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Rays report: Michael Perez behind plate, no Ji-Man Choi

Ryan Yarbrough will be on the mound to start against the Astros in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series.
The Rays' Michael Perez hits an RBI single during the second inning of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees last Wednesday in San Diego.
The Rays' Michael Perez hits an RBI single during the second inning of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees last Wednesday in San Diego. [ DENIS POROY | Special to the Times ]
Published Oct. 13, 2020|Updated Oct. 13, 2020

Having won the first two games despite being out-hit, the Rays tonight are looking to build their lead in the American League Championship Series to 3-0, with first pitch at 8:40 p.m.

The lineup has a slightly different look, with Michael Perez getting a start behind the plate ahead of Mike Zunino, who homered in Game 2 on Monday.

Rays manager Kevin Cash made a similar move during the best-of-five AL Division Series against the Yankees, starting Perez, and he delivered with two hits, including a home run.

And the Rays are not starting lefty swinging Ji-Man Choi against Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy, which is a bit of surprise. Choi had sat out at the end of the regular season with a hamstring strain. Yandy Diaz is at first base.

Cash said Choi is fine, and it was more a matter of getting Diaz in the lineup as they are facing right-handers for three straight days. And Cash did note that Urquidy is about equal stats-wise against right- and left-handed hitters. Cash said Choi will be available to hit or play defense later in the game.

The Rays decided to start lefty Ryan Yarbrough rather than use him behind an opener, as they did in Game 4 of the Division Series, primarily so they could try to limit the load on the bullpen, having the potential of seven games in seven days and already using it to cover eight innings.

The Astros also are using their backup catcher, Dustin Garneau.

Here is the Rays lineup:

Meadows DH

Arozarena lf

B. Lowe 2b

Diaz 1b

Wendle 3b

Margot rf

Kiermaier cf

Adames ss

Perez c

Yarbrough p

And here is the Astros lineup:

Springer cf

Altuve 2b

Brantley lf

Bregman 3b

Correa ss

Tucker rf

Gurriel 1b

Diaz dh

Garneau c

Urquidy p