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MLB announces start times for potential ALDS Game 4 and 5

10.07.16 at 3:58 pm ET
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CLEVELAND – Major League Baseball has announced that if there is a Game 4 in the American League Division Series between the Red Sox and Indians it will start at 6:08 pm at Fenway Park on Monday.

MLB released the possible start times for a potential Game 5, which would be slated for either 6:08 pm or 8:08 pm on Wednesday. That game would be in Cleveland.

Red Sox notes: Rick Porcello possibility to start Game 4; Marco Hernandez may have been right; Plans for Drew Pomeranz

10.07.16 at 2:44 pm ET
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Rick Porcello is a candidate to start a Game 4 if needed. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello is a candidate to start a Game 4 if needed. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — There could be a change of plans for the Red Sox if a Game 4 presents itself.

Because Rick Porcello only threw 72 pitches in his Game 1 start Thursday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell has left the door open to pitch the Sox ace Monday in the American League Division Series if the game is needed. Right now, Eduardo Rodriguez is slated to get that start.

“It’s going to be dependent upon what we do out of our bullpen,” Farrell said prior to Friday afternoon’s Game 2. “For instance, if there was a scenario that Eddie Rodriguez ends up pitching out of the bullpen, the fact that Rick went the number of pitches he did, it presents him as a potential option, depending on what takes place.”

The Indians have already committed to bringing back Trevor Bauer as the Game 4 starter, if needed.

– The Red Sox manager did notice the Game 1 atmosphere having an affect on some of his players who hadn’t experienced the postseason before.

“I think the first game of the postseason, there’s a little anxiety waiting around,” Farrell said. “And you combine it with an 8 o’clock start which even when we feel an 8 o’clock start on a Sunday during the regular season, there’s a different feel to it. The fact that we had three days down, a late-night start or a later start, five guys in our lineup being their first postseason. Yeah, there were some things that were firsts and I’m sure that lent to … we faced far too many pitches yesterday. Below the zone and above the zone. Hopefully today after a game under our belt we’re back in the flow of things and back in the rhythm of things and we’re most consistent with our approach.”

– After taking another look at the ball that bounced in front of Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez with Hanley Ramirez at the plate in the eighth inning Thursday night, Farrell supported the decision by pinch-runner Marco Hernandez not to make a run at taking third base with one out.

“That’s’ a tough read,” Farrell said. “When that carom goes directly out where he doesn’t have kind of the peripheral to gauge on the distance, being the tying run, you’ve got to be 100 percent sure in your mind. And if there’s any hesitation with the way that Perez throws, you’ve got to play it safely in that spot. For sure, Hanley is swinging the bat as good as anyone. In that scenario, your first reaction is, because of the dugout, we have the side angle. Our first reaction is you’re thinking go. He’s got a completely different angle.”

– Farrell was truly impressed by the work turned in by Pomeranz in Game 1, so much so that he is already eyeing possibly using him in a similar manner if the opportunity presents itself Sunday.

“I thought he was very good,” said Farrell in regards to the lefty, who struck out five over 2 1/3 innings. “He maintained his stuff in his time on the mound. We’re hopeful after two days he’s available for something close to that again when we get into Game 3. It’s comforting to know that he has so much relief experience in his background. We’ve got a reliever who is stretched out, is how I look at it in the moment.”

Farrell also noted that the forearm soreness Pomeranz was dealing with isn’t currently a concern. “As long as we stay in that 45-50 pitch as a maximum, that physical is well under control,” he said.

– Farrell offered some insight on Xander Bogaerts’ struggles at the plate, which most recently an 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1.

“It’s been a situation where I think he’s maybe chased some pitches,” the manager said. “I think that was pretty evident [Thursday] night. Breaking balls down below the zone or off the plate. And I think he’s committed to some pitches early, that’s where he’s maybe addressed some fastballs and maybe not having the best pitch recognition that he’s shown previously. So the one thing that we have to do is continue to get him in a place where he’s prepared and ready. And then trust his abilities once the game begins.”

– Farrell admitted that, prior to Ortiz’s eighth-inning double, it appeared as though the regular season’s demands had caught up to the retiring designated hitter a bit.

“The yearlong tour had grown, and maybe had worn on him somewhat, physically,” Farrell said. “Hopefully [Thursday] night’s final at-bat was a sign of things to come here. We need him.”

– Cleveland manager Terry Francona that as effective as Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were Thursday night, things didn’t go exactly as planned. And it was the Red Sox’ lineup that caused the curveball, according to Francona.

“Believe me, that isn’t the way we drew it up,” the Indians skipper said. “I wanted Andrew to come in and turn the lineup over. I didn’t want it to be 40 pitches. And the same thing with Cody. I wanted Cody to get the last five, but not that long. They make you work so hard and that’s part of why they’re so good.”

Read More: ALDS Game 2, Indians, Red Sox,

Red Sox lineup: Andrew Benintendi moved up to No. 7 spot

10.07.16 at 1:08 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

CLEVELAND — After his two-hit performance in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, which included a solo homer, Andrew Benintendi is getting a promotion.

The rookie has been moved up to the Red Sox’ No. 7 spot in the batting order for Game 2, with Jackie Bradley Jr. sliding to No. 9. Besides that switch, the rest of the Red Sox’ lineup remains intact against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with David Price on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Brock Holt 3B
Mookie Betts RF
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

David Ortiz: ‘I’m going to bring my best [Friday]. That’s how I am’

10.07.16 at 3:35 am ET
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David Ortiz slides safely into second base in the eighth inning Thursday. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz slides safely into second base in the eighth inning Thursday. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — It was business as usual for David Ortiz following his team’s 5-4 loss to the Indians Thursday night. Talking on the phone. Some postgame treatment. A quick visit from physical therapist Dan Dyrek. And then off to the team bus.

You would have never known he might actually be two games away from the end of his career.

“Hey, listen, this is not over yet. We’ve got plenty of games to play,” Ortiz said after the first game of the American League Division Series against the Indians. “I’m going to bring my best [Friday]. That’s how I am. And I’m pretty sure my teammates will, too, so see you manana.”

For much of the night, Ortiz was left with frustration.

After his first two at-bats resulted in a foul out and a ground out, the designated hitter was put on the spot in the fifth inning. With runners on first and second, two outs and the Red Sox trailing by a run, Ortiz faced off with Andrew Miller. The result would be an inning-ending strikeout.

“It’s so frustrating facing Miller because it seems like every pitch is a strike,” said Ortiz, who came into the at-bat having gone 1-for-7 against the lefty. “I got two strikes – not one of those pitches was a strike. They were down in the zone. That’s the second time it happened to me with him. But anyway, he’s very filthy and you just pray to God for him to make a mistake.”

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TV cameras catch David Ortiz lecturing Marco Hernandez in dugout during Game 1 loss, and Hernandez reveals what Ortiz said

10.07.16 at 1:53 am ET
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Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

CLEVELAND — The second the ball bounded in front of home plate, Hanley Ramirez waved for Marco Hernandez to take third. The rookie pinch runner instead retreated to second.

It was the eighth inning of a one-run game, and after the Red Sox failed to score, Hernandez found himself in the dugout alongside David Ortiz, who draped an arm over the youngster and spoke to him at length as the TV cameras rolled.

So what exactly did Ortiz say?

“He said to me, ‘You only have one decision. If you go, you go. But if you stay, make sure you do it the right way,’ ” Hernandez told WEEI.com. “I’m confident that was the right read. That run is the most important run of the game. If I get out on that play, the next hitter would have to hit a bomb to tie the game.”

There were no bombs. The Red Sox instead failed to score en route to a 5-4 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Ortiz was a bit more pointed in his rendering of the conversation.

“We were just talking about baserunning situations, just give him some ideas,” he said. “He’s got to be a little more aggressive and be aware of things a little better next time.”

Hernandez pinch ran for Ortiz after the slugger doubled with one out in the eighth and the Red Sox trailing 5-4. Cody Allen bounced a curveball that kicked a few feet in front of the plate. Ramirez waved Hernandez, but the rookie stayed put. Those extra 90 feet loomed large when Ramirez grounded out. Xander Bogaerts then struck out to end the inning.

“Marco, his read at second base, we’ve got a chance to advance 90 feet,” manager John Farrell noted.

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Read More: ALDS Game 1, David Ortiz, Indians, Marco Hernandez

Closing Time: Indians hammer RIck Porcello, ride strong bullpen to win in Game 1 of ALDS

10.06.16 at 11:42 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — The Red Sox will not roll into the American League Championship Series after all. They officially have a fight on their hands.

Expected to romp through the undermanned Indians, the Sox instead watched the hosts feed off the energy of their home crowd, drill three home runs off Cy Young candidate Rick Porcello, and gut out four-plus innings of relief to deal the Red Sox a 5-4 loss in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Game 2 is Friday afternoon, with David Price taking on Corey Kluber in a battle of former Cy Young winners.

“Hey, listen, this is not over yet,” said DH David Ortiz. “We’ve got plenty of games to play. I’m going to bring my best tomorrow. That’s how I am. And I’m pretty sure my teammates will, too, so see you mañana.”

The Indians didn’t win 94 games because they’re pushovers, and they pushed back against the supposed inevitability of a Red Sox sweep in a big way on Thursday night.

Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor blasted solo homers in the span of four batters in the third inning, turning a 2-1 Red Sox lead into a 4-2 deficit as the sellout crowd at Progressive Field erupted.

The Red Sox, who got homers from Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon, rallied within a run, but drew no closer. Andrew Miller and the Indians bullpen combined to limit the Red Sox to a run over the final four-plus innings.

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Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt stays in No. 2 spot, Andrew Benintendi in left field

10.06.16 at 4:14 pm ET
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Brock Holt has taken Xander Bogaerts' spot in the Red Sox lineup. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Brock Holt has taken Xander Bogaerts’ spot in the Red Sox lineup. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — The biggest question about the Red Sox’ batting order heading into Game 1 of the American League Division Series was who might be hitting in the No. 2 spot.

It turns out Brock Holt will get that honor.

After experimenting with sliding Xander Bogaerts down in the batting order in the final week of the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell has chosen to keep the alignment against Cleveland righty Trevor Bauer, putting Holt right behind leadoff man Dustin Pedroia.

Also of note is the presence of rookie Andrew Benintendi, who gets the start in left field while hitting ninth.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Rick Porcello on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Brock Holt 3B
Mookie Betts RF
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Andrew Benintendi LF

Hanley Ramirez pens ‘A Message to Red Sox Nation’ in The Players’ Tribune

10.06.16 at 12:10 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez wrote about this love for the Red Sox and David Ortiz. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez wrote about this love for the Red Sox and David Ortiz. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez is ready for the playoffs. And he knows you are too.

In “A Message to Red Sox Nation,” published in The Players’ Tribune on Thursday, Ramirez explains his long-standing love for the Red Sox, Boston and David Ortiz.

“I know exactly how you feel right now,” Ramirez writes, “You wanna know something? Before I was a Red Sox player, I was a Red Sox fan. For real.”

He explains his fandom began when the Red Sox signed him in 2000. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Ramirez was unfamiliar with Boston but that didn’t matter.

“I had never been to Boston. I didn’t really know where Boston was,” Ramirez writes. “It looked cold. But it didn’t matter. For real, from the day I signed it was like the Red Sox were Tigres del Licey, my hometown team.”

“When the Sox came back on the Yankees in the 2004 playoffs, I was playing Double A ball in Portland, Maine. I watched every game.”

Ramirez goes on to detail the special bond he shares with Ortiz.

He says Ortiz is like a brother, not just to Ramirez, but to everyone and truly cares about his teammates.

“David brought me a whole cheesecake one day just because he thought I needed it. Randomly. Like he really walked in The Cheesecake Factory and got it on the way to the park.

“Not his assistant. Not his homeboy. David did it, just because.”

Playing postseason baseball with the Red Sox is special for Ramirez personally, but the team has a collective motivation to go deep into the playoffs.

“It took me 12 years, but I’m finally getting a chance to play playoff baseball at Fenway … You know, in spring training this year, we all got together and set one goal: Get David a ring in his final season.”

Read the full piece in The Players’ Tribune here.

 

Marco Hernandez, Christian Vazquez make Red Sox ALDS roster

10.06.16 at 11:03 am ET
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Marco Hernandez has made the Red Sox ALDS roster. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Marco Hernandez has made the Red Sox ALDS roster. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — A month ago, this might have been a surprise. But after listening to John Farrell’s approach toward building the Red Sox’ American League Division Series roster the last few days, there was no shock when the official list was announced.

As was the case for all three postseason rounds in 2013, the Red Sox have chosen to carry 11 pitchers. That left one position player to serve as the primary pinch-runner, with infielder Marco Hernandez getting the opportunity this time around.

Perhaps the only other question about the make-up of the roster was regarding the backup catching spot. That position will be manned by Christian Vazquez, who had managed one major league plate appearance between July 2 and Sept. 25. But with Vazquez’s arm coming back into form (carrying a team-best 1.8 second pop time of late), the Red Sox viewed him as the best option to shut down the Indians’ running game if needed.

Here is the Red Sox roster in their best-of-five series against the Indians, which kicks off Thursday night at 8:08:

PITCHERS (11): Matt Barnes, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robbie Ross Jr., Koji Uehara, Brad Ziegler.

CATCHERS (2): Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez.

INFIELDERS (8): Xander Bogaerts, Marco Hernandez, Aaron Hill, Brock Holt, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw.

OUTFIELDERS (4): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Chris Young.

Red Sox notes: John Farrell fires back at Opening Day job question; Marco Hernandez trending toward making roster

10.05.16 at 4:35 pm ET
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John Farrell. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — The question prior to the Red Sox’ workout at Progressive Field Wednesday seemed innocuous enough.

“You were snowed out here on Opening Day. Do you remember some of the questions maybe you had on that day about this team as you started that journey, and what has been answered the most?”

Before the query could be finished, Farrell had what was a more pointed answer than anyone anticipated.

“Yeah, I think Jonny’s first question was, ‘Hey, you going to get fired?’ Well, here we are,” the manager said, referencing WBZ’s Jonny Miller. (The question was actually asked on April 3 prior to the Red Sox’ workout day.)

Farrell went on to say, “We’ve answered a lot of challenges along the way, we’ve answered a lot of questions. How our rotation was going to build. How we were going to get past Eddie, who was injured in spring training. I think as you go through 162 games, the beauty of the journey is the potential distractions that are thrown at you, where the schedule have you going. I think our guys have done a great job of not only being prepared, but as I talked about in New York, this is a tough group, they’re smart, they care for one another and those traits are what has allowed us to get to this point, in addition to being a very talented team. I think we’ve come together with an offense that we’ve felt good about in spring training, but that has grown to a point of being maybe a unique one. I love the fact our rotation has answered some of the potential questions about them.”

– It sure looks like Marco Hernandez is going to make the roster for the Red Sox’ American League Division Series against the Indians.

There was some question if the Red Sox were going to go with 11 pitchers, which had been the case in all three rounds of their postseason run in 2013. With no designated pinch-runner, such as Quintin Berry, and the need to matchup against the Indians’ lefty batters, the idea that relievers Fernando Abad or Heath Hembree might be added as a 12th pitcher wasn’t far-fetched.

But listening to Farrell, it certainly seems the Red Sox are leaning toward once again going with the extra position player when rosters are turned in Thursday morning at 10.

“Given the potential need with two spots in our lineup where we’ve shown I think a pretty consistent approach to pinch-run. If the game situation dictates that, that will weight heavily if we go with a 14th position player, or not,” the manager said. “Then you look at the five-game series with an off-day in between. If there are no interruption with weather, you have some recovery time for relievers that you may use. Just looking at rosters in the past, we’ve typically stayed with 11 pitchers, as well. That will all shake out tomorrow morning.”

– In terms of in-game strategy, Farrell insinuated he had no plans to use a defensive replacement for first baseman Hanley Ramirez, or use Koji Uehara more than one inning (as was the case in 2013).

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