A Red Sox fan’s guide to the American League Wild Card game


The Boston Red Sox will be somewhere swinging golf clubs and their fans will be out in the cold when the American League playoffs begin in earnest Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get into the game. Even if you plan to watch as an unbiased observer, you’ll recognize several familiar faces and a couple of subplots that could affect the future of the Boston nine.

On the radar

Look no further than the starters of tonight’s game: Jon Lester and James Shields. The Red Sox will be in hot pursuit of both as they look to rebuild their rotation in the offseason. The left-hander Lester, as you remember, was moved at the deadline after collecting 116 regular season and postseason wins and two World Series rings in parts of nine seasons in Boston. Speculation has been rampant regarding his return.

Shields is a righty and two years older than Lester, but may come at a reduced rate in terms of years and overall money. Tonight’s start could swing his value by many millions of dollars.

Familiar faces

Billy Beane has made a hobby out of collecting Red Sox retreads, and for the most part, has met with success. Coco Crisp, who fell short of 5 total WAR over three seasons in Boston, nearly reached that number in 2013 alone with Oakland. Josh Reddick, he of the sexy at-bat music, has been worth 11.2 WAR over the last three years.

Brandon Moss couldn’t crack the Red Sox roster but has cracked 76 homers over three seasons in green and gold. Jed Lowrie, who couldn’t stay out of the Fenway trainer’s room, has logged more than 500 at-bats each of the last two campaigns.

Hacksaw Jonny Gomes is also wandering around somewhere, probably teaching Nick Punto some Real American fashion tips.

Did you know?

While the Royals are vying for their first postseason appearance since the 1985 World Series, the A’s look to push past the Red Sox (seven) and Angels (seven) for the second-most AL postseason appearances since 2000. The Yankees, of course, lead the way with 12.

Keeping up appearances doesn’t always translate to success. Much like the woeful Braves of the NL, the A’s have made it out of the ALDS just once in that span – leading to a four-game sweep in 2006 at the hands of the Tigers in the ALCS.