON — Shane Victorino was hit by one pitch in the right arm and another in the ribs. That brought the total to four in four playoff games for the Red Sox outfielder, who was plunked an AL-high 18 times during the regular season.

"Any way to get on base," said Victorino, who also beat out an infield single to drive in the go-ahead run Tuesday night in Boston's 3-1, AL Division Series-clinching victory over the Rays.

"Do I want to get hit? No. But whatever it takes," said Victorino, who combined with leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury to reach base five times in the game. "Teams that win World Series, when the No. 1 and 2 guys are getting on, doing what they need to do, that's how you do it. … Whatever it takes to get on base."

Victorino will have plenty of time to rest his aching body after the Red Sox won in four games to advance to the ALCS. Boston plays the winner of tonight's game between the Athletics and Tigers.

The best-of-seven ALCS opens at Fenway Park on Saturday.

COMING UP EMPTY: The top of the lineups for both the Pirates and Cardinals struggled during the NLDS. Only St. Louis was able to compensate.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle stuck with Starling Marte and Neil Walker in the 1-2 spots even though they were a combined 1-for-31 going into the game, saying that moving them might send the wrong message. During Wednesday night's loss, they went 0-for-7 with a walk. Likely as a consequence, No. 3 hitter Andrew McCutchen didn't drive in a run in the series.

Meanwhile, St. Louis leadoff man Matt Carpenter went 0-for-4 Wednesday and finished 1-for-19 in the series.

LIKELY LESTER: LHP Jon Lester will probably start Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, Red Sox manager John Farrell said during his weekly Boston radio interview. "After we go from there, I think we'll take a look at things as we move forward," Farrell said.

ROTATION SET: The Dodgers, who clinched an NLCS berth Monday, used the extra rest to reset their rotation, with RHP Zack Greinke expected to start Game 1 on Friday and LHP Clayton Kershaw, who pitched on three days' rest Monday for the first time, set to go on regular rest in Game 2. The Cardinals hadn't announced their rotation by late Wednesday night, but they appear likely to open with either RHP Lance Lynn or RHP Joe Kelly, with ace RHP Adam Wainwright going in Game 3 on normal rest.

CONCERN OVER STARTER: If the A's advance to the ALCS, they might be without RHP Jarrod Parker. Parker showed signs of arm fatigue during Monday's Game 3 start, manager Bob Melvin told csnbayarea.com, and he wasn't sure Parker would be available if Oakland advanced.

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