|10.30.13 at 11:15 am ET|
ESPN’s Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday and voiced his opinion on some of Red Sox manager John Farrell’s decisions this World Series, and he tried to explain why St. Louis pitched to David Ortiz in Game 5.
Farrell announced on Tuesday that, with the return of Shane Victorino to right field, Jonny Gomes would receive the start in left field over Daniel Nava in Game 6 on Wednesday at Fenway Park. Schilling said, “No, not at all,” does starting Gomes over Nava make sense to him.
“I love Daniel Nava, I think the kid is just a complete player,” Schilling said. “I think that the Gomes thing is exactly what John said — I think it’s a hunch, and he’s continuing to play it.”
Schilling also questioned Farrell’s decision-making throughout the series.
“I thought John had made some questionable moves and changes, and I thought got outmanaged a couple of different times,” Schilling said. “They’re playing poorly, but they’re good enough to play around that. I guess they’re one of the few teams that can do that.”
If not for Ortiz, the Red Sox likely would find themselves in a significantly different situation. St. Louis continues to pitch to Ortiz despite the fact he possesses a .733/750/1.267 batting line, with four extra-base hits in five games.
“The problem is that he’s so locked in, it’s very Barry Bonds-like in the sense that when he was going well, he would literally get one pitch, not an at-bat, a game, and when he got it he would never miss it. David is getting a pitch an at bat and he’s not missing it,” Schilling said.
|10.30.13 at 9:47 am ET|
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to preview Game 6 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals.
The teams face off Wednesday night at Fenway Park with Boston one game away from clinching the series. Game 7 would be home as well for the Red Sox.
“I wouldn’t get worried about them getting ahead of themselves. They understand what’s going on here,” Rosenthal said. “Everybody who plays or follows baseball understands that winning a clinching game is not easy, and that the St. Louis Cardinals are awfully good, they’ve won two straight on several occasions this year. And it could happen here.”
John Lackey and Michael Wacha take the mound, and the most intriguing storyline in this matchup is how Wacha will approach the scorching David Ortiz. Boston’s DH has gone 11-for-15 (.733) in the first five games with two home runs, one coming against Wacha in Game 2. St. Louis walked him four times, just once intentionally.
“I just don’t see the logic in what the Cardinals have done here, and I would expect that it would change,” said Rosenthal. “I can’t imagine they’re going to keep going after him the way they are.”
The Cardinals faced a bit of bad luck on Tuesday when their flight to Boston was delayed for over seven hours.
“If I’m them, I’m embracing this whole back-to-the-wall thing, embracing the, ‘Look at this, we couldn’t even get our flight on time, no one believes in us,’ the typical clichéd stuff that unfortunately often works, and I go from there” Rosenthal said. “ ‘I’m the Red Sox in 2004 against the Yankees,’ in my head.”
|10.30.13 at 8:56 am ET|
On Wednesday night, John Lackey has the opportunity to go from one of the Red Sox’ most vilified, criticized players to an indelible postseason hero.
But in order to complete that transformation, he must get past the Cardinals and starter Michael Wacha on Wednesday night in Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway Park. Boston finds itself one game away from baseball’s most coveted honor, after the Sox took a 3-2 series lead with a 3-1 win in Game 5 on Monday at Busch Stadium.
In addition to his shot at a full revitalization, Lackey receives the chance to redeem a Game 2 loss against Wacha, after the rookie outdueled his elder counterpart in St. Louis’ 4-2 win.
Last Thursday, Lackey and Wacha nearly matched each other pitch-for-pitch through 5 1/3 innings. The Cardinals led 1-0, thanks to a RBI groundout by Yadier Molina in the top of the fourth inning that scored Matt Holliday, who tripled to begin the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, David Ortiz finally got to Wacha and struck with his second home run of the series, an opposite-field two-run shot that put Boston ahead 2-1.
After allowing the RBI groundout in the fourth, Lackey cruised through the next two innings, and manager John Farrell opted to send him out for the seventh. The decision looked to pay off initially as Lackey struck out Allen Craig for the first out. However, David Freese walked, Jon Jay singled, and with Lackey’s pitch count at 95, Farrell pulled him in favor of lefty reliever Craig Breslow.
St. Louis went on to score three runs in the inning and took a 4-2 lead that Boston could not overcome. Lackey ended the start with three runs allowed, five hits, two walks and six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
After the sixth inning, when he allowed the two-run home run to Ortiz, Wacha gave way to young relievers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, who shut the door on the Sox.
Wacha pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs, three hits and four walks with six strikeouts. He moved to 4-0 in the postseason.
|10.29.13 at 9:59 pm ET|
For the second time in the last 23 years, the Red Sox received recognition for defensive excellence in the form of multiple Gold Gloves. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and right fielder Shane Victorino were recognized as 2013 American League Rawlings Gold Glove Awards at their respective positions.
From the press release announcing the awards for Pedroia and Victorino:
This marks Pedroia’s third Rawlings Gold Glove Award, as he also received the honor in 2008 and 2011. Since the award’s inception in 1957, he is the sixth player to win at least three with Boston, along with Frank Malzone (3 at third base), Carl Yastrzemski (7 in the outfield), George Scott (3 at first base), Fred Lynn (4 in the outfield) and Dwight Evans (8 in the outfield).
Pedroia led the majors while establishing club records with both a career-high 160 games and 159 starts at second base in 2013. According to Fangraphs, he topped all major league second baseman with 15 defensive runs saved and also led the American League with an .836 zone rating at the position. His .993 fielding percentage (5 errors/688 total chances) ranked second among AL qualifiers at second base, percentage points behind Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist (.9927 to .9928). Pedroia did not make his first error of the season until his 70th game on June 15, ending a club-record 69 errorless games at second base to begin the year.
For Victorino, it is his fourth Rawlings Gold Glove Award, tied with Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips for the second-most among 2013 winners behind the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, who earned his sixth at catcher. He previously won Gold Gloves in three consecutive seasons from 2008-10 while with the Phillies.
In his first season with the Red Sox in 2013, Victorino made a career-high 106 starts in right field and appeared in 110 games overall at the position. He also made 11 starts and played in 15 games in center field. The Hawaii native tied for sixth in the American League with a team-leading 10 outfield assists, and his nine assists from right field tied for the AL lead and marked the most by a Red Sox right fielder since Trot Nixon recorded nine in 2005. He tallied the third-most putouts among AL right fielders (264) and his three double plays tied for second-most in the circuit at the position. According to Fangraphs, Victorino led the AL with 24 defensive runs saved in right field.
The Red Sox have multiple Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners for just the second time in the last 23 years (also three in 2011: Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez at first base and Jacoby Ellsbury in center field) and 11th time overall since the award began in 1957.
In addition to Boston’s 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners, Jacoby Ellsbury was a finalist in center field but the award went to Baltimore’s Adam Jones.
The complete list of winners:
C – Salvador Perez, KC (AL), Yadier Molina, STL (NL)
1B – Eric Hosmer, KC (AL), Paul Goldschmidt, ARI (NL)
2B – Pedroia, BOS (AL), Brandon Phillips, CIN (NL)
SS – J.J. Hardy, BAL (AL), Andrelton Simmons, ATL (NL)
3B – Manny Machado, BAL (AL), Nolan Arenado, COL (NL)
LF – Alex Gordon, KC (AL), Carlos Gonzalez, COL (NL)
CF – Adam Jones, BAL (AL), Carlos Gomez, MIL (NL)
RF – Victorino, BOS (AL), Gerardo Parra, ARI (NL)
P – R.A. Dickey, TOR (AL), Adam Wainwright, STL (NL)
|10.29.13 at 5:12 pm ET|
Speaking to the media prior to his team’s workout Tuesday at Fenway Park, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that David Ross would be starting at catcher in Game 6 of the World Series. Farrell also noted that Shane Victorino (back) is expected to return to the lineup, with Jonny Gomes getting the nod over Daniel Nava in left field.
Ross has previously caught Game 6 starter John Lackey twice this season, limiting opponents to a 2.38 ERA (3 ER, 11 1/3 innings).
The catcher is coming off a two-hit performance in Game 5 in which he managed the go-ahead, ground-rule, RBI double in the seventh inning of the Red Sox’ 3-1 win Monday night. For the postseason Ross is hitting .286 (6-for-21). Only one baserunner has stolen on him.
Farrell is also attempting to ride the semi-hot hand with Gomes, who claimed one of the biggest hits of the series when he launched a three-run blast in Game 4. The left fielder was 0-for-4 with a strikeout against St. Louis Game 6 starter Michael Wacha when the pair faced off in Game 2.
More to come …
|10.29.13 at 3:39 pm ET|
Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team’s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer also is the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here.
Back in my first stint with the Red Sox in 2006-07, I pitched with Jon Lester in Triple-A and the big leagues. I remember there being a couple of rumored trades that potentially involved him — one involving Johan Santana — and thinking, “If I were a GM, would I trade him?”
He was young, but you could see he obviously had great stuff, a power arm and great poise. I never reached a conclusion about whether or not I’d make the trade, but I certainly realized he had the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation guy.
He’s certainly been that for us, especially in the playoffs. Coming out of spring training, this team has been led by dominant starting pitching. Guys have passed the torch to one another as to who is the No. 1 starter. Right out of the gate, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey were throwing the ball great. Jon really picked us up right around the All-Star break and has been a bona fide ace ever since.
Much has been made of the starters that we’ve faced throughout the postseason, but Jon deserves to be mentioned ahead of any of the guys you talk about. Everything we’ve asked of him, he’s given us.
In Game 5, with the series tied, 2-2, Jon quietly went out there and I would say he threw the game of his life. But how many times can you throw the game of your life? The way he’s carried himself throughout the postseason has been really impressive. It doesn’t come as a surprise to hear that he has one of the best postseason ERAs of all time, or that Koji Uehara tied the postseason saves record.
But I’ve never thought about quantifying their performances. I know that we’ve played low-scoring, stressful, mentally draining games, and that both of them have had to perform at exceptional levels to help us sustain what we’ve done so far as a team. I’ve simply appreciated them on a qualitative level. I know Jon has thrown the ball really well. I know he’s been everything we’ve needed him to be this postseason. Likewise, I know that when we’ve given Koji a lead, he’s held it down for us.
During the games, it can be difficult to appreciate fully how well they’re performing — particularly when Jon is pitching, since I have to be focused on the game situation and what it means for me in terms of being prepared to follow him into the game. Once Koji gets the ball, though, my time has kind of passed, and then you just think about winning the game. But sometimes before I go to sleep at night, I’ll replay the key points in the game, and that’s when you’ll realize how impressive their performances truly have been.
The way Jon was pitching on Monday, managing his pitch count, it seemed like he had a chance to finish the game out. And then once Koji got up, the rest of us in the bullpen understood that it was probably Jon getting the ball to Koji or Jon finishing the game himself, and there’s some relief when you recognize that pattern. Obviously, all of us in the bullpen are ready to impact the game, but the ideal scenario is your starter gets the ball to your closer or the starter finishes the game himself — especially when you’ve got a starter and closer as good as those two.
Now, we’re one win away from winning the World Series, closing in on the goal that we strive for, and for what we set out to do on Day One of spring training. Yet this proximity can’t change how we approach Game 6.
There’s winning the World Series and not winning the World Series, and being this close to winning is inconsequential. We need to approach the game the same way that we have since the start of the season: We need to win. The ability to focus on that task — regardless of what may have happened the previous game, whether a dramatic win or a crushing loss; regardless of the implications of a win or a loss in front of us – is what makes this team unique and what has gotten us to this point. There’s no reason to change that approach now.
|10.29.13 at 2:35 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS - After their worst season in 47 years, the first addition the Red Sox made to their roster was David Ross, a 35-year-old backup catcher. Almost a full year later, Ross may very well be the man behind the plate when the last out of the World Series is recorded.
The Red Sox allowed 806 runs in 2012, ranking fourth worst in the majors in that category. For the first time since 2006, the Red Sox allowed more runs than they scored, and they were in desperate need of ways to reinvent their run prevention culture this past offseason. Ross was an integral part of the strategy.
Adding reliable arms to the pitching staff was obviously a key part of preventing runs in 2013, but the catching situation was in need of an upgrade as well. Red Sox catchers managed to throw out only 20 percent of base stealers in 2012, while the league average sat around 25 percent. Ross had ranked among the top four National League catchers in caught stealing percentage in six of the eight years prior to signing. He’s gunned down 37.5 percent of runners in the past eight years, a mark that is second only to the catcher in the other dugout this World Series: Yadier Molina.
“Coming in, there was a lot of talk about [Molina], and obviously it’s well-deserved,” outfielder Jonny Gomes said after Monday’s game six victory. “But Ross can throw some guys out too. He’s done a heck of a job to shut down the run game.”
But Ross’ value extends beyond controlling the running game. His game management is just as important to run prevention. Prior to 2013, Ross had led the majors in catchers’ ERA over the previous four seasons. During the regular season, Red Sox pitchers posted a 3.12 ERA with Ross behind the plate, as opposed to 3.86 with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and 4.55 with Ryan Lavarnway. In the postseason, the Red Sox staff is pitching to the tune of a 1.96 ERA with Ross behind the plate, and they’ve allowed only four runs in the 27 World Series innings Ross have caught. Ross has established a relationship with Jon Lester that has led to the lefty posting a 1.33 ERA in the four postseason starts in which Ross has been his battery mate.
“The rapport that he and Jon have continued to refine as we’ve gone through this postseason, you know, is the reason why we’ve won the games in which he started and they’ve worked great together,” manager John Farrell said Monday night, after the Sox claimed a 3-1 win to move within a single win of a championship. Read the rest of this entry »
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