|10.23.13 at 10:19 am ET|
The Red Sox announced their 25-man roster for the World Series on Wednesday morning, keeping intact the same group that won both the American League Division Series against the Rays and the American League Championship Series. Despite some questions about the physical condition about Clay Buchholz, the starter remains on the 25-man roster, with John Farrell having said on Tuesday that the right-hander is expected to start in either Game 3 or Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis.
(It is worth noting: If there is an injury to Buchholz or anyone else during the World Series, that player can be removed from and replaced on the roster for the remainder of the series. A pitcher can only be replaced on the roster by a pitcher, while a position player can only be replaced by a position player.)
Here is the now-familiar Red Sox roster for the World Series:
PITCHERS (11): Craig Breslow, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Franklin Morales, Jake Peavy, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Brandon Workman.
CATCHERS (2): David Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
INFIELDERS (6): Xander Bogaerts, Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia.
OUTFIELDERS (6): Quintin Berry, Mike Carp, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino.
|10.23.13 at 9:25 am ET|
It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago the Red Sox were in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation, as the team posted a 69-93 record, its worst mark since 1965, and finished in last place in the American League East.
Now, just one year and 172 games later, Boston will kick off the 109th World Series, as the Sox will host the Cardinals in Game 1 at Fenway Park.
Jon Lester will get the nod for Boston, while Adam Wainwright will take the mound for St. Louis.
This will be the fourth World Series between the teams, as the two clubs faced off in 1946, 1967 and 2004. The Cardinals defeated the Sox in seven games both both ’46 and ’67, capturing their sixth and eighth championships. In 2004, the Red Sox famously ended their 86-year title drought, as they swept the Cards in four games.
This will be the first World Series since 1999 in which both teams finished the regular season with the best record in their league, as the Cardinals and Red Sox both were 97-65.
Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA) will be the third Boston left-hander to start Game 1 of a World Series. The last two southpaws to be so honored were Bruce Hurst in 1986 and a 23-year-old Babe Ruth in 1918.
Lester has answered the call as Boston’s ace during the postseason, as he is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in three starts. In his last outing against the Tigers in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Lester was solid, allowing two earned runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Lester’s performance this October has not deviated from his career numbers during the playoffs, as he has compiled a 2.35 ERA in nine postseason starts.
“He’s a front-line pitcher,” Boston manager John Farrell said when asked about Lester’s impressive postseason track record. “This is a guy that’s a power pitcher. Power stuff wins in the postseason. He’s able to get guys out inside the strike zone and not rely on opposing hitters to chase or expand. Because of his physical abilities, that’s what allows him to perform so well in environments and in games late in the season.”
|10.23.13 at 9:16 am ET|
Just a year after finishing in the basement of the American League East and losing 93 games, the Red Sox are going to the World Series.
Awaiting the Red Sox, the best team in the American League in the regular season and postseason, will be the best team in the National League in the regular season and the playoffs, the Cardinals. Both teams finished with a 97-65 record at the end of 162 games, and both teams won their league championship series in six games, with the Cardinals wrapping up the NLCS against the Dodgers on Friday night in St. Louis, while the Red Sox won a dramatic Game 6 against the Tigers the next evening. It’s the first time since 1999 that the two teams with the best records in their leagues will face off in the Fall Classic.
There are plenty of similarities between the Cardinals and Red Sox, and the two clubs match up well. One can expect a lot of offensive firepower between the two teams, as each finished atop its league in runs scored (Red Sox with 853, or 5.27 runs per game, and the Cardinals with 783, 4.83 runs per game). Both clubs have both veterans and rookies making a big impact, with the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha taking home the NLCS MVP award and Red Sox 21-year-old infielder Xander Bogaerts forcing his way into the lineup at third base for the foreseeable future. They both have seasoned playoff performers in the middle of their lineup, with David Ortiz (15 home runs, career .899 postseason OPS) for the Red Sox and perhaps one of the greatest postseason performers of all time, Carlos Beltran (.337/.449/.724 in 45 playoff games) for St. Louis.
Another similarity? Both teams feature dominant closers, but neither occupied that role back in April. Red Sox fans are well aware of ALCS MVP Koji Uehara and his split-fingered fastball’s journey to the closer’s role after a string of injuries depleted the bullpen. Like Uehara, the Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal took over in later in the season, earning the role in August after Edward Mujica hit a rough stretch. Rosenthal is a 23-year-old power pitcher who features a 97 mile per hour fastball. He’s tossed seven scoreless innings and recorded three saves this postseason. As far as the rest of the bullpen goes, both teams’ relief corps have been extremely effective. Red Sox relievers have compiled a 0.91 ERA between the two series and allowed just one run in 21 ALCS innings. The Cardinals ‘pen has been equally impressive, posting a 1.42 ERA in the NLCS. The Red Sox, who are known to work pitch counts to force starters out of games early, won’t be facing the same kind of bullpen as they did in the LCS against the Tigers. The Cardinals boast a group of hard-throwing relievers, including Carlos Martinez (who regularly hits triple digits on the radar gun), Kevin Siegrist and John Axford, who both throw in the upper 90s.
“They’re bringing in guys that all throw 100 and have filthy stuff,” Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava acknowledged.
But that doesn’t mean the Red Sox will alter their game plan.
“I don’t think our approach will change,” Nava said. “We have to stick with what we’ve had the whole year. We know their bullpen is strong. We know their starting pitching is strong. We know they are a very good team.”
|10.23.13 at 12:40 am ET|
According to multiple team sources, the Red Sox “fully expect” Clay Buchholz to be ready to make his next scheduled start, which would presumably be in Game 3 of the World Series against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
While a source suggested there are some physical issues Buchholz is dealing with, there is presently nothing that the Red Sox anticipate will force an alteration to the team’s postseason rotation. Manager John Farrell, in outlining the rotation for the World Series, said that John Lackey will start Game 2 with Buchholz and Jake Peavy expected to pitch Games 3 and 4, with the order yet to be announced.
“Everything is OK [with Buchholz], we fully expect he and Jake to be pitching on the weekend in St. Louis,” Farrell said by way of explanation for the decision to have Lackey start Game 2 of the World Series after Buchholz started Games 2 and 6 of the ALCS. “[The decision was made based on] the way [Lackey] came out of his game over in Detroit, and not allowing too many days of rest to get away from that previous start of his. … That’s the primary reason to get John back in there in Game 2.”
Some red flags went up toward the end of the Red Sox’ workout at Fenway Park Tuesday when Felix Doubront executed a simulated game with general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell looking on. The lefty then proceeded to throw a side session under the watchful eyes of pitching coach Juan Nieves.
The Red Sox are required to submit their 25-man roster by 10 a.m. Wednesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Farrell said he didn’t foresee any changes from the roster that the Sox employed in the ALCS and ALDS — though it’s worth noting that in case of an injury, the Sox could remove a player from the roster and replace him with another player from his position grouping (meaning if Buchholz was injured during the World Series, the Sox could replace him on the roster with another pitcher).
Buchholz, who missed more than three months due to right shoulder inflammation, has pitched in three postseason games, allowing 10 runs over 16 2/3 innings while striking out 15 and walking five. He has held opponents to a .205 batting average in the first four innings throughout the playoffs, but a .435 average in innings five and six.
In his last appearance, Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers, Buchholz was charged with two runs on four hits over five innings, throwing 85 pitches. During the outing, he managed just three pitches of 93 mph or better, tossing just one fastball in his final inning.
|10.23.13 at 12:35 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 is also 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.
Little known fact: I have a World Series ring.
A look at my statistical profile will say that, in 2007, I made 49 appearances for the Red Sox’ Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate, and none in the big leagues. But I did get called up to Boston that year on Sept. 1. There was a young starter who was making a start for the Red Sox the next day, and the team wasn’t sure how the start was going to go. They needed some extra coverage.
As it turned out, Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter. It seemed like they were all set in terms of not overtaxing their bullpen that day, and I was actually sent back down to Pawtucket the next day — one of the few September call-downs in the history of baseball.
Watching the World Series that year, I definitely felt disconnected from it. There were plenty of guys making contributions who I played with that season and the previous one. It was obviously pretty neat for the organization, and to be part of the organization was something I cherished, but I’d always thought that the next time around I would like to have a more significant contribution to the success of the team.
Even so, the Red Sox were kind enough to give me a World Series ring based on those two days on the roster, so I do have one. But I don’t wear it that frequently because I don’t really feel like I was a part of what the 2007 Red Sox accomplished.
Obviously, the experience of this October has been very different — though it is worth noting that my sister told me that, when I’ve been pitching this month, her kids were watching the game but didn’t recognize me because of my beard. Mistaken identity notwithstanding, I’ve still had the chance to feel very connected to what we’ve done thus far and what we’re hoping to accomplish now.
I don’t even know if it’s sunk in yet that we’re one of the last two teams standing. Certainly, though, there’s a distinct feeling around these games and Fenway Park, whether the volume of interviews on Tuesday’s media day or the considerable increase in goods from vendors in the clubhouse. All of those elements offer evidence of the fact that we’re moving on in this journey. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.22.13 at 6:05 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that after Jon Lester starts Game 1 of the World Series, John Lackey will start Game 2, in part based on a desire not to have his next trip to the mound be too far removed from his dominant performance in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers, when Lackey beat Justin Verlander, 1-0. A Game 2 start would mean Lackey was pitching on seven days’ rest, as opposed to nine days if he were to be pushed back to Game 3 in St. Louis.
Meanwhile, Farrell said that the rotation order had not been set for Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis. Farrell expects Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy to make those two starts, and said that the decision to push Buchholz back to either Game 3 or 4 (after he pitched in Games 2 and 6 of the ALCS) was not health-based, but that he wants to see how the Sox get through the first two contests against the Cardinals before setting his weekend rotation in the National League park. One possible explanation: Farrell wants to make sure neither Buchholz nor Peavy is needed out of the bullpen before he commits to the rotation order for Games 3 and 4.
Farrell also said that he did not expect the 25-man World Series roster to differ from the 11-pitcher squad that the Sox featured in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
|10.22.13 at 5:52 pm ET|
Jacoby Ellsbury may be in his last days in a Red Sox uniform. When the World Series concludes, the 30-year-old will be eligible for free agency, with his future beyond this year unknown.
He’s aware of this, if for no other reason than because he was asked repeatedly about the fact during player media availability on Tuesday, one day before Ellsbury’s Sox prepare to take on the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series. But the outfielder insists that his focus is not on what lies beyond the coming games, given what’s at stake.
“To be on top of your game, you’ve got to focus on the task at hand, and that’s winning a World Series,” said Ellsbury. That’s pretty much what everybody’s goal, everybody’s focus is on, is right now. I think that’s what it has to be. It has to be on this team. It has to be on these next maybe seven games. It could be four games. But it’s laying it all on the line right now. Hopefully that’s what you’re remembered by, this team and this year.”
Asked about the possibility of using a strong postseason as a platform for greater earnings, Ellsbury — who is hitting .400 with a .467 OBP and six steals in seven attempts this month — suggested that such concerns were not on his mind. Nor, he suggested, had they been at any point this year.
“The most important thing is winning. From Day 1, it’s laying it all on the line. I’ve always taken pride in playing hard, playing the game the right way and leaving it all on the field,” said Ellsbury. “I haven’t approached the game any differently than I have in years past, and that’s playing the game the right way, being a good teammate and just playing the game the right way.
“I’m thinking about getting a ring,” he added. “I’m thinking about going out there, competing, playing as hard as I can, competing with the fellas and getting a ring. That’s the most important thing.”
Ellsbury, of course, was a central contributor to the Sox’ last World Series team in 2007. But his perspective on what a second championship would mean in Boston is vastly different than it was when he was a wide-eyed rookie.
“In 2007, everything happened so quick. I got called up, got put on the postseason roster and won a World Series. Everything happened so fast. This year, I think, it’s so hard. No matter how quality of a team you have, it is tough to get to this point. I think this year, I’m definitely enjoying it, slowing it down a little bit and definitely enjoying the whole process a little bit,” said Ellsbury. “I felt very fortunate [in 2007]. I knew at the time there is players that have played their whole careers, All-Star players who have never made the postseason. For me to make it my first year and win a World Series was unbelievable, but you do realize how tough it is to get here, no matter how good a team you have. It’s tough. For us to get to this level, it’s obviously, I’m very happy but I know we have a lot of work left to do.”
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