|10.19.13 at 10:11 pm ET|
WEEI is at Fenway Park for Game 6 as the Red Sox try to punch their ticket to the World Series. To see all our photos from Saturday, click here.
Follow our live blog for updates and analysis throughout the game.
|10.19.13 at 7:58 pm ET|
There’s plenty on the line for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, as the Red Sox can either punch their ticket to face the Cardinals in the World Series with a win or face the unsavory prospect of trying to beat Justin Verlander for a second time in a winner-take-all Game 7. Get all the latest news, updates and analysis from Fenway Park by joining the live blog below.
|10.19.13 at 7:45 pm ET|
There are times when the exhaustion is visible in the members of the Red Sox bullpen. Closer Koji Uehara acknowledged after Game 5 of the ALCS, when he recorded a five-out save in 29 pitches, that, yes, he was feeling a bit cooked by his workload. Craig Breslow likewise detailed in his playoff blog that he is “considerably more exhausted” after playoff starts than he was in the regular season.
But while Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have each appeared in seven of the Sox’ nine playoff games and Breslow has pitched in six of them, manager John Farrell‘s usage of them has hardly been to limit them.
“The thing that’s changing is we’re using them more,” said Farrell. “Each guy has rebounded and recovered well. I think there’s also an added adrenaline that flows right now that might not be there regular season. Not to say that they’re superhuman, but I think, much like will take place today, I’ll make my rounds in the outfield and just double-check with them, and I know they’re all going to say, yes, they’re ready to go. Again, because they’ve been so efficient, we’ve been fortunate where we really haven’t really overtaxed one guy, other than the number of outs have increased. But we haven’t blown up a pitch count for any particular guy that would say he needs multiple days off.”
Farrell noted particularly that Uehara has been good about making clear the nature of the workload he can handle.
“I fully recognize that these pitches have added stress to them. That’s all factored in, yet I trust what he tells me. And he’s been great about that,” said Farrell. “Jokingly, I’ve heard him, [after I'll] say, ‘Five, six outs,’ he’ll say, ‘Four.’ But you know, the other night he got loose very quick. We’ve called down and said, ‘It could be five tonight.’ ”
Still, as much as Uehara has proven resilient and capable of responding to the Sox’ needs, Farrell also acknowledged that he was aware that Uehara appeared spent after his five-out, 29-pitch save in Detroit. He planned to check in with his closer during batting practice. And the manager said he would be mindful of his closer’s feeling of fatigue as he determines his potential workload for Game 6.
All of that being the case, Farrell was asked, does he think that Uehara would be limited to just three outs on Saturday?
“Not in my mind,” said Farrell.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– The Tigers feature an all right-handed rotation. Prior to the series, that fact made it seem likely that Daniel Nava would be a staple of the Sox’ lineup during the American League Championship Series. Instead, for the fourth time in the series’ six games, Nava — whose .385 OBP ranked fifth in the American League this year — is once again on the bench, with Jonny Gomes getting the start against Max Scherzer in Game 6.
That decision by manager John Farrell reflects in part on the fact that Nava has struggled in his career against Scherzer (1-for-9). But it also attests to the fact that Farrell feels that Gomes changes the dynamic of the team, delivering energy both on the bases and in the field that Nava can’t necessarily replicate. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.19.13 at 6:39 pm ET|
Jim Leyland, baseball lifer and eight-year Tigers manager, knows what fans want to see in October: the best the sport has to offer.
But unfortunately for his team, its two most feared sluggers — Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder — haven’t been able to give that to the public. Fielder is mired in a postseason slump that dates back to last October, and Cabrera has been noticeably injured for at least the last couple of months.
“It’s really a shame, to be honest with you, for the whole baseball world because they’re not getting a chance to see him at his best,” Leyland said of Cabrera. “This time of year, people are turning on the TV, they love to see these guys. Obviously I think he’s the best player in the league. To not be able to see him at his best because of a physical ailment, it hurts a little bit, but that’s just the way it is. You have to live with those things.”
Cabrera has had a minor impact, hitting .263 with a .317 on-base clip while hitting two long balls and driving in seven this postseason. It’s a far cry from his 2012 Triple Crown season, as well as his 2013 regular season when he led the league in batting (.348), on-base percentage (.442) and slugging (.636).
“He can’t do some of the things that he normally can do,” Leyland said. “We’re not trying to hide anything. I think that’s pretty obvious to the naked eye when you watch him.
“It kind of breaks your heart, to be honest with you, to see him out there the way he has to be out there and the way he is right now because you know he’s hurting,” Leyland added later. “Everybody is conscientious these days about people earning their money. You talk about somebody who is earning their money, this guy feels like he owes it to the Detroit Tigers and our fans to be out there”
Fielder, however, isn’t hurt. He’s slumping, very much so and at the worst time. The 5-foot-11, 275-pound first baseman is hitting .243 through 10 games this month, and while that isn’t far from Cabrera’s mark, it hasn’t had nearly the same impact.
|10.19.13 at 6:30 pm ET|
The Cubs have not contacted the Red Sox or Torey Lovullo about the possibility of interviewing for the managerial vacancy in Chicago. But with a report out of Chicago that the team would be interested in discussing its position with the Red Sox bench coach, Lovullo suggested that while he is flattered by any potential interest in furtherance of his ultimate goal of being a big league manager, particularly given the impression he formed of Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein while he was the Red Sox GM and Lovullo was the manager of Triple-A Pawtucket in 2010, he also remains focused on his work with the Red Sox in their pursuit of a World Series.
“I want to make sure it’s not a distraction here. This is my focus, this is where I’m at, I’m proud to be a Boston Red Sox. … My allegiance is to this group that’s been together for a long time,” said Lovullo. “I understand how the association happens because of Theo’s connection to the Red Sox and me being here when Theo was here. I think we have a mutual respect for one another. But we were on two different levels. He was at the big league level and I was in player development. I respected everything that the big league level stood for. There [were] no barriers between the front office and the manager, there was no disconnect with player development, and I know in time with that guy that sits in that seat there [in Chicago] with Theo that it’s going to be a pretty special relationship.”
Lovullo said that he has had “no contact” with the Cubs, and that “it’s just been business as usual around here, which is what we all prefer.” He said that, even if asked, he would not discuss any potential managerial vacancies with other clubs until after the Sox’ season concludes. So, if the Sox advanced to the World Series, Lovullo would not consider interviewing with another team during the off days following the ALCS and before the start of the World Series on Wednesday.
Sox manager John Farrell likewise suggested that he would prefer that any interview requests for members of his coaching staff respect the team’s desire to keep everyone in their clubhouse focused on the games yet to be played.
“I think we’d like for everybody to remain focused on what we have here first, this being the priority. But we don’t want to get in the way of potential opportunities for someone either,” said Farrell. “And hopefully, if those requests come in, they’d be sensitive to what we’re going through as well.”
Still, whenever Lovullo is hired by someone — something that Farrell seemed to suggest was a matter of when, not if — the Sox manager believes that his trusted adviser will be in prime position to excel.
“To me, he’s a manager-in-waiting,” said Farrell. “I think he’s going to have opportunities until he ends up securing one of the jobs. But he’s been integral to the success that we’ve had here. He’s a great baseball mind. The conversations and the feedback and just the insights that he gives, he’s going to be very good.”
|10.19.13 at 4:52 pm ET|
The Red Sox, up 3-2 in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, will once again feature Xander Bogaerts at third base and Jonny Gomes in left field as they look to secure a berth in the World Series with a victory against the Tigers and starter Max Scherzer.
Gomes started over Daniel Nava with Scherzer starting in Game 2 of the ALCS, a reflection of Nava’s struggles (1-for-9) against the likely 2013 AL Cy Young winner. Bogaerts, meanwhile, gets his second straight start at third base in the ALCS, with the Sox feeling that his ability to lay off tough breaking balls offers a better chance for success in this series given the struggles of Will Middlebrooks against the Tigers’ sliders. (Middlebrooks is 1-for-8 with six strikeouts in his career against Scherzer.)
Whereas the Sox turned to Mike Carp at first base in Game 2 of the ALCS, on Saturday, they will feature Mike Napoli at his customary spot in deference to his offensive impact over the last three games, in which he’s delivered two homers and four extra-base hits. Meanwhile, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be behind the plate for Clay Buchholz, who is still looking to earn his first career playoff victory after no-decisions in the 2009 ALDS, 2013 ALDS and Game 2 against Scherzer (when he permitted a season-high five runs but was taken off the hook when the Sox rallied for thier 6-5 walkoff win).
The Tigers will stick with the lineup they employed in Games 4 and 5 in Detroit, with catcher Alex Avila in the lineup after suffering a patellar tendon strain in Game 5.
RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jonny Gomes, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Clay Buchholz, SP
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, LF
Alex Avila, C
Omar Infante, 2B
Austin Jackson, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Max Scherzer, SP
|10.19.13 at 1:25 pm ET|
Coming off of a pressure-filled Game 5 victory in the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox will look to advance to their third World Series in less than 10 years on Saturday night, as Clay Buchholz will face off against Detroit in Game 6 of the ALCS at Fenway Park.
It certainly won’t be an easy task for the Sox, as they will have to deal with Detroit starting pitcher Max Scherzer, who has amassed a 2-0 record and a 2.25 ERA in three postseason games this year.
Game 5 of the ALCS was a nail-biter for both the Red Sox and their fans. After scoring four runs off of Game 1 hero Anibal Sanchez, the Sox saw their once-comfortable lead dwindle as the game progressed, as Detroit scored in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to cut the deficit to just one run.
Thankfully for the Red Sox, closer Koji Uehara entered the contest in the eighth inning and put the game away with a five-out save, giving Boston the 4-3 win and a 3-2 series lead.
Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 ERA) will be looking to redeem himself after a lackluster effort in Game 2. Buchholz started strong, only allowing one run and striking out six over his first five innings of work. However, it all fell apart in the next inning, as the right-hander allowed five straight hits, including home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila, before being pulled. Buchholz finished the night with a stat line of 5 2/3 innings pitched, five earned runs, six strikeouts and zero walks.
However, Buchholz did not receive the loss in the game, as the Red Sox would make a comeback in the later innings thanks in large part to the bats of David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Red Sox would go on to win the game by a score of 6-5, evening up the series at one apiece.
“My execution wasn’t nearly as sharp,” Buchholz said after the game. “I felt like I was sort of throwing through my delivery rather than staying in it, and the pitches ended up being in the middle and up over the plate, and you can’t leave pitches up to a team like this because they are going to make you pay for it, and that’s what they did.”
Buchholz has had success in his career against Detroit, as he has compiled a record of 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in eight career starts.
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