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Yankees Catch Break As Red Sox Rule Out Slugger For Wild Card Game

Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez is out for the Wild Card Game with an ankle injury, a break for New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole.

The Boston Red Sox left slugger J.D. Martinez off their playoff roster for Tuesday night's American League Wild Card Game.

Martinez is recovering from a sprained ankle he sustained while running out to right field between innings in Game 162 on Sunday, twisting his ankle on second base.

The Yankees are battling their own adversity—missing both DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit heading into the postseason—but this is a significant blow for Boston. Martinez, 34, ended the 2021 season batting .286/.349/.518 with 28 home runs, 99 RBI and 92 runs scored over 148 games. His 42 doubles on the year were tied for the most in all of Major League Baseball.

In a winner-take-all matchup, every pitch is significant. Considering the Red Sox will be facing Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night, the absence of one of their most dangerous hitters is an edge in the visiting team's direction. 

Plus, Martinez has had some success off Cole in the past. During the right-hander's clunker at Fenway in June—allowing six runs and taking a loss—Martinez hit a solo home run to start the third inning, Boston's third home run off Cole in the game.

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Asked about Martinez on Monday, Cole called the injured star a "big-time slugger" and a "tough at-bat."

"I mean, he's got some magic and he's got a lot of talent, and so in situations like that, I think you have just got to try to stay vigilant and execute the pitches to the best of your ability," Cole told reporters. 

The ace will still have his work cut out for him, trying to pitch his way past the rest of Boston's high-octane lineup, but this is one less threat for Cole to worry about on Tuesday night.

More to get you ready for the American League Wild Card Game:

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