CLEVELAND -- It's a warm, wet night in Jacobs Field but it looks like we'll start on time at 8:20 for Game Four of the ALCS. It rained hard this afternoon and neither team took batting practice on the field but the tarp is off and the forecast is only for spotty showers the rest of the night.
(Oops: We just had a downpour at 7:35 but it only lasted a couple minutes. The tarp went on the field and came off just as fast as it went on).
Both teams have gone to their advertised plans of starting personal catchers for starting pitchers Paul Byrd and Tim Wakefield. That means the Indians have Kelly Shoppach behind the plate, Victor Martinez at first and Ryan Garko sitting out while the Red Sox have simply inserted Doug Mirabelli for Jason Varitek. Cleveland has also returned Franklin Gutierrez to right field in place of Trot Nixon.
Sox manager Terry Francona again insisted he gave no thought to bringing back ace Josh Beckett on three days rest with Boston trailing, two games to one, even though Beckett could be on regular rest for a potential Game Seven on Sunday night in Fenway Park. Now that task would fall upon Daisuke Matsuzaka, not a promising thought for Sox fans given his two postseason starts.
Here's tonight's lineups:
Dustin Pedroia, 2b Grady Sizemore, cf
Kevin Youkilis, 1b Asdrubal Cabrera, 2b
David Ortiz, dh Travis Hafner, dh
Manny Ramirez, lf Victor Martinez, 1b
Mike Lowell, 3b Jhonny Peralta, ss
J.D. Drew, rf Kenny Lofton, lf
Coco Crisp, cf Casey Blake, 3b
Doug Mirabelli, c Franklin Gutierrez, rf
Julio Lugo, ss Kelly Shoppach, c
Tim Wakefield, p Paul Byrd, p