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Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt stays in No. 2 spot, Andrew Benintendi in left field 10.06.16 at 4:14 pm ET
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Brock Holt has taken Xander Bogaerts' spot in the Red Sox lineup. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Brock Holt has taken Xander Bogaerts’ spot in the Red Sox lineup. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — The biggest question about the Red Sox’ batting order heading into Game 1 of the American League Division Series was who might be hitting in the No. 2 spot.

It turns out Brock Holt will get that honor.

After experimenting with sliding Xander Bogaerts down in the batting order in the final week of the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell has chosen to keep the alignment against Cleveland righty Trevor Bauer, putting Holt right behind leadoff man Dustin Pedroia.

Also of note is the presence of rookie Andrew Benintendi, who gets the start in left field while hitting ninth.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Rick Porcello on the mound for the visitors:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Brock Holt 3B
Mookie Betts RF
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Andrew Benintendi LF

Marco Hernandez, Christian Vazquez make Red Sox ALDS roster 10.06.16 at 11:03 am ET
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Marco Hernandez has made the Red Sox ALDS roster. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Marco Hernandez has made the Red Sox ALDS roster. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

CLEVELAND — A month ago, this might have been a surprise. But after listening to John Farrell’s approach toward building the Red Sox’ American League Division Series roster the last few days, there was no shock when the official list was announced.

As was the case for all three postseason rounds in 2013, the Red Sox have chosen to carry 11 pitchers. That left one position player to serve as the primary pinch-runner, with infielder Marco Hernandez getting the opportunity this time around.

Perhaps the only other question about the make-up of the roster was regarding the backup catching spot. That position will be manned by Christian Vazquez, who had managed one major league plate appearance between July 2 and Sept. 25. But with Vazquez’s arm coming back into form (carrying a team-best 1.8 second pop time of late), the Red Sox viewed him as the best option to shut down the Indians’ running game if needed.

Here is the Red Sox roster in their best-of-five series against the Indians, which kicks off Thursday night at 8:08:

PITCHERS (11): Matt Barnes, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robbie Ross Jr., Koji Uehara, Brad Ziegler.

CATCHERS (2): Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez.

INFIELDERS (8): Xander Bogaerts, Marco Hernandez, Aaron Hill, Brock Holt, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw.

OUTFIELDERS (4): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Chris Young.

Why that pain-in-butt makeup game in Cleveland might end up helping Red Sox 10.04.16 at 8:21 am ET
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Bryan Holaday celebrates the Red Sox' Aug. 15 win over the Indians with closer Craig Kimbrel. (David Richards/USA Today Sports)

Bryan Holaday celebrates the Red Sox’ Aug. 15 win over the Indians with closer Craig Kimbrel. (David Richards/USA Today Sports)

You remember the one.

August 15 at Progressive Field. The Red Sox had to swing through Progressive Field for just one game, kicking off a four-city, 11-game road trip.

It seemed like a signature inconvenience in the midst of what ended up being a two-month string of scheduling challenges for these Red Sox.

But now, looking back, Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen and others believe that brief reunion with Terry Francona’s team might actually serve a purpose when it comes to getting ready for the upcoming American League Division Series.

“In Cleveland’s case we played them three times because we had them three times because we had that extra game in which we prepared for at a different period during the season where we maybe wouldn’t have with Cleveland,” Hazen said on the Bradfo Show podcast. “We would have been done with them a lot sooner. But we got to play them one more time, so we had a little more recent information in regards to them.

“I don’t know if it’s influence, because the teams have changed a lot since then. But there will be some familiarity with those hitters and some of those pitchers. Having that familiarity more recently may pay a dividend, may not. But I do think it allows to have a better understanding walking into this series of what you should expect.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Troy Tulowitzki single forces Red Sox to start postseason on road 10.02.16 at 6:31 pm ET
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The Blue Jays celebrate Edwin Encarnacion scoring the game-winning run Sunday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Blue Jays celebrate Edwin Encarnacion scoring the game-winning run Sunday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox will have to start their postseason run on the road.

Thanks to Troy Tulowitzki’s two-out, RBI single over the outstretched glove of second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the eighth inning, the Blue Jays claimed a 2-1 win Sunday.

The Sox loss, coupled with the Indians’ 3-2 win over Kansas City, means John Farrell’s team will start the best-of-five American League Division Series at Progressive Field on Thursday.

After the Red Sox and Indians open things up with a Trevor Bauer vs. Rick Porcello matchup, the teams will then play Friday, with David Price taking on Corey Kluber. The series returns to Fenway Park for Game 3 on Sunday and, if necessary, Game 4 on Monday.

With the win, the Blue Jays clinched a home wild card game against the Orioles on Tuesday.

A positive for the Red Sox was the performance of starter David Price, who rebounded from his Yankee Stadium downturn by allowing just one run on four hits over five innings. Price’s only major miscue in the 80-pitch outing was the solo homer allowed to Devon Travis with two outs in the fifth inning.

For a good stretch, it appeared as though Price would be outdueled by Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez, who was unhittable through the first 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two walks. But then came Hanley Ramirez.

The first baseman not only broke up Sanchez’s no-hitter, he tied the game with a two-out blast just inside the left field foul pole. After a one-minute, 21-second review, the initial call by the umpiring crew held up, giving Ramirez his 30th homer of the season.

But in the eighth inning, with Brad Ziegler on the mound, Tulowitzki came through with runners on first and third and two outs by hitting a line drive just over the reach of Pedroia, allowing Edwin Encarnacion to score the game-winner.

A positive for the Red Sox was the brief outing by Drew Pomeranz, who came on to strikeout Michael Saunders with a 96 mph fastball to end the eighth before going to pitch a scoreless ninth. It was Pomeranz’s first relief outing of the season.

“Yeah, it felt like it so I was happy it felt like that and I could see it,” said Pomeranz of seeing the radar gun reading.

The Red Sox finish with a record of 93-69, winning 15 more games than in 2015. It’s the largest increase, year to year, of any club in the majors.

For a complete box score, click here.

David Ortiz might be retiring, but Jonny Gomes still isn’t 10.02.16 at 5:32 pm ET
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Jonny Gomes seemed perfectly at home mingling with the other retired former Red Sox players at the Fenway Park pregame celebration for David Ortiz. But that doesn’t mean he is ready to be lumped in with those having put their playing days in the rear-view mirror.

Gomes, who didn’t sign on with a major league club this season after returning from Japan, reiterated his stance to WEEI.com that he hasn’t yet retired.

“I guess to be retired you have to file your papers,” Gomes said. “Before you file your papers you have to mentally be there. I’ll tell you what, 10 or 15 years from now, when I’m on my third job description and you asked me if I wanted to play I would probably say, ‘Yes.’ Painters paint, firefighters fight fires and baseball players play baseball. At the same time, knowing where the game is, where it’s young and it being results driven and knowing my biggest asset that I could bring is helping. Are organizations looking for help with a guy in uni? I’ll be in the game. That’s all I know is the game.”

Gomes last played in the big leagues in 2015, winning another World Series ring as a member of the Kansas City Royals. The 35-year-old spent 13 years in the majors, playing for seven different organizations.

Asked if his plan was to keep eyeing an opportunity to play in 2017, Gomes said, “Yes, but at the same time if I were to stop working out or if I was to get a job elsewhere in the game, I would still workout and hit just in case. Those are my hobbies. That’s what I like to do.”

Gomes, who has long professed a desire to one day manage in the major leagues, did also say, however, that if another opportunity in the game presented itself he would have to listen.

“Yes, definitely,” said Gomes when asked if he would be interested if something outside the lines might come up. “Even with that side, I’m going to have to pick a path to I want to take. Is it helping the youth? Collegiate? Is it minor leagues? Is it front office? Advance scouting? On the field, coaching or managing? That’s probably a lot bigger decision I’ll have to make.”

When it comes to preparing for starts, Rick Porcello changed things up this season 09.29.16 at 7:08 pm ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

NEW YORK — John Farrell has called Rick Porcello one of the best prepared pitchers he’s ever been around.

This season, however, the pitcher explained that the preparation took a fairly dramatic turn.

“I stopped watching video of myself,” Porcello said while appearing on the Bradfo Show podcast. (To listen to the podcast, click here.)

“I watched a lot of video of my mechanics and all of my games last year, and it really kind of consumed me when I was on the mound. I wasn’t feeling my adjustments very well. It was almost like I was living the pitches through the video I had just watched. I just didn’t have an acute feel for the situations in the game of what was going on as far as why I’m not executing pitches and those sort of things. I got away from watching myself and I felt like I know what my delivery is and I have my checkpoints. If I get out of whack I’ll be able to feel it out there and be able to correct it. Not just watch a good start that I have and relive that through the video. Each game is different. I just want to try and treat it like that.

“Every game is going to be a challenge and you have to find different ways to get out of jams and pitch deep into games and that’s just the reality of it. It’s never going to be the same, so what’s the point of watching something that has happened in the past when it’s not going to be the same the next time I take the ball. I just focused my video work more on my opponents. I looked at more numbers this year and went a little more in-depth as far as off-speed locations and what side of the plate certain pitches were going to work on. That’s sort of a supplemental thing where if I get in a situation where I get a guy who is really fighting me hard or has gotten a couple of hits off of me, is there a different spot I can go to that I don’t do very often but it might work against him.”

Porcello has seen his new approach work in part because of his support system, and a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

“I was looking at video last year every day,” he said. “Now, if I throw a couple of pitches here or there that I want to see what happened I’ll got take a look a those and it takes a matter of 30 seconds and that’s it and I clean that up. But another contributing factor that I’ve been able to eliminate that part is that I’ve been working with Carl, Dana and our bullpen catcher Mani for almost two years and them being able to learn me and kind of see when I get out of whack, they’ve’ been a huge support group. When I play catch with Mani he’ll give me a nod of the head if my arm angle looks right or if it doesn’t he’ll kind of shake his head. That helps me make the adjustment quick and feel it. They’ve been really, really big for me as far as kind of limiting that, taking it out there and physically feeling the adjustments and doing in on my own.”

Porcello is slated to start the first game of the American League Division Series, Thursday.

THE BRADFO SHOW, WITH RICK PORCELLO

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez out; David Ortiz will start 09.29.16 at 3:32 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

NEW YORK — After the Red Sox’ clinching of the American League East, it was predictable that Sox’ lineup in the series finale against the Yankees would see some alterations. That is, indeed, the case.

Both Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez will start Thursday night’s game at Yankee Stadium on the mound, with Aaron Hill hitting leadoff and Andrwe Benintendi right behind in the No. 2 spot.

With this being David Ortiz’ final game in the Bronx, the designated hitter will get at least one more at-bat vs. the Yankees.

The Red Sox still have something to play for, sitting with the second-best record in the American League, 1/2 games behind Texas, who owns the tie-breaker over the Sox. The Red Sox do reside one game (with the advantage in the tie-breaker) in front of Cleveland, which John Farrell’s team would play in the American League Division Series if the season ended Thursday afternoon.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with Henry Owens pitching for the visitors:

Aaron Hill 3B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Chris Young RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Ryan Hanigan C
Travis Shaw 1B
Deven Marrero 2B

For all the matchups, click here.

Dave Dombrowski explains what he learned about John Farrell 09.29.16 at 3:13 pm ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

NEW YORK — Drenched in champagne following the Red Sox clinching of the American League East, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski took a few minutes to reflect on the manager, and staff, he chose to keep around.

Since Dombrowski’s arrival last season, there hasn’t been the kind of turnover many expected. The most notable departure may have been director of pro scouting Jared Porter, who went on to take the same job with the Cubs. In terms of additions, Frank Wren coming aboard as vice-president of baseball operations remains the only major hire.

And, of course, the one move that might have helped define Dombrowski’s approach was keeping Red Sox manager John Farrell. The commitment has paid off, as was evident by the Red Sox getting a chance to celebrate their first postseason berth since 2013.

“It’s great to see,” said Dombrowski of the success of Farrell. “Just the overall group of people when I walked in, I was very impressed. Of course I didn’t get to know John really well until spring training. A very good baseball man. A very good manager. I know he takes a lot of hits at times, but I’ve been very impressed with him and the coaching staff. Just the overall people in the organization, they’re a very impressive group. I think it was very fortunate to walk into a group that’s an organization like this and be part of it. The baseball people were outstanding.”

While there was the two straight last-place finishes, along with a somewhat uneasy first few weeks to this season, Dombrowski said he saw enough to dig in with Farrell.

“I guess you learn a lot,” the Sox president said. “The one thing about John is he’s not afraid to tackle any issue that comes up. He does so sometimes quietly behind the scenes. But even though he has that demeanor on the bench, if there’s an issue that needs to be tackled, he’ll do it.”

Drew Pomeranz unconcerned about forearm soreness, plans to give relieving a whirl 09.28.16 at 7:54 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz

NEW YORK — Drew Pomeranz is still hopeful he can help.

The Red Sox lefty won’t be starting again this season, but there is a chance he could reprise his role as a reliever. That will be dependent in large part on how his sore left forearm feels when throwing a bullpen session Thursday, and a possible relief outing against the Blue Jays over the weekend.

“It’s alright,” said Pomeranz of his forearm. “We sat down and kind of talked about the rest of the year. I’ve had some soreness here late in the year. I’ve thrown more innings than I have, ever. So we sat down and talked about the best course of action the rest of the way out. We talked about maybe trying to get ready for a spot in the bullpen. I don’t know how everything was playing out, but that’s what we decided on, so we decided to not make this last start.”

When asked exactly what he was feeling in the arm, Pomeranz said, “Just soreness. I don’t know what specifically. Just some soreness in there probably from not recovering this time of year in a spot I’ve never been in before. We just kind of sat down and said that was the best thing to do is not make this last start and maybe slide into the bullpen.”

Pomeranz, of course, last plenty of experience as a reliever, having thrown 58 of his 137 major league games as a relief pitcher.

When asked if the current ailment had any connection to the controversy surrounding the Padres hiding medical information — for which San Diego general manager A.J. Preller was suspended one month — Pomeranz gave what has been a consistent response.

“I really can’t comment on that because I had nothing to do with any of that stuff that happens,” he said. “I don’t know what the two teams talked about. I don’t know who got mad over what. I’m just the guy who got traded from one place to another. So I really don’t know much of what happened.”

Pomeranz could very well bounce back from the forearm issue and be a viable left-handed option out of the bullpen in the postseason. But he also would have to prove he’s healthy enough to be better than fellow lefty relievers Robby Scott or Fernando Abad.

“I’m not nervous about the soreness,” Pomeranz said. “At this point in the year everybody is dealing with a little something, somewhere. I’m disappointed obviously because I want to keep throwing. I want to keep starting. I don’t know if it’s something where the other four guys are throwing really well so they were looking at me sliding into the bullpen anyway. So we kind of decided not to make that last one.”

Video: Tim Tebow homers on first pitch of professional baseball career 09.28.16 at 12:59 pm ET
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Tim Tebow’s professional baseball career is certainly trending in the right direction.

The former Broncos and Patriots quarterback, who has signed a minor-league contract with the Mets, hit a home run on the very first professional pitch he saw. The 29-year-old Tebow is playing for the Mets’ Instructional League team in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

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