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Red Sox pregame notes: Jake Peavy still potential Game 7 starter ‘as of now’; Jon Lester would be available in Game 7 10.30.13 at 5:20 pm ET
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Right-hander Jake Peavy remains in line to be the Red Sox starter for a potential Game 7. (AP)

Right-hander Jake Peavy remains in line to be the Red Sox starter for a potential Game 7. (AP)

Red Sox manager John Farrell said that, “as of now,” Jake Peavy remains the starter to whom he plans to turn should the World Series reach a winner-take-all seventh game. Each time Farrell has made this claim, he’s offered some sort of qualifier (“as of now,” “right now,” etc.). And so, the manager was asked, is there something that might transpire that would result in someone other than Peavy making the start, or is Farrell simply using a default phrase to preface his remarks?

“It’s probably more the way it’s prefaced,” said Farrell.

Still, the Sox will have the rest of their pitching staff available in a potential Game 7, should the series extend to that point. The available arms, said Farrell, would include left-hander Jon Lester as well as right-hander Clay Buchholz.

“They’ll be available before this is over,” Farrell said of the team’s Game 4 and Game 5 starters.

Farrell clarified that, while Buchholz wouldn’t leapfrog other members of the bullpen in terms of their defined late-innings roles, he could be available to pitch as soon as Game 6 tonight. As for Lester, Farrell said that the lower back discomfort that he was dealing with at the end of Game 5 did not represent a significant concern.

“If there is such a thing, it was normal wear and tear,” said Farrell. “That’s what he’s dealing with.”

Farrell also had more praise for left-hander Felix Doubront, and said that the team would not hesitate to use him out of the bullpen in Game 6. He will not be avoided over concerns about his Game 7 role.

“Doubront’s available tonight. We wouldn’t hold him back for tomorrow,” said Farrell.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, staples of the Red Sox lineup during the regular season, have found themselves relegated to reserve roles as the postseason has evolved, with Jonny Gomes and David Ross taking over primary responsibilities in left field and behind the plate. Farrell acknowledged that a drastic change of responsibilities can be hard for the players to accept, yet he can’t be beholden to player preferences in making his lineup decisions at this time of year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Gabe Kapler on M&M: ‘Red Sox are going to win this series in seven’ at 1:50 pm ET
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Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler

Fox Sports baseball analyst Gabe Kapler joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the World Series as the Red Sox prepare to host the Cardinals in Game 6.

Kapler, a former Red Sox outfielder, predicted the Tigers would top the Sox in the American League Championship Series. He’s going with Boston in the World Series, but he predicts it will take one more day.

“The Red Sox are going to win this series in seven,” Kapler said. “But tonight, [Michael] Wacha‘s going to be too much for the Red Sox to handle. I was breaking down his mechanics yesterday, and this is the reason that this kid is so strong and that he’s not going to falter: His shoulders have zero percent tilt. That allows him to pound the strike zone accurately and not utilize his shoulder tilt for power.

“So, on top of this crazy deceptive delivery, straight over the top, he’s also got really good lower-half and upper-half mechanics. And that’s why — even if the pressure gets to him a little bit — he still is able to maintain that focus and pound the strike zone. And I just think that he’s going to be too much for the Red Sox tonight. But I will take the Red Sox in seven.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell turned some heads by electing to start Jonny Gomes in left over Daniel Nava in Game 6. Kapler said Wacha’s changeup might have played a role in that decision.

“The reason that I think, perhaps, that John Farrell may go with Jonny Gomes over Nava is because of that equalizer changeup,” Kapler said. “Because otherwise, the weighted on-base average for Nava is so significantly better than Jonny Gomes that there’s no other reason or answer why Jonny Gomes would be in the lineup. So I think maybe that changeup equalizing the left-handed bat might be the reason that John is deciding to go with Jonny Gomes.”

David Ortiz has been an offensive force through the first five games, leading to speculation that the Cardinals will try a new approach with him.

“You have to move his feet. If you don’t throw the ball up and in tonight and get him a little bit uncomfortable, you are doing yourself a huge disservice,” Kapler said. “And I understand [Mike] Matheny‘s take, and also [Adam] Wainwright‘s take. He’s like, ‘We want to just go after these guys, we don’t want to show anybody any fear.’ But at the same time, this guy’s been so incredibly dominant. He’s reached base 15 of 20 times in the World Series. That’s unheard of. It’s not like he’s reaching base against the fourth and the fifth starters; he’s reaching base against the aces.

“This guy is as good as he was in 2004. And as we all know, he was pretty good back then.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Curt Schilling on D&C: Playing Jonny Gomes over Daniel Nava doesn’t make sense at 11:15 am ET
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ESPN’s Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday and voiced his opinion on some of Red Sox manager John Farrell’s decisions this World Series, and he tried to explain why St. Louis pitched to David Ortiz in Game 5.

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

Farrell announced on Tuesday that, with the return of Shane Victorino to right field, Jonny Gomes would receive the start in left field over Daniel Nava in Game 6 on Wednesday at Fenway Park. Schilling said, “No, not at all,” does starting Gomes over Nava make sense to him.

“I love Daniel Nava, I think the kid is just a complete player,” Schilling said. “I think that the Gomes thing is exactly what John said — I think it’s a hunch, and he’s continuing to play it.”

Schilling also questioned Farrell’s decision-making throughout the series.

“I thought John had made some questionable moves and changes, and I thought got outmanaged a couple of different times,” Schilling said. “They’re playing poorly, but they’re good enough to play around that. I guess they’re one of the few teams that can do that.”

If not for Ortiz, the Red Sox likely would find themselves in a significantly different situation. St. Louis continues to pitch to Ortiz despite the fact he possesses a .733/750/1.267 batting line, with four extra-base hits in five games.

“The problem is that he’s so locked in, it’s very Barry Bonds-like in the sense that when he was going well, he would literally get one pitch, not an at-bat, a game, and when he got it he would never miss it. David is getting a pitch an at bat and he’s not missing it,” Schilling said.

Read the rest of this entry »

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John Farrell: David Ross, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes in for Game 6 10.29.13 at 5:12 pm ET
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David Ross

David Ross

Speaking to the media prior to his team’s workout Tuesday at Fenway Park, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that David Ross would be starting at catcher in Game 6 of the World Series. Farrell also noted that Shane Victorino (back) is expected to return to the lineup, with Jonny Gomes getting the nod over Daniel Nava in left field.

Ross has previously caught Game 6 starter John Lackey twice this season, limiting opponents to a 2.38 ERA (3 ER, 11 1/3 innings).

The catcher is coming off a two-hit performance in Game 5 in which he managed the go-ahead, ground-rule, RBI double in the seventh inning of the Red Sox’ 3-1 win Monday night. For the postseason Ross is hitting .286 (6-for-21). Only one baserunner has stolen on him.

Farrell is also attempting to ride the semi-hot hand with Gomes, who claimed one of the biggest hits of the series when he launched a three-run blast in Game 4. The left fielder was 0-for-4 with a strikeout against St. Louis Game 6 starter Michael Wacha when the pair faced off in Game 2.

More to come …

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Red Sox workout day notes: Clay Buchholz to start, John Farrell defends Stephen Drew 10.25.13 at 6:41 pm ET
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ST. LOUIS — Red Sox manager John Farrell, prior to his team’s workout on Friday’s World Series off-day, offered a number of updates regarding how he plans to use his roster in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series. Among them:

– Farrell said that Clay Buchholz will start Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday.

“He went through a throwing program today. Went back to about a hundred feet with some increased intensity along the way, and he’s starting Sunday,” said Farrell.

– Despite Stephen Drew‘s offensive struggles — which rank among the most severe ever in a single postseason — Farrell certainly didn’t sound like he had any plans to sit him anytime soon, based on the shortstop’s tremendous defense throughout the postseason in a low run-scoring environment.

“[Drew's defense has] been critical,” Farrell said. “While he has had his struggles, they’re well documented, we live it with him. But he has played such a strong defensive position at shortstop. Last night there’s probably three or four plays that he makes, that might otherwise build into a potential inning for the Cardinals. We can go back to Game 6 in inning seven where he saves a run with two outs, and throws out [Tigers slugger Miguel] Cabrera, that we come back and [Shane] Victorino hits a grand slam to give us the lead. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox pregame notes: Sox bullpen taxed but undaunted; why Daniel Nava is sitting; David Ortiz’s struggles; Xander Bogaerts’ maturity 10.19.13 at 7:45 pm ET
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Koji Uehara appeared exhausted after his five-out save in Game 5 of the ALCS. (AP)

Koji Uehara appeared exhausted after his five-out save in Game 5 of the ALCS. (AP)

There are times when the exhaustion is visible in the members of the Red Sox bullpen. Closer Koji Uehara acknowledged after Game 5 of the ALCS, when he recorded a five-out save in 29 pitches, that, yes, he was feeling a bit cooked by his workload. Craig Breslow likewise detailed in his playoff blog that he is “considerably more exhausted” after playoff starts than he was in the regular season.

But while Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have each appeared in seven of the Sox’ nine playoff games and Breslow has pitched in six of them, manager John Farrell‘s usage of them has hardly been to limit them.

“The thing that’s changing is we’re using them more,” said Farrell. “Each guy has rebounded and recovered well. I think there’s also an added adrenaline that flows right now that might not be there regular season. Not to say that they’re superhuman, but I think, much like will take place today, I’ll make my rounds in the outfield and just double-check with them, and I know they’re all going to say, yes, they’re ready to go. Again, because they’ve been so efficient, we’ve been fortunate where we really haven’t really overtaxed one guy, other than the number of outs have increased. But we haven’t blown up a pitch count for any particular guy that would say he needs multiple days off.”

Farrell noted particularly that Uehara has been good about making clear the nature of the workload he can handle.

“I fully recognize that these pitches have added stress to them. That’s all factored in, yet I trust what he tells me. And he’s been great about that,” said Farrell. “Jokingly, I’ve heard him, [after I'll] say, ‘Five, six outs,’ he’ll say, ‘Four.’ But you know, the other night he got loose very quick. We’ve called down and said, ‘It could be five tonight.’ ”

Still, as much as Uehara has proven resilient and capable of responding to the Sox’ needs, Farrell also acknowledged that he was aware that Uehara appeared spent after his five-out, 29-pitch save in Detroit. He planned to check in with his closer during batting practice. And the manager said he would be mindful of his closer’s feeling of fatigue as he determines his potential workload for Game 6.

All of that being the case, Farrell was asked, does he think that Uehara would be limited to just three outs on Saturday?

“Not in my mind,” said Farrell.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

– The Tigers feature an all right-handed rotation. Prior to the series, that fact made it seem likely that Daniel Nava would be a staple of the Sox’ lineup during the American League Championship Series. Instead, for the fourth time in the series’ six games, Nava — whose .385 OBP ranked fifth in the American League this year — is once again on the bench, with Jonny Gomes getting the start against Max Scherzer in Game 6.

That decision by manager John Farrell reflects in part on the fact that Nava has struggled in his career against Scherzer (1-for-9). But it also attests to the fact that Farrell feels that Gomes changes the dynamic of the team, delivering energy both on the bases and in the field that Nava can’t necessarily replicate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox lineup will feature Mike Napoli, possibly Jonny Gomes (and no Daniel Nava) against Justin Verlander 10.14.13 at 7:38 pm ET
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Mike Napoli will be back in the lineup for Game 3 of the ALCS. (AP)

Mike Napoli will be back in the lineup for Game 3 of the ALCS. (AP)

DETROIT — The Tigers will feature their third straight starter who racked up 200 or more punchouts this year in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday when Justin Verlander takes the mound. To counter him, the Sox lineup will feature Mike Napoli (who sat in favor of Mike Carp in Game 2 against Max Scherzer) with manager John Farrell opening the door to the possibility of having Jonny Gomes make a second straight start in left, something that would likely relegate Daniel Nava to the bench for a second straight right-handed starter.

“We’ll probably be back to a similar lineup we saw in Game 1,” said Farrell. “The one thing that we can’t fully measure is the intangibles that Jonny Gomes brings.  And so the full lineup tomorrow is still yet to be decided.  But that’s another thing that’s being factored in here, considered.

“The one thing that might fly under the radar with Jonny is he’s a smart player. Much like we talked about with the will to succeed on [Dustin Pedroia's] part on second base, it’s very similar to Jonny. So he can bring an overall personality to a team when he’s in the lineup versus when he’s in the dugout,” Farrell added. “These are the things at this point in time in the year I think you have to consider strongly with the attitude and the makeup that we present on the field.”

The notion of playing Napoli (a .304/.429/.435 hitter with a homer, five walks and five strikeouts in 28 career plate appearances against Verlander) over Carp (0-for-5, 1 walk, 1 strikeout) is fairly straightforward. The decision with Gomes vs. Nava is more complex, given that Gomes is 0-for-9 with three walks and three strikeouts in 13 career plate appearances against Verlander while Nava is 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a strikeout in four career plate appearances against the right-hander. Read the rest of this entry »

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