|10.24.13 at 8:08 pm ET|
Both David Ortiz and Mike Napoli are delivering considerable thump in the middle of the Red Sox lineup. Napoli had a three-run double in Game 1 of the World Series, his sixth extra-base hit of the postseason (tied for the most this October), while Ortiz mashed his fourth homer of the playoffs and nearly had a fifth that was pulled back from over the wall by Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran.
And so, Farrell was asked, was there a way that when the World Series shifts to St. Louis for three games, he could find a way to keep both middle-of-the-order mashers in the lineup.
“The one outside view might be to put Mike Napoli behind the plate, but we wouldn’t do that,” said Farrell. “One or the other is going to sit, unfortunately.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– Dustin Pedroia offered an interesting degree of candor about playing through the torn thumb ligament that he incurred with his headfirst slide into first base on Opening Day.
“It was a little difficult. Actually in the end, I’m going to look back and it helped me because I kind of take huge swings in the past trying to hit home runs, and sometimes I get a longer swing than what I normally have, when I just use my hands and stuff like that,” said Pedroia. “So that kind of helped me being short to the ball, making sure I go the other way, not try and pull everything. But it’s one of those things, I did it to myself, I slid headfirst into first. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.”
– Pedroia spoke glowingly of Xander Bogaerts — both who he is already as a player, and who he will become for the Red Sox. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.24.13 at 8:00 pm ET|
Turns out, Carlos Beltran will get another shot at World Series glory.
The St. Louis right fielder exited Game 1 after just two innings due to a rib bruise suffered when he crashed into the short right-field fence while hauling in a would-be grand slam by David Ortiz. But after a CT scan and X-rays came back negative, and Beltran felt able enough after warmups and batting practice, he was penciled into the Cardinals lineup in right and batting second.
Beltran getting clearance to play isn’t necessarily an easy task, however.
“First you have to get medical clearance … but a lot of it is going to be how much he can tolerate, and if it starts to affect the way he can do his job,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “And if it gets in the way, then we’re not going to be able to play him.”
Beltran, a veteran of 16 major league seasons playing in his first Fall Classic, struck out in his only at-bat Wednesday.
OTHER CARDINALS NOTES
– Allen Craig, who served as the St. Louis designated hitter in Game 1 in his return from a foot injury that kept him out nearly two months, responded fine physically, according to Matheny.
“He’s been challenged here to move pretty fast in this rehab process, right toward the end,” Matheny said. “But I thought he took good at-bats, looked like he was seeing the ball pretty well, and didn’t see a lot of apprehension. But he’s still going to be guarded a little bit.”
Matheny called putting Craig in the outfield — in the event Beltran’s situation worsens — a “tall order.”
– The Cardinals, much like the Red Sox, were much better at home (54-27) than on the road (43-38), and even though they don’t want to look past Game 2, Jon Jay and Shane Robinson — pseudo-platoonmates for the time being — agreed it will be nice to get back to Busch Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s just a thing that it’s a comfort level,” Jay said. “You have your fans and you’re familiar with the routine. It’s one of those things where we need to take care of business tonight.”
Added Robinson: “Everyone is familiar with our home stomping grounds. You get the fans cheering for you. Obviously it makes it a little bit easier to play in your hometown. I think that’s a big reason why we were successful toward the end.”
|10.24.13 at 5:30 pm ET|
The Red Sox fully expect that Clay Buchholz will start Game 4 of the World Series for them. Based on how he felt while throwing on flat ground, the team decided that slotting him in to start Game 4 and get an extra day of rest was the right course of action, rather than having him pitch in Game 3 on what would be six days of rest.
While the team has alternatives in its bullpen who could start in his place if there is some hiccup in the next two days — chiefly, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront — manager John Farrell said that his bullpen usage of those pitchers would not be dictated in Games 2 and 3 by the need to have an alternative to Buchholz.
“We know that we’ve got multiple guys down there who can go multiple innings, Dempster being one, Doubront another,” said Farrell. “If we have to piece it together, we’ll adjust accordingly. To say that we’re going to have a guy standing there to warm up along side of Clay, that won’t happen.”
The manager said that protecting for a potential Buchholz injury would “not [take place] at the expense of tonight. Not just tonight, but Saturday as well.”
In the first two rounds of the playoffs, an injured player can be replaced on the roster in the middle of a series, but in doing so, a team would lose him for the subsequent round as well, a penalty that is meant to prevent roster manipulation. In the World Series, however, there is no next round, and so while an injured player can be replaced in the World Series, Major League Baseball would have to approve such a substitution if the Sox say that Buchholz needs to be replaced.
“Typically when a player is injured, it’s because they’ve been hurt inside that series. If it’s not something, at this point, if it’s not something that’s currently taking place, there’s got to be some documentation along the way that there’s something going on here,” said Farrell. “Then, it’s even subjective to that point saying, how deep do they examine the case? Would they allow a change? We don’t know that.
“Once the [World Series] roster is submitted,” added Farrell, “everyone is under the assumption everyone is healthy, everyone is full go, then there has to be an event inside that series that would indicate otherwise.”
|10.24.13 at 5:16 pm ET|
Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester acknowledged that he keeps rosin — a legal substance — in his glove when he pitches, but he denied that he was using an illegal foreign substance to doctor the ball after pictures emerged of a glowing green substance on the thumb of his glove.
“I know what I do day in and day out to prepare to pitch in big league games. I know that not once have I cheated,” said Lester, who threw 7 2/3 shutout innings in the Red Sox’ Game 1 win. “The picture does look bad. But it’s rosin. That’s all I can really comment on with it. It’s rosin. And my next start, in Game 5, I’ll go out there and do the exact same thing and hopefully have the same outcome of the game.”
Lester said that he uses rosin liberally in order to compensate for the fact that he perspires profusely. By keeping it in his glove, he said, he can pitch with improved pace. He has no plans to alter how he applies it while pitching.
“I sweat like you wouldn’t believe. I need to keep water off of my hands and try to keep holding the ball. I think hitters would like that,” said Lester. “For me it helps with tempo, too. Every time you get a new ball, you’re not walking to the back of the mound grabbing the rosin, walking around. You can just reach in your glove and you’re back up on the rubber ready to go. That’s kind of how it started for me, more of a tempo issue.
“It’s perfectly legal,” he added. “They put it back there for a reason. I’ll continue to do it.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell likewise stated that, “categorically,” the only substance that was in Lester’s glove was rosin — the same legal substance that is on the mound. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.24.13 at 3:43 pm ET|
Former MLB third baseman and current ESPN personality Aaron Boone joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to talk about the Red Sox’ Game 1 victory over the Cardinals, as well as the dispute over whether Jon Lester had an illegal substance on his glove during his start on Wednesday.
Lester’s superb performance in Game 1 was marred by the news that Lester may have been using a substance such as Vaseline or pine tar to doctor the baseball.
“I’m sure it was something grip-related, and especially in the cold weather here,” Boone said. “Assuming it was pine tar or something grip-related which I’m almost certain it is, I have no issue with it. I guess by the letter of the law, it is illegal, but I think anyone inside the game really has no issue with it, and you didn’t see any Cardinals saying anything because the reality is probably most of their pitchers, especially this time of the year when it’s cold, are probably doing something to get themselves a better grip on the ball.”
Game 1 was also hit by more controversy during the first inning, as umpire Dana DeMuth blew a call during a potential double play. With runners on first and second, David Ortiz hit a ground ball to second baseman Matt Carpenter, who preceded to flip the ball to shortstop Pete Kozma for what DeMuth ruled as an out at second base. However, the ball simply glanced off of Kozma’s glove. After a protest from Boston manager John Farrell, the umpiring crew convened and the call was reversed.
“As to the reversal, look, they got it right. I totally get [Cardinals manager] Mike Matheny,” Boone said. ”How can the guy clearly standing, looking right at it, making that call overturn it? I understand how that can be extremely frustrating. I think, as an analyst, at the end of the day, the fact that they got it right is probably the best thing that came out of it.”
The Red Sox’ quest for a third World Series title in less than 10 years will not get any easier on Thursday night, as they will face off against rookie phenom Michael Wacha in Game 2. Wacha, the 2013 NLCS MVP, has been brilliant so far this postseason, as he has compiled a 3-0 record with a 0.43 ERA in three starts.
“You talk about those Tigers [starters]. The way Wacha is throwing right now, and the repertoire he has from a stuff standpoint, it’s in that stratosphere,” Boone said. “I mean, it’s as good a fastball/changeup combination as you’ll see … I think he’ll be effective, the question is how deep does he go in this game, because you know Boston is going to make him work and get into that bullpen.
“Now, the difference between the Cardinals and say, the Tigers, is the Cardinals bullpen is much deeper. There’s power arms down there from both sides, so they have the ability to match up late in games and be effective. Now, they’re all young, obviously in their first World Series, so we’ll see how they respond.”
|10.24.13 at 12:22 pm ET|
The pictures are intriguing, albeit grainy in the fashion of “documentation” surrounding the existence of Bigfoot: What is the discoloration on the thumb of Jon Lester‘s glove? Why is it a glowing green? Is it nuclear waste or some other radioactive substance that gave the pitcher superpowers in Game 1 of the World Series? Or perhaps Vaseline to provide his pitches with extraordinary movement? A sticky substance to improve grip and command? A well-designed, phosphorescent placebo meant to inspire the pitcher to the illusion of heightened powers without actually doing anything to impact his ability to pitch?
For now, the Zapruder-quality images — some of which are found here, including the picture that a Cardinals minor leaguer tweeted out during Game 1 of the World Series on Thursday night — will do little to clarify what Lester did or did not do to the ball. Major League Baseball said the video was insufficient to suggest evidence of cheating while noting that the Cardinals didn’t complain and the umpires didn’t detect any shenanigans.
But what about the actual pitches? Did anything about the way that Lester threw suggest an advantage gleaned from an illegal substance?
To Dan Brooks, the answer is very straightforward: No.
Brooks, a neuroscientist at Brown University who runs the indispensable BrooksBaseball.net (which compiles data about pitch type, movement, location and rotation to offer a detailed picture of pitching performances), suggested that the pitching data related to Lester’s dominant 7 2/3 shutout inning performance offered no evidence of the pitcher benefiting from cheating.
“You can look at the data. There’s nothing there. There’s not going to be anything there. There’s nothing to look for. There’s no erratic movement. He threw more cutters last night than he has in a while, but he was facing a very right-hand dominated lineup,” said Brooks. “As far as, was there any weird erratic pattern? No.” Read the rest of this entry »
|10.24.13 at 12:10 pm ET|
Adam Wainwright believes in looking for positives after he and his Cardinals teammates were shellshocked in an 8-1 loss to the Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series.
Wainwright, who was dominant in two wins over the Pirates in the NLDS, allowed five runs – three earned over five innings Wednesday night at Fenway. But it was how shaky the ace looked on the Fenway mound that left the most jarring impression among the millions watching.
Nothing symbolized the night Wainright had then when he let Stephen Drew‘s pop up fall in front of him in the second inning after calling off his catcher, Yadier Molina.
“That’s my ball. I called it,” Wainwright said. “Then I waited for someone else to take charge and that’s not the way you play baseball, completely my error.”
From the walk he issued to Jacoby Ellsbury, the first batter he faced, the right-hander knew he didn’t have it. It set the stage for a nightmarish first inning, featuring the first of two errors from Pete Kozma.
“It was difficult from the first pitch on, unfortunately,” Wainwright said. “My delivery was completely out of sync from the start. Very uncharacteristically I was unable to make an adjustment on the fly. Next time will be different. I’m very confident in this team to get me back the ball again. The good thing about the start is I didn’t show them anything I had. Everything I threw was pretty garbage. They didn’t really see much out of me.
“Felt very out of sync tonight, unfortunately. It’s something that usually I can make adjustments on the fly a lot quicker than I did tonight. It’s pretty disappointing to do that on this stage.”
While acknowledging just how good the Red Sox are at working counts, Wainwright was downright disgusted that he didn’t make life harder on the Boston lineup. He promised that things will be different again the next time, a next time he’s confident will come for him in this World Series.
“I pointed out quite of few things in my delivery that were close to being horrible and I’ll make some adjustments and be ready for the next start,” Wainwright said.
“I didn’t make it real tough on them, to be honest with you. I threw a lot of balls out of the zone, no contest pitches and a lot of pitches up in the zone for them to hit. It’s kind of a perfect storm of pitching right there. Leave balls up and throw balls wildly out of the zone where they can’t offer or leave balls over the middle, you’re going to get hit.”
Wainwright’s confidence going forward is based in the Game 2 starter, rookie Michael Wacha, who is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three postseason starts this month.
“I’m very confident in Mikey. We all believe in his ability. We all know and trust what he can do out there. He’s done it all postseason long. He doesn’t need to do anything different. He’s been great thus far just being himself and that’s what we expect [Thursday].”
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