|Red Sox World Series Game 1 lineup: Xander Bogaerts hitting seventh, David Ross catching Jon Lester||10.23.13 at 3:50 pm ET|
As the Red Sox open the World Series against Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals, the team will feature a slightly different look to its lineup. Xander Bogaerts, the 21-year-old who is off to a historic start to his postseason career, has moved up from ninth to seventh in the lineup, with Stephen Drew getting nudged down to the No. 8 spot and catcher David Ross — continuing his personal association with starter Jon Lester, the third straight start in which the two of them are paired together — batting ninth. As expected, Jonny Gomes remains in the lineup in left field, with Daniel Nava available off the bench.
There is scant familiarity on the two teams with the opposing starting pitchers. Here is the complete batter vs. starting pitcher matchup history. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.
RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Jon Lester, SP
|The strange Red Sox history of Cardinals flamethrower Carlos Martinez||10.23.13 at 11:22 am ET|
In early 2009, the Red Sox believed they had uncovered the proverbial diamond in the rough, the type of talent who represented the payoff for the hard, sometimes exhausting work of scouting the sometimes murky international landscape. At the time, the team had found a slight 6-footer with the sort of athleticism and quick, loose arm that permits room to project, and to dream. He was already throwing 89-91 mph, perhaps topping out at 92 mph, with the ability to spin a breaking ball and a solid feel for a changeup.
This was a 17-year-old pitcher who already had an impressive three-pitch mix but also possessed considerable upside given that his yet-to-fill-out frame and arm action suggested that there was a velocity bump coming, with the idea of 95 mph comets seeming like a fairly easy projection. And best of all: He remained relatively undiscovered. This was a coup for Craig Shipley, then the Red Sox vice-president of international scouting, and his department’s staff.
The Red Sox signed Carlos Matias for a modest bonus, with multiple industry sources suggesting that the team was able to bring the right-hander into the fold for just $140,000. He reported to their Dominican Academy to start his professional career. But four weeks later, what seemed like a very promising start to a Red Sox career was derailed in dramatic fashion.
While Matias’ background appeared to check out in the Red Sox’ internal investigations pre-signing, a red flag emerged as Major League Baseball conducted its standard background investigation prior to the finalization of a contract for an international amateur. Matias’ name at birth, it was discovered, was Carlos Martinez, thus raising broader identity concerns — including over his date of birth — on the part of MLB. His deal with the Sox was voided on the basis of the identity fraud. Matias — or Martinez — was suspended for a year, unable to sign with any teams. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox set 25-man World Series roster with no changes||10.23.13 at 10:19 am ET|
The Red Sox announced their 25-man roster for the World Series on Wednesday morning, keeping intact the same group that won both the American League Division Series against the Rays and the American League Championship Series. Despite some questions about the physical condition about Clay Buchholz, the starter remains on the 25-man roster, with John Farrell having said on Tuesday that the right-hander is expected to start in either Game 3 or Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis.
(It is worth noting: If there is an injury to Buchholz or anyone else during the World Series, that player can be removed from and replaced on the roster for the remainder of the series. A pitcher can only be replaced on the roster by a pitcher, while a position player can only be replaced by a position player.)
Here is the now-familiar Red Sox roster for the World Series:
|John Lackey to start Game 2 of World Series, Buchholz/Peavy TBD||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.
|Jacoby Ellsbury: Focus is on winning World Series, not free agency||10.22.13 at 5:52 pm ET|
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.”
|Cardinals Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright: World Series opportunity ‘pretty special to me’||10.22.13 at 3:35 pm ET|
“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.
|Daniel Nava on playing time: ‘The point of playing is getting to the World Series’||10.21.13 at 4:06 pm ET|
Even though the Tigers featured all right-handed starters, Jonny Gomes displaced Daniel Nava in the Red Sox lineup for four of the six ALCS games. That he did so represented no fault of Nava’s, who hit hit .303 with a .385 OBP (fifth in the AL) during the regular season and who has reached in six of his 14 postseason playoff appearances (.429 OBP). Yet manager John Farrell suggested that the elements that Gomes introduces — whether running the bases, in the outfield or in the batter’s box — led to something of a hunch that he should go with Gomes’ intangibles over Nava’s sound offense.
It would be easy for Nava to bristle, given his offensive success. Yet the 30-year-old switch-hitter, during the clubhouse celebration that followed the Red Sox clinching their World Series berth, suggested that he takes no umbrage at Farrell’s decision.
“Jonny and I were talking about it today,” Nava said during the Saturday night/Sunday morning festivities. “We found it funny that the issue was being made about who’s playing, because the point of playing is getting to the World Series and winning the World Series. If skip throws Jonny out there, I want Jonny to go 4-for-4. And I know if I’m out there, Jonny’s dying to get out there, but we want to get to the World Series ‘ which we have.
The roles, everyone’s jobs, everyone knows their jobs, sometimes they get a little mixed up, but if we win, that’s all that matters,” he continued. “If we didn’t want to get wins, we wouldn’t be here [in this position] because all the guys would be having problems with, ‘I’m not playing,’ or this or that. Playoffs come, everything goes out the window. You go with whatever you think will get you the win. Skip said, ‘It’s not like I don’t believe in you. I’m just going with a hunch and I’m going to roll with it.’ I said, ‘That’s fine. Let’s just win.’ ”
Farrell suggested on Monday that he is likely to stick with Gomes, given that the Sox are 6-0 in his postseason starts. He believes Nava will have a role in the World Series, but it appears it will be less defined than it was in the regular season, when the switch-hitter was a lineup staple against right-handed starters.
‘He’s going to be involved in this,” Farrell said of Nava. “We haven’t made out Wednesday’s lineup yet, but can’t go away from maybe a little bit of momentum that a certain lineup has provided for us. Daniel Nava is certainly not forgotten. Nor is any guy. We talked about with Xander [Bogaerts] taking over for Will [Middlebrooks], I’ll let you know, very similar conversation with both guys, both with Daniel and Will, is that it will take contributions from every guy on this team to get where we want to go. That may be in a little different role than what you’ve been accustomed to in the regular season, but by no means does it reflect on how they’re looked upon or their value to us on a bigger picture.’
Nava, it would seem, sees that bigger picture fairly clearly.
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