|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.”
|10.22.13 at 3:35 pm ET|
Cardinals Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright wasn’t about to disclose any secrets about attacking the Red Sox lineup.
“I can’t tell you that, can I?” he chuckled. “That’s the scouting report.”
He did, however, suggest that the opportunity to pitch in the World Series — after being unable to do so in 2011, when he was sidelined while recovering from Tommy John surgery — represented a special moment for him. He’d pitched in the World Series before, of course, having emerged as the closer on the 2006 Cardinals team that enjoyed a surprise march to a title, but to return to that platform after rehabbing in 2011 and enduring a return in 2012 in which his arm strength fluctuated represents a different sort of accomplishment.
“It’s pretty special to me,” said Wainwright. “I never doubted that I would return, but those thoughts creep in. … My stuff came back, my ability that I knew was there kind of returned. To be able to have some big-time playoff moments this year, it’s been very special, something I’ll never forget.”
One interesting aspect of facing the Red Sox that Wainwright did explore was facing Shane Victorino, who has set a record by getting hit six times in the postseason this year.
“I’ve pitched against Shane many years. I know if he gets on base, he can wreak havoc. He’s very fast. He’s a very good baserunner. So I don’t think anyone in our locker room is intentionally ever going to throw one and hit him on purpose because they know what they can do on the basepaths,” said Wainwright. “I saw a couple of those [HBPs]. They were breaking balls and changeups, too. It’s unintentional sometimes.”
Wainwright, who has faced Victorino 23 times, suggested that there would be a fascinating full-circle moment in the opportunity to face the outfielder — a switch-hitter for most of his career — batting right-handed, given that Wainwright’s experience facing Victorino dates to the outfielder’s first explorations of hitting left-handed.
“It’ll be interesting to see him right-handed. I faced him left-handed quite a bit, and I remember his first game attempting to switch-hit when he was with the Dodgers in Double-A,” said Wainwright. “I played against him way back when. All he could do was slash and run. Next year, he came back and had great power from the left side, even more power, I think, lefty than righty. So it’ll be interesting to see him hitting right-handed.”
Wainwright also expressed his amazement at Red Sox closer Koji Uehara‘s ability to strike out opponents, suggesting that his ability to elicit three-pitch punchouts was cartoonish.
“We’re going to do our best to not let him pitch at the end of the game,” said Wainwright.
|10.22.13 at 2:42 pm ET|
John Hirschbeck was named chief for the umpiring crew that will handle the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.
Hirschbeck, who more than 30 years of experience, will be joined on the field by Dana DeMuth, Jim Joyce, Paul Emmel, Bill Miller and Mark Wegner.
Hirschbeck has worked three previous World Series (2010, 2006 and 1995), while DeMuth is working his fifth (2009, 2001, 1998, 1993), tying him with Gerry Davis and Joe West for most World Series among active umpires.
Joyce umpired the 2001 and 1999 World Series, while Miller worked the 2010 Fall Classic. Emmel and Wegner are making their first appearances on baseball’s biggest stage.
The umpires will wear patches that read “WB” to honor Wally Bell, a 21-year umpire who died last week at the age of 48.
|10.22.13 at 2:17 pm ET|
The first of what is expected to be many awards for the Red Sox this year was bestowed upon John Farrell on Tuesday, as the Sox skipper was named American League Manager of the Year by the Sporting News.
One year after the Red Sox lost 90 games, Farrell took over following a stint as manager in Toronto and led the Sox to a league-best 97-65 record and the American League pennant.
Pirates bench boss Clint Hurdle was the National League winner after guiding Pittsburgh to its first winning season (94-65) and playoff appearance since 1992.
Voting was done by a panel of 19 major league managers, who voted only in their own league.
Farrell received five votes, two more than Indians manager Terry Francona, who was manager in Boston when Farrell was the team’s pitching coach from 2007-10. Bob Melvin (A’s) and Ron Washington (Rangers) received one vote apiece.
Hurdle also received five votes, beating out the Braves’ Fredi Gonzalez (3) and the Cardinals’ Mike Matheny (1).
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