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John Farrell: Red Sox don’t plan to change roster for ALCS

10.10.13 at 2:34 pm ET
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The same 25 who were asked to beat the Rays will also be asked to be the A’s or Tigers.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said that he did “not anticipate any roster changes” from the group that beat the Rays in four games in the American League Division Series as his team readies for the best-of-seven American League Championship Series. He said that there was “a review” of the roster, but that in the absence of any injury that might change the availability of players for the second round, there was “nothing glaring” that needed to be addressed through a roster change. Of course, given that the most common change from the five-game Division Series format to the best-of-seven Championship Series format is typically a shift from 10 to 11 pitchers, the fact that the Sox had already opted to carry 11 pitchers in the Division Series may have limited the need for change.

Other notes from Farrell’s press conference on Thursday afternoon, prior to a team workout:

As he said on WEEI on Wednesday, Farrell reiterated that Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the ALCS regardless of opponent, but that the team will wait to see who wins Game 5 between the Tigers and Athletics before determining the alignment of the rest of its rotation.

— On how he viewed the potential difference in facing the Tigers or Athletics: “Four and a half hours less travel to one,” Farrell joked, referring to the distinction between the cross-country flight to Oakland and the shorter jaunt to Detroit. He suggested that both teams feature “very good lineups,” though noted that Oakland tends to feature a roster with which they more often match up based on the opposing starter and pitcher, while Detroit features a more set lineup structure.

“Either team we play, this is going to be a steep challenge,” Farrell said.

— Farrell said that the Sox are “certainly open” to the idea of using one of their four playoff starters (Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz or Jake Peavy) out of the bullpen, in a fashion similar to the way that the Tigers aggressively employed Game 1 starter Max Scherzer in Game 4 of the ALDS. He specifically cited Peavy as a pitcher who seemed open to the possibility.

“Certainly open-minded to it, yes,” Farrell said of the possibility of using starters out of the bullpen. “But it’s going to be dependent on usage of guys leading up to that. If we get into an extra-inning game, who’s available the next day, all those things we would typically look at in the regular season. But we’re certainly open to it. And I know if you were to ask Jake Peavy, he would thrive on the opportunity coming out of the bullpen.”

— Unlike the Rays series, where the Red Sox lineup had far-reaching familiarity with each of the starters they faced, either the Tigers or A’s presents a bit of a different beast given that both rotations feature at least one starter whom the Sox haven’t seen this year. In the case of the Tigers, most Sox players have seen right-hander Anibal Sanchez at some point, though the former Sox prospect didn’t face Boston in either of the two series between the teams this year. The A’s have rookies Sonny Gray and Dan Straily, neither of whom the Sox have seen. That, in turn, suggests that the team will be heavily reliant on the work of its advance scouts for those starters.

“The work that will be done on video internally here, our players will get a clear picture in addition to their own use of video,” said Farrell. “First-hand experience, we’re going to be short on, but the best we can do to give them tendencies to outline what a pitcher might look to do in certain situations, counts, the more we can rehearse and rehash that, maybe we put our lineup in a better chance to succeed.”

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