|10.30.13 at 5:20 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that, “as of now,” Jake Peavy remains the starter to whom he plans to turn should the World Series reach a winner-take-all seventh game. Each time Farrell has made this claim, he’s offered some sort of qualifier (“as of now,” “right now,” etc.). And so, the manager was asked, is there something that might transpire that would result in someone other than Peavy making the start, or is Farrell simply using a default phrase to preface his remarks?
“It’s probably more the way it’s prefaced,” said Farrell.
Still, the Sox will have the rest of their pitching staff available in a potential Game 7, should the series extend to that point. The available arms, said Farrell, would include left-hander Jon Lester as well as right-hander Clay Buchholz.
“They’ll be available before this is over,” Farrell said of the team’s Game 4 and Game 5 starters.
Farrell clarified that, while Buchholz wouldn’t leapfrog other members of the bullpen in terms of their defined late-innings roles, he could be available to pitch as soon as Game 6 tonight. As for Lester, Farrell said that the lower back discomfort that he was dealing with at the end of Game 5 did not represent a significant concern.
“If there is such a thing, it was normal wear and tear,” said Farrell. “That’s what he’s dealing with.”
Farrell also had more praise for left-hander Felix Doubront, and said that the team would not hesitate to use him out of the bullpen in Game 6. He will not be avoided over concerns about his Game 7 role.
“Doubront’s available tonight. We wouldn’t hold him back for tomorrow,” said Farrell.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, staples of the Red Sox lineup during the regular season, have found themselves relegated to reserve roles as the postseason has evolved, with Jonny Gomes and David Ross taking over primary responsibilities in left field and behind the plate. Farrell acknowledged that a drastic change of responsibilities can be hard for the players to accept, yet he can’t be beholden to player preferences in making his lineup decisions at this time of year. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.30.13 at 2:59 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell said on WEEI on Wednesday afternoon that Shane Victorino, after missing Games 4 and 5 of the World Series due to tightness in his lower back, will return to the lineup and bat sixth as the Red Sox look to clinch a championship in Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday. As Farrell had stated on Tuesday, David Ross will serve as the catcher for John Lackey, while Jonny Gomes is back in the lineup and starting in left field, with Daniel Nava moved back to the bench.
Farrell also said that right-hander Clay Buchholz is available to contribute out of the bullpen in either Game 6 or Game 7.
For complete Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.
RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Shane Victorino, RF
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
John Lackey, SP
|10.30.13 at 1:55 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to preview Game 6 of the World Series, and recount Game 5 as well.
The Red Sox and Cardinals meet on Wednesday at Fenway Park with Boston one game away from winning the Fall Classic after Monday’s 3-1 win. Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright opted to pitch to David Ortiz, and like he’s been doing all postseason, Ortiz made the opposition pay, this time with three hits, including an RBI double in the first inning, to up his World Series average to .733.
“This is like choosing between, do we want to let the other team give the ball to Michael Jordan or Will Perdue, right? Because Ortiz is that good, and he’s basically getting hits at the same rate that Michael Jordan hits jump shots,” Olney said, adding: “I don’t understand the logic of pitching to him.”
After St. Louis’ loss, Wainwright revealed that it was his decision, and not manager Mike Matheny’s to pitch to Ortiz.
“You understand why Matheny has trust in Wainwright,” Olney said. “But I think you have to take it out of the hands, especially when you’re talking about one of the best pitchers in the world, probably the best defensive catcher in the world, because both those guys, their instinct is, ‘We’re going to solve this problem. I’m going to find a way to get David Ortiz out.’ ”
Michael Wacha and John Lackey face off for the second time in the series on Wednesday. Wacha beat Lackey in Game 2, 4-2. In that game, the rookie threw 65 fastballs, 39 changeups and 10 curveballs. Seven of those changeups induced swinging misses, the highest number of whiffs among the three pitches, according to brooksbaseball.net.
“That, to me, is going to be the interesting adjustment, to see if the Red Sox find something where they will use that piece of information, because that was such an effective way for Wacha to pitch in the first time that he faced them,” Olney said. “That’s the pitch to me, the inside changeup, that I think you might see the Red Sox hitters stalk a little bit.”
If the Red Sox lose Game 6, they’ll likely look to Jake Peavy in Game 7, although Felix Doubront’s performance this postseason has at least made the Game 7 starter a debate.
“A week ago, Felix Doubront was basically forgotten, now he’s their second most important reliever coming in,” Olney said. “I think [Doubront] has more value coming out of the bullpen.”
|10.30.13 at 1:50 pm ET|
Fox Sports baseball analyst Gabe Kapler joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the World Series as the Red Sox prepare to host the Cardinals in Game 6.
Kapler, a former Red Sox outfielder, predicted the Tigers would top the Sox in the American League Championship Series. He’s going with Boston in the World Series, but he predicts it will take one more day.
“The Red Sox are going to win this series in seven,” Kapler said. “But tonight, [Michael] Wacha‘s going to be too much for the Red Sox to handle. I was breaking down his mechanics yesterday, and this is the reason that this kid is so strong and that he’s not going to falter: His shoulders have zero percent tilt. That allows him to pound the strike zone accurately and not utilize his shoulder tilt for power.
“So, on top of this crazy deceptive delivery, straight over the top, he’s also got really good lower-half and upper-half mechanics. And that’s why — even if the pressure gets to him a little bit — he still is able to maintain that focus and pound the strike zone. And I just think that he’s going to be too much for the Red Sox tonight. But I will take the Red Sox in seven.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell turned some heads by electing to start Jonny Gomes in left over Daniel Nava in Game 6. Kapler said Wacha’s changeup might have played a role in that decision.
“The reason that I think, perhaps, that John Farrell may go with Jonny Gomes over Nava is because of that equalizer changeup,” Kapler said. “Because otherwise, the weighted on-base average for Nava is so significantly better than Jonny Gomes that there’s no other reason or answer why Jonny Gomes would be in the lineup. So I think maybe that changeup equalizing the left-handed bat might be the reason that John is deciding to go with Jonny Gomes.”
David Ortiz has been an offensive force through the first five games, leading to speculation that the Cardinals will try a new approach with him.
“You have to move his feet. If you don’t throw the ball up and in tonight and get him a little bit uncomfortable, you are doing yourself a huge disservice,” Kapler said. “And I understand [Mike] Matheny‘s take, and also [Adam] Wainwright‘s take. He’s like, ‘We want to just go after these guys, we don’t want to show anybody any fear.’ But at the same time, this guy’s been so incredibly dominant. He’s reached base 15 of 20 times in the World Series. That’s unheard of. It’s not like he’s reaching base against the fourth and the fifth starters; he’s reaching base against the aces.
“This guy is as good as he was in 2004. And as we all know, he was pretty good back then.”
|10.30.13 at 12:11 pm ET|
When the Red Sox signed John Lackey after the 2009 season, the team imagined a scenario in which it had a postseason-tested rotation like none other. At the time, with Lackey, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester on their roster — three different pitchers who had earned the victory in a World Series-clinching contest prior to their 25th birthdays — the team could claim an unmatched ensemble of pitchers who had contributed to October triumph.
It took a long time for either the Sox or Lackey to be in position for such a vision to come to fruition, with the team changing in numerous ways since his signing (including the departure of Beckett). But now, in Lackey’s fourth season in Boston, 11 years and two days removed from his winning performance over the Giants in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, Lackey has an opportunity to once again play a pivotal role in a potential clincher, just as he did in permitting one run in five innings in Game 7 as a 24-year-old. The right-hander will get the ball for Game 6 on Wednesday night, with an opportunity to pitch his team to a title.
Lackey, however, is hardly playing highlights of the 2002 World Series on loop.
“I was a rookie. We had a pretty veteran team… Our bullpen was probably our main strength on that team. I was trying to get five or six innings and turn it over to those guys. My job was just basically not to screw it up,” Lackey recounted on Tuesday. “That was a long time ago, man. I don’t think that’s going to play much into [Game 6]. I think most of those guys in that game aren’t even playing anymore.”
Indeed, of the 28 other players in that Game 7, only one (Francisco Rodriguez) played in the big leagues this year. That, in turn, underscores the rarity of what Lackey is trying to accomplish. Read the rest of this entry »
|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.”
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