|10.25.13 at 6:41 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS — Red Sox manager John Farrell, prior to his team’s workout on Friday’s World Series off-day, offered a number of updates regarding how he plans to use his roster in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series. Among them:
– Farrell said that Clay Buchholz will start Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday.
“He went through a throwing program today. Went back to about a hundred feet with some increased intensity along the way, and he’s starting Sunday,” said Farrell.
– Despite Stephen Drew‘s offensive struggles — which rank among the most severe ever in a single postseason — Farrell certainly didn’t sound like he had any plans to sit him anytime soon, based on the shortstop’s tremendous defense throughout the postseason in a low run-scoring environment.
“[Drew's defense has] been critical,” Farrell said. “While he has had his struggles, they’re well documented, we live it with him. But he has played such a strong defensive position at shortstop. Last night there’s probably three or four plays that he makes, that might otherwise build into a potential inning for the Cardinals. We can go back to Game 6 in inning seven where he saves a run with two outs, and throws out [Tigers slugger Miguel] Cabrera, that we come back and [Shane] Victorino hits a grand slam to give us the lead. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.25.13 at 6:29 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS — Red Sox starter Jake Peavy expressed his enthusiasm for the responsibility that awaits him in Game 3 of the World Series, when he will take the mound on the biggest stage of his life. The right-hander suggested that his seven-run, three-inning mess of an outing in a Game 4 loss to the Tigers in the ALCS would be an isolated incident, with subtle mechanical tweaks capable of allowing him to harness what he characterized as excellent stuff that night into positive results.
“Everything is fixed, fixable. It wasn’t too much to read into it, really,” said Peavy. “Just a small, small adjustment … can make all the difference in the world. And there’s absolutely no excuses tomorrow night. This is what I’ve lived for my whole life is to — my whole baseball career, I should say, to have this opportunity to go out there on the biggest stage and have a chance to help your team win a World Series game and a World Series title. I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be, physically, mentally, and we’ll go out there tomorrow night and see if we can execute pitch by pitch, and find a way to win.”
Peavy, who engages himself in animated dialogue on the mound, is a self-acknowledged fiery sort. That said, he insisted that the setting would not prevent him from managing his intensity.
“There’s not going to be a situation that I get overwhelmed in and get too emotional and let the emotions of the moment beat me up,” said Peavy. “I just feel like I’ve been in enough situations over the years that there’s nothing tomorrow night that’s going to rattle me or get in my head, or it doesn’t matter how loud the crowd is. It doesn’t matter how bad things are going, it comes down to trying to execute pitches and be able to make tiny adjustments that make the biggest ‑‑ it takes getting some balls hit at people, and some guys making some plays and just getting in the rhythm of the game. Like I said, I think we all expect that to happen tomorrow night.” Read the rest of this entry »
|10.25.13 at 1:41 pm ET|
Following the first loss of his career in 10 World Series games, David Ortiz was not shocked or surprised.
The slugger, who belted his 16th postseason home run and second of this World Series, did not come into this series expecting another World Series sweep.
In 2004, the Red Sox never trailed in beating the Cardinals in four straight. In 2007, they trailed for just the first three inning of Game 2 before sweeping away the Rockies.
And after an 8-1 laugher in Game 1, a victory that ran Boston’s World Series win streak to nine, some might have thought that another Series sweep might be in order. This thinking was only reinforced when the Cardinals looked intimidated on the big stage of Fenway Wednesday night.
Ortiz belted a two-run homer off Michael Wacha in the sixth for a 2-1 lead. “Changeup that stayed up,” Ortiz explained. “You’ve got to try and not miss it because you’ll probably not see another one. You go through the motion of the game and my at-bat before, he got me 3-0 and then he threw me changeups back-to-back so I got the idea he wasn’t trying to give in. Just go from there.”
If the Red Sox could be the 22-year-old wunderkind, they would be halfway home to another sweep.
But the Red Sox were the ones committing the miscues in the very next inning as the Cards scored three times. Then, the St. Louis bullpen of Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal shut the door in a 4-2 Cardinals win.
“Series is still going on. 1-1, even-Steven,” Ortiz said. “We have to go out there and play better than we did [Thursday]. There’s nothing you can do about it. The only time you can come in and do something about it is Saturday.
“It’s not a secret for anyone that they have great pitching,” Ortiz said. “When you are able to score some runs off these guys, you try to keep up with it.”
The way Ortiz looked at it after Game 2 is one loss is just one loss, even in the World Series.
“It’s part of the game, man,” he said. “Nobody can dictate that you’re going to win four straight games every time you go out there in the World Series. This is baseball. You’re playing against the best team in the National League so anything is expected.”
|10.25.13 at 10:24 am ET|
On his way out of the clubhouse following Game 2 of the World Series Thursday night, Clay Buchholz told WEEI.com nothing had changed and that he was still planning to start Game 4.
Both the starter and pitching coach Juan Nieves confirmed Buchholz will throw the same sort of side session Friday that he would in preparation for any start. The righty played a light game of catch Thursday.
“Well, everything that he’s going through right now is indicating that he will start on Sunday,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell prior to his team’s 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in Game 2. “There’s been nothing that has happened since we spoke yesterday here or with Clay that would indicate otherwise. So we fully expect him to go.”
Felix Doubront, also speaking after the loss, said he is still viewing himself as a reliever, having warmed up during the eighth inning Thursday night.
“I’m ready for everything,” the lefty said. “I was available today. Next game same thing. I’m in the bullpen right now. If [filling in for Buchholz] happens, I’m going to be there. But I’m a bullpen guy, too.”
Doubront has pitched 2 1/3 innings out of the bullpen this postseason, having last appeared in Game 4, nine days ago.
“I feel good. I feel totally rested and ready to go,” he said. “I can go five or six [innings], or even more than that. But right now I’m available in the bullpen.”
|10.25.13 at 8:36 am 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.
As complicated and complex as this game can be at times, it can also be incredibly simple. If you get a chance to make pitches, you have to make them. And on Thursday, in Game 2 of the World Series, I didn’t.
I was excited for the chance to get into the game. This was the first time I was out there for the series, a milestone I’d anticipated for a long time. To that point in the game — with one out and runners on first and second in the seventh inning, after we’d taken a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth — we’d been executing extremely well.
We were well aware of what Michael Wacha had done this postseason for the Cardinals. Obviously, he’s a tremendously talented guy. But the more times that our lineup saw him, the better production we started getting. That’s kind of been the case with some pretty good starters we’ve run through during the regular season and certainly throughout the postseason. Even if we’re not necessarily doing damage, we’re seeing a lot of pitches and running pitch counts up.
When we took the lead on David Ortiz‘s homer, obviously we would have hoped we would have been able to preserve it. For the most part this postseason, we have. But tonight we didn’t.
We were aware that the Cardinals might attempt a double steal when I entered the game. I knew that they had some guys on base that had some speed. I tried to vary my looks, vary my holds, step off the rubber and do what I could to disrupt their timing. But when Pete Kozma took off for third and John Jay went behind him for second, I gave Jarrod Saltalamacchia a pretty tough pitch to handle.
It was a fastball, and once I started to commit to the plate, I saw that they were going. I tried to give Salty something he can handle, and it ended up being something he had to reach up for. In that case, I need to do a better job of holding runners. Getting to second and third with less than two outs changed the whole inning, including how I’m going to pitch to Daniel Descalso.
In walking Descalso to load the bases, I probably got a little bit ahead of myself and got a little bit quick to the plate. Initially, with a double play still a possibility, we wanted to pound him down and away and then sink the ball in. The approach changed a little bit once they executed the double steal. There were runners on second and third with less than two outs, where a strikeout would have been the best outcome. We threw a couple of breaking balls, and again, I didn’t execute pitches, resulting in a walk.
With Matt Carpenter then up with the bases loaded, I was trying to work away from him. I feel like I executed the pitch that I wanted. I was trying to keep the ball on the ground, but even if I didn’t, if I could get weak contact to the opposite field, especially with how shallow left field is, then I felt like that would be a pretty good outcome. That’s what happened: Descalso popped up to left, but obviously, deep enough to score the run. Jonny Gomes did everything he could to try to prevent the tying run from scoring. In that case, I simply credit the Cardinals’ good, aggressive baserunning with scoring the tying run. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.25.13 at 3:50 am ET|
Stephen Drew is not having the worst postseason offensive performance of all time. But he’s shockingly close to that inglorious status.
Before diving into that reality, it is worth noting: Drew has continued to offer strong defensive contributions at a key position on the field. He has found meaningful ways to contribute to multiple Red Sox wins this month, and he’s played a tangible role on a team that is in the World Series in no small part because it has held its opponents to the fewest runs per game (2.92) of any team in the postseason.
That said, he’s represented a lineup black hole like few others in baseball history.
Drew has stepped to the plate 43 times this postseason — one of 673 players in playoff history with 40 or more plate appearances in a single postseason. After an 0-for-3 night in World Series Game 2 on Thursday, he’s gone 4-for-42 with one walk and 15 strikeouts. That translates to a dreadful .095 average and .116 OBP.
How bad are those marks? Of the 673 players with 40 or more plate appearances in a single postseason, Drew ranks 669th in average — ahead of only Alex Avila (.073, 2011), Robinson Cano (.075, 2012), Chone Figgins (.086, 2009) and Mike Epstein (.094, 1972). Given his track record as a strong on-base presence, it is perhaps even more surprising to realize that Drew’s .116 OBP is the third worst ever, better than only Cano (.098 in 2012) and Avila (a nearly identical .116 OBP as the one Drew is currently carrying).
In some ways, he’s lucky that his numbers are that robust, given that two of his hits were of the infield variety (including the World Series Game 1 pop-up that landed between pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina).
Drew — who has 15 strikeouts against his one walk — is aware of his terrible results, a notion undoubtedly reinforced by the fact that he was replaced by pinch-hitter Daniel Nava in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday. Yet the shortstop, though frustrated, remains confident that his approach has been better than his results would suggest. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.25.13 at 2:48 am ET|
This time, the baseball gods did not look favorably upon the Red Sox.
A day after they benefited from a game-changing sequence of Cardinals errors en route to the Game 1 win, the Red Sox found themselves on the wrong end of defensive lapses. Seventh-inning errors by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Craig Breslow — on the same play, no less — paved the way for a three-run Cardinals rally and, in turn, a 4-2 victory in Game 2. The World Series will head to St. Louis tied, 1-1.
“We fully expected this to be a hard-fought series,” manager John Farrell said. “Not surprising that we’re in this position we are. In the seventh inning, we kind of contributed to the three runs allowed.”
The inning started innocently enough, with John Lackey fanning Allen Craig for the first out of the frame and sixth strikeout of the night. But after an eight-pitch at-bat resulted in a David Freese walk and Jon Jay singled to right, Breslow came on in relief.
Pinch-runner Pete Kozma — the St. Louis goat Wednesday — and Jay advanced to third and second on a double steal. Breslow walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases for Matt Carpenter, a career .769 (10-for-13) hitter with three men on.
“I was trying to get a ground ball, obviously, with guys on first and second. Once they had the double steal and first base was open, it changes the approach a little bit,” Breslow said. “Obviously pretty big to try and keep those runs there, try to get a strikeout. I took a chance with a breaking ball. I didn’t make the pitch. I found myself in need for a ground ball with the next guy.”
Carpenter sent Breslow’s first offering — an 88 mph two-seamer — to left, where Jonny Gomes got under it without trouble. Gomes came up firing but his throw was about six feet up the first-base line, pulling Jarrod Saltalamacchia away from the plate. Kozma scored to knot the game at 2-2.
Saltalamacchia tried to stand his ground on the play — he kept his left foot near home plate while stretching to try to reel in Gomes’ throw — but the ball squibbed away.
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