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J.D. Martínez Out In American League Wild Card Game

📸 Photo by Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

J.D. Martínez will not play in the American League Wild Card game after sustaining an ankle sprain during the Boston Red Sox 7-5 rout against the Washington Nationals in the last game of the regular season. 

The 34-year-old outfielder was on his way to take his position in right field when he tripped over second base in the bottom of the fifth inning. This non-play and the contactless injury eventually cost the 2021 All-Star a spot on the AL Wild Card roster. If the Red Sox advance to the American League Division Series, there will be a different/revised roster. 

Martínez has been the Red Sox’s most significant bat throughout the years. In 2021, Martínez has 28 home runs, 99 RBI, and a .286/.349/.518 slash line. His veteran leadership and experience on the field in a must-win Wild Card game is a tremendous loss for a team that had to edge their way into the postseason in game No. 162.

Six-year outfielder Hunter Renfroe is in the starting lineup and will play right field for Tuesday’s matchup against the New York Yankees and ace Gerrit Cole. Renfroe has dipped his cleats in the Fall Classic as a member of the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays. In 12 games, Renfrow took on a .174/.208/.478 slash line with two homers and seven RBI.  

Leading off for the Red Sox is 28-year-old Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber is the designated hitter for the Red Sox and will be the first enforcer in the lineup in front of Kiké Hernandez, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts. 

Boston is entrusting former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi with the start. The right-handed starter will face a slew of Yankee players who yearn to reach baseball’s holy land, the World Series. The last time the Yankees and Red Sox squared up in the playoffs was in 2018, when the Red Sox went on a historic run and won the World Series. 

Tuesday night is the first time the Red Sox are playing in the Wild Card game since it became a one-game, win-or-go-home deal that was established in 2012. The last time a winner-take-all game was played at Fenway Park was in 2007 against the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Puerto Rican manager Alex Cora has become the sixth Red Sox manager to lead Boston to multiple postseasons. The list includes Bill Carrigan (1915, 1916), Joe Morgan (1988, 1990), Jimmy Williams (1998,1999), Terry Francona (2005, 2005, 2007, 2009), and John Farrell (2013, 2016, 2017). 

For both the Yankees and Red Sox, a positive note to remember is that seven teams have won the World Series without winning their division. One of those three teams includes the 2004 Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants in 2014 and Washington Nationals in 2019, who faced a one-game elimination in the Wild Card game.

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