Mike Brosseau admitted Thursday he was wondering a bit what kind of reception he might get from the fans at Yankee Stadium for the American League Division Series-deciding home run he hit off Aroldis Chapman.
Well, he’ll find out tonight, as he will be a somewhat surprise member of the Rays’ starting lineup for the opener of a three-game weekend series.
Brosseau also figures heavily into the subplot, as it was his head Chapman threw the 100.5 mph fastball at in the Sept. 2 game that amped up the animosity between the teams and led to the carryover in last weekend’s first meeting of this season, with Rays players getting hit in each game.
Manager Kevin Cash said he wanted Brosseau in the lineup to try to get the offense going, noting he brings energy and, more importantly, good at-bats.
Another factor is the uncertainty of the Yankees pitching plans, as they announced right-handed reliever Nick Nelson as the starter for what seems to be a bullpen day and called up right-hander Michael King.
The Rays are starting Michael Wacha after considering using an opener in front of him, as much because the bullpen is shorthanded as anything, Cash said.
Overall, Cash made clear after losing three straight and eight of 11 the Rays need to step up their performance. “We need to start playing better baseball,” he said.
* Brandon Lowe is the DH to get him off his feet but keep his bat in the lineup, Cash said.
* Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier (quad) felt good the day after an extensive workout with live at-bats and likely will do another workout on Saturday.
Here is the Rays lineup:
And here is the Yankees lineup:
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