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Red Sox pregame notes: Team hopes momentum continues to build in wake of walk-offs

08.02.13 at 5:58 pm ET
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Like most who saw Thursday’s incredible come-from-behind 8-7 win over Seattle, some of the Red Sox woke up Friday morning still in awe that they had pulled off the improbable victory.

“There was a time this morning just sitting around having a cup of coffee when you think, ‘I still can’t believe we won last night,’” said manager John Farrell.

Farrell quickly added that perhaps he shouldn’t be so surprised.

“I think we might be getting to the point where, personally, I think about the guys in our clubhouse and I can’t say they’re not capable of meeting any challenge that comes their way,” Farrell said.

The natural reaction following the last two games — the Red Sox won in walk-off fashion on Wednesday as well — would be to put that excitement in the past and turn the page to Friday’s series-opener against a Diamondbacks team with which they have little familiarity.

Although they will do that to an extent, Mike Napoli noted that it’s OK for the excitement to carry over.

“I don’t think it’ll ever go away, especially with this ballclub,” said the Sox first baseman. “We all care about each other and we’re all happy for each other.”

Farrell said wins like these last two, which were the Red Sox’ 10th and 11th walk-off victories of the season, can create a bit of a snowball effect as the season goes on.

“To what extent I don’t know, but there is an effect, and I think it’s a cumulative one given the number of late-inning wins we’ve had here,” Farrell said. “Our dugout was very loose last night. There wasn’t added pressure. It was a matter of one guy at a time putting together the best at bat he could. People always want to say, ‘What can this mean going forward?’ I think it’s a continued growth that we have as a team.”

Other Red Sox notes:

-Farrell said that even though Saturday will only be Jake Peavy‘s third start since coming off the disabled list, the newest Red Sox won’t be on a pitch count. Peavy missed six weeks with a fractured rib before returning for the White Sox on July 20.

He threw 96 pitches in that first start back before being stretched out to 118 pitches in his second start last Thursday. Peavy was scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday, as the White Sox chose to keep him fresh for any team that may have made a deal for him before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

“The stress of the pitches he throws tomorrow will have an effect on how deep he goes,” Farrell said. “He jumped up pretty quick on his pitch count [when he came back from injury]. … There’s not a number that says he has to come off the mound tomorrow. Like every starter, we’ll monitor it close and see how his stuff is playing against Arizona tomorrow.”

To counter what will be 10 days between starts before his Sox debut on Saturday, Peavy threw a light bullpen session before Thursday’s game.

-Farrell talked about two of the Red Sox’ top pitching prospects in Henry Owens and Anthony Ranaudo. Both were recently promoted — Owens to Double-A Portland and Ranaudo to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Owens was 8-5 with a 2.92 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings for High-A Salem. He recently put together a no-hit stretch of 19 1/3 innings. Ranaudo has rebound nicely from an abysmal 2012 campaign, posting an 8-4 record and 2.95 ERA over 19 starts for Portland.

“Owens, I think there’s probably been three or four times he’s walked to the mound and thrown no-hit performances, whether it’s been five, six innings at a time,” Farrell said. “He’s probably one of the top pitching prospects in our system. He’s been very strong.

“And I think Ranaudo has had a little bit of a turnaround, particularly after the year he had last year. He’s remained healthy, first and foremost. The velocity has climbed. He’s pitching to the projection that made him a first-round pick back in 2010.”

-Farrell said that Franklin Morales, who has been out since June 22 with a pectoral strain, will pitch both Saturday and Sunday in Pawtucket. Morales needed just 13 pitches in throwing a scoreless inning Wednesday night. Farrell noted that in addition to pitching back-to-back games, he’d also like to see Morales throw more than 13 or 15 pitches in an outing.

A good weekend could put Morales in a position to rejoin the Red Sox sooner rather than later, but one potential problem for him is that the Sox already have three lefties in the bullpen (Matt Thornton, Craig Breslow and Drake Britton). Farrell said four lefties could be an option, but that it’s something the team will need to work out.

“That’s one scenario, but we also have to get the best balance with a limited number of slots out there,” Farrell said. “First and foremost is that Franklin gets to the point that we have to make the necessary decision.”

Read More: anthony ranaudo, franklin morales, henry owens, jake peavy
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