Red Sox scrimmage day notes: Sox to carry 11 pitchers in ALDS
|10.02.13 at 1:43 pm ET|
Manager John Farrell said that the Red Sox have decided to carry 11 pitchers in the American League Division Series. While he noted that one key to shutting down the Sox’ two potential ALDS foes (the Indians and Rays, who play in Wednesday night’s wild card game) was the ability to contain their left-handed hitters, he suggested that the decision to go with 11 pitchers was made independently of the notion that those two teams represented the Sox’ potential first-round opponents.
“It was more staying with what our strengths have been,” said Farrell. “This wasn’t in reaction to Texas being eliminated. This is going back and forth with [GM Ben Cherington] and others on what is the 25th player, who is it, how do I envision, how do we envision that person being used. You start to get multiple moves down the line and then you begin to weigh what’s more important. To me, protecting the downside of something unforeseen happening on the mound, pitching-wise, I wanted to shore up that.”
Farrell did suggest that the Sox’ freedom to go with 11 pitchers was increased by the versatility of players like Daniel Nava (left, right, first) Mike Carp (left, first), Will Middlebrooks (third, second), Xander Bogaerts (short, third) and Shane Victorino (right, center) played into the team’s willingness to carry an extra pitcher for the first-round series. Given that the Sox are almost certain to carry Quintin Berry (an outfielder) as a pinch-running weapon, Farrell made it sound as if the decision about 11 vs. 10 pitchers may have reflected the fact that another potential position player/pinch-runner, Jackie Bradley Jr., was an outfielder, and thus something of a redundancy.
“One challenge of the roster is we’re heavy in outfielders. I’ll tell you, that’s where a lot of the decision-making centered around — that extra player, knowing that either a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter, they’re outfielders, and making sure we weren’t too thin on the infield,” said Farrell.
The decision to carry 11 pitchers would seemingly create an increased likelihood that left-hander Matt Thornton will make the playoff roster (though it’s possible that the Sox could go for greater innings protection by putting Felix Doubront on the playoff roster).
Here are Thornton’s numbers against the Rays (left-handers have an asterisk):
And here are his numbers against the Indians:
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
— The Sox are slated to have a six-inning scrimmage starting at about 3 p.m.
— Farrell offered the following scouting report on the Rays and Indians.
“Well Tampa, we have the benefit of 19 games under our belt with them this year. We know they’re going to pitch well, we’re likely to be involved in a low-scoring game. To control their left-handed hitters is critical from our standpoint, and that’s not to say that Longoria, Myers and other right-handers in that lineup can’t do damage. But when they’ve scored a number of runs, it’s what their left-handed hitters have done,” said Farrell. “With Cleveland, it’s probably been three months since we’ve seen them. They’re a little bit different team right now with the way Chisenhall is back to an every day player for them. Yan Gomes obviously taking over behind the plate on a daily basis. Some of their personnel has changed. They’ve got guys that are hot right now. Obviously Brantley is swinging the bat very well right now. Kipnis. And again, as much as we’ve talked about with controlling the left-handed side of the plate against Tampa, the same goes for Cleveland. That’s a very good lineup to go against right-handed pitching. And they’re playing with a lot of positive energy right now. It’s 10 in a row that they’ve won? And they’ve answered the challenge every day they’ve walked on the field in September. Containing that momentum will start on the mound for us.”
— Farrell said that it was not yet known whether Dustin Pedroia would require surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb after the season.
“That will probably be determined upon the exit physical exam at the end of the year,” said Farrell. “Today I don’t know if there’s any corrective measures that have to be undertaken.”
— The Sox will be sending some players to Fort Myers to stay sharp after Wednesday’s scrimmage.
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