|10.28.13 at 4:31 am ET|
ST. LOUIS — Red Sox manager John Farrell said after his team’s 4-2 win in Game 4 of the World Series that he expects to have David Ortiz at first base for the third straight contest in Game 5 of the World Series and that he “likely” will have catcher David Ross back in the starting lineup to work with starting pitcher Jon Lester.
The decision to have Ortiz start at first base has gone from complicated (based on the performance of Mike Napoli in the ALCS and World Series) to obvious. Ortiz went 3-for-3 with a double and walk on Sunday, and he’s now hitting an absurd .727 with a .750 OBP and 1.344 slugging mark in the World Series.
“Playing first base has certainly not affected [Ortiz's hitting] in any way,” said Farrell. “He’ll be back in there [in Game 5] at first.”
The Sox are now 4-1 in the starts where Ross (who was 0-for-4 on Sunday) has started at catcher, including 2-1 with Lester.
“[Ross is] ready to go [Monday], and likely will be back there as he’s paired up with Jon Lester,” said Farrell. “Good game caller, as he’s always been known for. Very good at framing pitches. And ran a very good game once again tonight.”
|10.28.13 at 2:17 am ET|
ST. LOUIS – When Shane Victorino woke up Sunday morning, he had every intention of being in the Red Sox’ lineup for Game 4 of the World Series. It didn’t work out that way.
The right fielder was forced from the lineup just 1½ hours before what would result in a 4-2 win for the Sox after it was determined his ailing back wouldn’t loosen up by game time.
“I had every intention of playing,” Victorino said. “Unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way. It’s really day-to-day. When I got up this morning I thought I would be able to play, and had every intention of playing. It just didn’t turn out the way I wanted.”
Victorino said he re-injured his back while chasing after a Matt Adams hit into the right-field corner Saturday night.
It’s an injury he has dealt with for much of the season, although the discomfort hadn’t reached the level he felt both after Game 3 and prior to Game 4 in some time.
“When I first took off for the hit I felt it grab, and when I went down in the corner to get the ball … It was fine, still, and it got better throughout the night, but then by the end of the game it was really locked up,” Victroino said. “I thought I could do some exercises and it would loosen up. When I came here today I had every intention of playing. But the trainer asked me to do one thing that would stand out, I tried to do it and I couldn’t do it. So we made the decision.
“This is probably the worst it’s been in a while. That’s what’s frustrating for me. I’ve had that feeling and it’s gone away, but today was like, ‘Wow!’ So hopefully tomorrow it’s better.”
Victorino spent the entirety of Sunday night’s game in the clubhouse and trainer’s room, attempting to get his back in some sort of shape in case he was called upon.
Helping ease the pain was seeing his replacement, Jonny Gomes, come through with the biggest hit of the night, a three-run blast in the fifth inning that gave the Red Sox the lead for good.
“It’s great to see what happened tonight,” Victorino said. “Sometimes you don’t play and you see someone go in for at your position and they make a mistake, or don’t have a good night, you feel worse. First of all, this guy probably doesn’t think he’s starting tonight. But with Jonny, I know every day he’s thinking he’s playing. Every day he’s, ‘Game on.’ So it doesn’t hamper me more to think I pulled myself an hour and a half before the game because I couldn’t do something and then I feel like crap. With him I know he’s always game ready.
“The other part that scared me was that I thought I could go, but in the third or fourth inning I’m locked up then we lose me, we lose a bench guy. So we lose two guys. Me being a National League player, I understood that. Let’s let Jonny go. Let me do my exercises seeing if I could get better, and if there’s a pinch maybe I can help. Would it be very minimal? Maybe. But it makes me feel that much better seeing Jonny doing what he did. It’s crazy how that happens.”
|10.27.13 at 11:52 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS — According to popular opinion, neither of them should have been in the game.
Clay Buchholz was too injured, too lost in the notion of his own fragility to be effective. The Sox, many believed, should shut him down and give the ball for the Game 4 start to someone else — perhaps Felix Doubront, perhaps Ryan Dempster, perhaps Jon Lester on three days’ rest.
As for Jonny Gomes, he had been a good mascot, but his role as a magic charm delivering one postseason win after another had come and gone. Even with Shane Victorino injured, some wondered whether it was Gomes — hitting .152/.200/.212 in the playoffs — who should be in the lineup over the left-handed Mike Carp. At the least, inserting Gomes as the No. 5 hitter, behind David Ortiz, seemed a guarantee that the Sox’ foremost slugger would see few pitches to hit.
But both players defied the limited (or even negative) expectations for their performances, and as a result, the Red Sox — one day removed from an agonizing defeat that still rankled the team one day later — claimed a 4-2 triumph to knot the World Series, 2-2.
Buchholz gave the Red Sox virtually everything for which they could have hoped. He worked with a clearly diminished arsenal made evident by the fact that his fastball started at 86-88 mph in the first inning and, after a gradual build-up, eventually elevated to a still-pedestrian 88-90 mph. But while he lacked power and velocity, the right-hander still showed his characteristically excellent feel for pitching and ability to manipulate the baseball, staying out of the middle of the plate and doing just enough with his fastball, changeup, splitter, cutter and curve to stay off the barrel of the Cardinals’ bats. In four innings, he limited the Cardinals to three hits (two singles and a double) while allowing three walks, working around trouble (he allowed multiple base runners in the second, third and fourth innings) to limit the Cardinals to one unearned run before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth, after the Sox had rallied to tie the game, 1-1.
Buchholz both kept the St. Louis lineup in check and gave the Sox enough innings to reach a point where they could line up their bullpen for the rest of the game. In short, he did a solid job of giving his team a chance to win.
And that the Sox did, thanks to Gomes, the player who was hitless in his first nine plate appearances of the World Series. The left fielder finally broke through, to a degree, in the fifth, when he worked his way back from an 0-2 count against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn to elicit a 10-pitch walk. But that was merely the appetizer.
In the top of the sixth, the Sox amassed a two-out rally when Dustin Pedroia singled and the Cardinals pitched around Ortiz. Cards skipper Mike Matheny brought in right-hander Seth Maness for Gomes; Gomes was ready. After seeing four straight sinkers en route to a 2-2 count, Gomes sat on a hanging sinker when Maness went back to that well for a fifth straight time. This time, the offering was elevated, belt high, and Gomes launched it through the cold St. Louis air, the rocket finally descending in the Cardinals bullpen for a three-run home run that gave the Sox a 4-1 lead.
That cushion — a considerable margin in a series where runs have seemingly arrived one at a time — permitted the Sox to navigate the latter innings en route to their series-tying victory, in a game that could be seen as pivotal based on World Series precedent. Teams that win Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead have won 86 percent of the time; teams that rallied for a Game 4 win to tie the series, 2-2, have historically gone on to win the World Series 54 percent of the time.
In other words, the Sox claimed a victory in a game that represented the difference between a near certain elimination and a slightly better than 50-50 shot at a title — largely thanks to performances that few might have anticipated entering the contest.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– The incomparable Ortiz continued to provide an offensive force like no other for the Red Sox, going 3-for-3 with a pair of singles (one of the infield variety, when his hard comebacker kicked off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, another against hard-throwing lefty Kevin Siegrist), a double and a walk. He is enjoying an epic World Series so far, hitting .727/.750/1.364. He’s reached base in 12 of his 16 plate appearances — with one of his four outs having come when he was robbed of a grand slam by Carlos Beltran. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.27.13 at 10:32 pm ET|
WEEI’s St. Louis road trip continues. To see all our photos from Sunday, click here.
|10.27.13 at 7:38 pm ET|
This is the 83rd time that the World Series has featured a 2-1 split after the first three games. In Game 4, the team that led the series has gone 42-41 in the fourth contest of the series, meaning that historically, this has been a toss-up game.
But the swing effect of this contest is considerable. Of the 42 teams that entered Game 4 leading the World Series and won to take a 3-1 advantage, 36 (86 percent) have gone on to win the World Series. Of the 41 teams that entered Game 4 trailing the World Series and won to tie the series, 2-2, 19 (54 percent) have gone on to win the World Series.
So: This is big.
With the Red Sox coming off a devastating 5-4 walkoff loss in Game 3, they face a formidable task as they look to rebound behind Clay Buchholz against the Cardinals on Sunday. Get all the latest news, analysis and insights from the Busch Stadium pressbox by joining the Game 4 live blog below.
|10.27.13 at 6:19 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS – Prior to Game 4 of the World Series Sunday night, John Farrell said that all his relievers were available, including the starter slated for Game 6, John Lackey.
Farrell would later explain Lackey’s availability would be for just about an inning, or a workload similar to what he would throw for a typical side session.
The Red Sox used five relievers in their 5-4 Game 3 loss, a group that included Felix Doubront (25 pitches), Craig Breslow (5), Junichi Tazawa (24), Brandon Workman (30) and Koji Uehara (3).
Ryan Dempster, who is considered a primary option if Game 4 starter Clay Buchholz runs into trouble early, also warmed up briefly in Game 3.
When asked if there was any doubt that Buchholz – who is dealing with shoulder fatigue – wouldn’t be able to make Sunday night’s start, Farrell said, “Well we had to stay open minded to it. But as 48 hours further from his last start, it became pretty clear that he’s going to make it.”
“I think Clay is dealing with things individual to him,” Farrell added. “He’s done everything within his abilities as well as our training staff to get him on the mound tonight. He knows the significance of the game, he knows the significance of going out and performing to the best of those abilities tonight. As we said all along through the three months down, there’s been no one that has been more frustrated than him and I think he’s done a good job of not succumbing to maybe some of the thoughts and the perception that’s out there.”
Farrell was also asked if the perception of Buchholz is altered because he is typically so forthcoming regarding his state of mind.
“Clay doesn’t buy into that,” the Red Sox manager said. “Obviously by the way he responds to questions is that he’s got nothing to hide. You know what he’s a player, he’s a pitcher, he’s a competitor —and this is who I am. I’m going to go out, I’m not hiding anything.”
Farrell also noted that David Ross is in the lineup for Jarrod Saltalamacchia in part due to the hope he can offer some more offensive production. In his two World Series starts, Saltlamacchia is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, having walked twice.
“We’re looking to get some spark, to get some offense going,” Farrell said. “hat’s why David is in there today.”
|10.27.13 at 6:02 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS – John Farrell did get a few hours of sleep early Sunday morning, but not much. Part of that was due to how his team’s 5-4 loss to the Cardinals in Game 3 of the World Series unfolded. But there was another issue, as well.
“No, I didn’t sleep worth a damn last night,” Farrell said prior to Game 4. When asked if he did sleep at all, he responded, “I did, yeah. Until the damn … The struck up the band at 7 a.m. on the square this morning.”
The celebration surrounding the St. Louis Marathon aside, most of Farrrell’s anxiety stemmed from the outcomes in his team’s loss.
Sunday, he touched on a few of the game’s key moments in more detail:
Regarding the obstruction call that ended the game:
“Not the call itself. The call was accurate,” he said when asked if there was any issue with the umpire’s game-ending determination. “The Type B portion of the rule, that I think — there needs to have some area in that for intent. Because on that play last night, there’s no way Will [Middlebrooks] can get out of the way. It’s more the rule that I have some issue with, not the call itself. They made the call as the rule suggests and calls for. To say that there can’t be some room for intent there, Will wasn’t trying to hold the guy down. That’s where I think — not just because we lost a World Series game based on the call. If you look at it, it gives the opportunity to be the aggressor and take advantage of it.”
“At that point, then it becomes a judgment call rather than an interpretation of the rule call. I think you’d like to think that in situations like this where a guy falls down going for a ball, he’s not trying to hold the runner down.”
When asked if he thought the players – who were very vocal in their displeasure with the call after the game – come to grips with the outcome, Farrell added, “Yeah I think as we’ve all had a chance to process it, they made the call. And unfortunately it went against us.
“I think once that first pitch is thrown tonight, we’re all about what we have to do inside the game. We can stew on it — I’m sure a number of guys have already put it behind ‘em. We can’t go back. I think that’s what’s been one of the great components in the leadership of this team, is that recognizing what has happened. And OK, shut it off, compartmentalize it, move on.”
On not pinch-hitting for Brandon Workman in the ninth inning:
“Well, I was looking at getting three innings combined out of Workman and Koji [Uehara],” he said. “And felt like, in a tie game, even on the road, I’m not reluctant to use a closer, obviously. Felt like those were our best two relievers. I felt like, after [Trevor]Rosenthal was out of the game, I felt like the advantage swung back to our side with those two guys available. That was my reasoning. Setting aside the double switch or, at that point, I wasn’t going to pinch hit because it felt like there was still the need to get three innings combined out of the two.”
On not walking John Jay to load the bases in the ninth inning:
“I felt like, as good as Koji is, I don’t want him to be backed into a corner with the bases loaded,” Farrell said. “We recorded the out. A great play by Dustin [Pedroa] that gets overlooked in all of this, but no, wasn’t thinking about walking him.”
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