By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Red Sox and Rays was an incredible spectacle. It was also a bit taxing.READ MORE: Richard Seymour 'Ecstatic' To Take Place In Patriots Hall Of Fame
The visiting Rays got just two innings out of starter Drew Rasmussen, ultimately using nine pitchers in the losing effort.
The Red Sox got five innings out of starter Nathan Eovaldi, thus limiting them to only needing six pitchers. But one of those relievers was Nick Pivetta, who had been slated to start Monday night’s Game 4.
So, with all of that in mind, who will actually be starting for these teams when they take the field on Monday night at Fenway?
Nobody knows for sure.
The Red Sox will likely go with Eduardo Rodriguez. He’s certainly well-rested … but that’s largely because he only lasted 1.2 innings in Game 1 on Thursday. He was ineffective that night, allowing two runs on two hits with two walks before getting the hook. In four regular-season starts vs. the Rays, he was 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA this year. He essentially had three good starts (2.60 ERA, averaging 5.2 IP) and one disastrous start (six earned runs off eight hits in 3.2 IP) … and that ugly start was his final one of the regular season vs. the Rays.
That one-two punch doesn’t inspire too much confidence in Rodriguez vs. the Rays, but manager Alex Cora may have to go that way for Game 4.
“Not yet,” Cora said when asked after the 13th-inning win if he knew his starter for Game 4. “But most likely it’s going to be Eddie.”READ MORE: Gotham Chopra Sheds New Light On Russell Westbrook In SHOWTIME Doc: 'People Think He's Raw Emotion, There's A Lot Of Layers There'
Chris Sale, who flopped in Game 2 as the starter, was also available in the bullpen in Game 3. One might assume he could get his second chance as a reliever. For what it’s worth, he did have a 2.48 ERA in six starts at home this year, compared to a 4.61 ERA on the road.
For the Rays, it’s a bit more complicated. Tampa had planned on going with a bullpen game for this one, a goal that becomes a bit more challenging with the work required of the bullpen on Sunday.
But Rays manager Kevin Cash expressed optimism that a number of the pitchers he used in Game 3 will be ready to go in Game 4.
“I’m sure we’ll have a lot of discussions into the night and into [Monday]. Confident everybody that threw one or one-plus is fine to bounce right back,” Cash said.
Cash noted that Collin McHugh and Michael Wacha will be good to go, as they didn’t pitch on Sunday.
“We’ll find a way to piece it together,” he said.
The Red Sox wouldn’t mind seeing McHugh, as they touched him for three runs — off two home runs — in the Game 2 win on Friday. The Red Sox would really like to see Wacha, though, as he allowed six earned runs off nine hits in his 2.2 innings of work in Game 2. Wacha entered the game with the Rays behind 8-6 in the seventh inning; the Rays trailed 14-6 in the ninth when he left.MORE NEWS: Nathan Eovaldi Says He'll Have No Limitations On Short Rest, 'Extremely Confident' Red Sox Will Pull Off Game 6 Win
As for some of the lesser-used relievers from Game 3, Josh Fleming, Andrew Kittredge, Pete Fairbanks, J.P. Feyereisen, Matt Wisler, JT Chargois and Luis Patino all pitched fewer than two innings. With the season on the line, one would figure that most — if not all — of them will be available on Monday night.