Red Sox

Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

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Red Sox vs. Rays: Lineup and notes

BOSTON -- Today's Red Sox lineup, courtesy of Sean McAdam, and pregame notes, courtesy of the Red Sox' P.R. department:

THURSDAY'S LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Kevin Youkilis3B
Josh Reddick RF
Carl Crawford LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS

Kyle Weiland P

VS. THE RAYS
Boston opens its sixth and final series against Tampa Bay in 2011, a four-game set . . . The Sox have lost 9 of 14 against the Rays this year, going 1-4 at Fenway Park and 4-5 while taking 4 of 9 in St. Pete . . . Since the start of 2010, the Sox are just 4-10 against the Rays in Boston . . . The Sox have dropped their last five games with the Rays by a combined 33-13 score, beginning with the second game of an Aug. 16 doubleheader . . . The current five-game drought is the Sox' longest ever against Tampa Bay . . . Since 2002, Bostons only longer single-season slide vs. any team was an 0-8 stretch vs. LAA, (April 23-July 30, 2008) . . . The Sox havent won a season series against the Rays overall since taking seven straight series from 2001-07.

EAST BEASTS
All of Bostons final 24 games, beginning Sept. 5, come vs. A.L. East rivals (2-7 thus far) . . . The Sox lead the A.L. with a 34-23 (.586) mark vs. the A.L. East in 2011, but are 3-11 in their last 14 . . . . Of Jacoby Ellsburys 27 homers, 17 have come against A.L. East rivals, the most for any player this year against that division . . . He also leads the majors in RBI (50) and batting average (.376) against the A.L. East (min. 10 games against the division).

STREAKING AGAIN
Jacoby Ellsbury tripled on Wednesday and has hit safely in his last 18 games, going 29-for-77 (.377) with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 13 RBI, 16 runs, 9 walks and a steal during the stretch . . . The 18-game hit streak is tied for the longest active run in the majors with Texas' Adrian Beltre . . . This is Ellsburys fourth career hit streak of 18 or more games . . . Since 1919, the only other Red Sox with at least four single-season hit streaks of at least 18 games was Nomar Garciaparra.

SEPTEMBER MOMENTS
Marco Scutaro leads the majors (min. 50 PA) with a .429 average (18-for-42) in September and ranks second with 16 RBI in the month, trailing only Detroits Victor Martinez (17) . . . He has driven in at least one run in seven of his last eight games . . . Ellsbury is 22-for-56 (.393) since Sept. 1, leading the majors with 11 XBH (7 2B, 3B, 3 HR) and 29 times on base (tied) . . . He is batting .339 (120-for-354) in 88 career September tgames, his best mark in any month and the best career clip by a Sox in September (min. 250 PA) since Wade Boggs, 1982-92 (.349).

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.