|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|
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 »
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.”
|‘All signs point’ to Jake Peavy in Game 7, but Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront would also be available||10.28.13 at 6:08 pm ET|
ST. LOUIS — As became evident in Game 4 of the World Series, when Red Sox starter John Lackey made his first relief appearance since 2004, this is a time when a number of players can be pressed into duty in unusual roles. That being the case, it comes as little surprise that Lackey’s rotation mate, Jake Peavy, is available to the Sox out of the bullpen for Monday’s Game 5 between the Red Sox and Cardinals.
That said, Sox manager John Farrell said that, “as of now,” if there is a Game 7 of the World Series, “everything points to [Peavy as the starter of that game] right now.” While left-hander Felix Doubront has been outstanding in the last two games of the series out of the bullpen, throwing two scoreless frames in Game 3 and 2 2/3 innings in which he was charged with one run in Game 4, Farrell said that the team is not currently trying to preserve the southpaw for a start in a potential winner-take-all contest.
“Everybody’s going to be available Game 7,” Farrell said. “We haven’t gotten to a point of saying, you know what, let’s hold [Doubront] out as a potential starter.”
Doubront would be available on Monday “in an emergency.”
Meanwhile, another pitcher who could be available for Game 7 is Clay Buchholz. Farrell said that the right-hander came out of his four innings in Game 4 feeling good, and volunteered immediately to contribute to the Sox when the series returns to Boston. Read the rest of this entry »
Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team’s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer also is the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here.
This game, especially this postseason, is emotionally draining. It’s a roller coaster. Each game carries tremendous weight, but that simply makes it more important to treat each one as its own event, separate from the next.
The Game 3 loss was frustrating, but we’ve done a good job all season of leaving yesterday behind and worrying about today. Granted, there was a lot of frustration after the Game 3 loss on an obstruction call, perhaps because of a lack of understanding of the rulebook and the context for the outcome, but at the end of the day, it was a loss. We’ve been able to turn the page on losses all season long. We did that again last night.
We knew that Game 4 was a game that we needed. Entering it, there was some curiosity about how many innings Clay Buchholz might be able to pitch inasmuch as it was really difficult for us to know exactly how he was feeling. But in the end, this was a situation where the game situation ended up dictating how long he went rather than his stuff or his health. He left because we needed to pinch-hit for him, rather than due to physical limitations. He could have been throwing 96 or 100 mph, and he still would have been replaced. That being the case, I don’t think you can overstate the importance of him battling, taking the ball without his best stuff, working through hitters, manipulating the ball, getting ground balls and giving us a chance.
Jonny Gomes‘ home run into our bullpen was huge. Off the bat, it was tough to know if it was going to make it to us, because the trajectory is such that it looks like a lot of balls are coming off the bat pretty well but the left fielders have ended up going in on them. Until the ball cleared the fence, it was hard to tell whether it would be a home run. That’s obviously the part of the park where Jonny’s power plays, though, and it was a great swing and an enormous hit.
It was really impressive to see the way Felix Doubront came in and shut down the Cardinals after he did the same thing in Game 3. In retrospect, it’s funny to think that at the end of the regular season, Felix expressed doubt about his ability to contribute out of the bullpen. I wouldn’t speak for him, but I can imagine that there would be some frustration that after being a starter all season long, you don’t have the opportunity to continue in that role in the postseason. Still, as we’ve seen throughout the year, we’ve got 25 guys who make winning their priority. If there’s a chance to help the team win, that’s all that matters. I think the biggest thing was for Felix to understand that he had stuff that could help us. Clearly, he put his stamp on Game 4. He had a pretty significant stake in our win.
I followed Felix into the game with a runner on second and two outs, facing Matt Carpenter for the third straight game. The first two games, I’d felt good about my execution of pitches even if the outcomes — a sacrifice fly in Game 2 and an infield single in Game 3 — had been less than ideal. Read the rest of this entry »
|John Farrell: Felix Doubront ‘could play a pivotal role in this series’||10.15.13 at 3:12 pm ET|
DETROIT — Prior to the start of the American League Championship Series, it was intriguing to note the success of one overlooked bullpen option against the heart of the Tigers order. Left-hander Felix Doubront had held the trio of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez to a 1-for-15 mark, a performance unmatched by any other Red Sox bullpen member. He added to his resume with a similarly overlooked performance in Game 2 of the ALCS, when he recorded four outs — including outs against both Fielder and Martinez — to keep the deficit in check and permit the Red Sox to stage their memorable comeback.
Manager John Farrell took notice, to the point where it’s possible that the left-hander’s role could grow in significance going forward — particularly given that left-hander Franklin Morales permitted two of the three Rays hitters he faced in his only postseason appearance to reach en route to absorbing the loss in Game 3 of the ALDS. What did Farrell see in Doubront’s maiden postseason appearance?
“A lot, given it was 15 or so days since he last pitched,” said Farrell. “When you past Cabrera in this lineup, left-handers fit this lineup better to keep Victor on the right side of the plate. [Jhonny] Peralta, the way he’s swinging the bat, I don’t think it’s right-handed or left-handed. You have [Alex] Avila, [Don] Kelly and [Andy] Dirks to maybe neutralize a little more. I know we’re only two games in, but Felix could play a pivotal role in this series.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox cap 2013 regular-season home slate with 5-2 win over Blue Jays||09.22.13 at 3:51 pm ET|
And now, Felix Doubront is off to the bullpen.
The 25-year-old left-hander stymied the cellar-dwelling Blue Jays in the Red Sox’ regular-season home finale, tossing through seven innings of two-run ball as the Sox beat Toronto, 5-2, in front of a sold-out crowd of 37,020 at Fenway Park.
The outing will stand, barring injury to another Red Sox starter, as Doubront’s final start of 2013. Manager John Farrell said before the game Doubront will work out of relief starting next weekend when the team visits the Orioles. Whether or not Doubront makes the postseason roster in any capacity remains to be seen.
Sunday, though, Doubront cruised through his seven innings on 97 pitches (61 strikes) and was particularly effective late. He retired the final nine Toronto batters he faced and saw only two over the minimum in his last four innings. His afternoon ended with a perfect eight-pitch seventh inning, capped by a nifty play by Stephen Drew, who ranged to his left, snagged a Kevin Pillar grounder, spun and got the out at first.
Although Doubront only struck out a pair — including Jose Reyes swinging to get things started — he scattered four hits and two walks to limit damage.
“He was very good,” Farrell said. “Much more powerful than the first few times out. The additional rest we were able to provide him seemed to pay off. A lot of strikes. Maybe not the number of strikeouts we’re used to seeing from Felix, but I though the carried his stuff through a full seven innings. He was efficient, they were aggressive early in the count. He went to his changeup when he needed to.
“He repeated his delivery. He just looked more fresh and rested. And that was the case. A solid seven innings of work.”
Doubront finished 2013 with a 3.87 ERA in 27 starts, giving the Red Sox five pitchers with sub-4.00 ERAs as starters. Only Ryan Dempster (4.64) is above that mark.
It has been the best season of Doubront’s relatively young major league career, and Farrell — who was Doubront’s pitching coach in 2010 when he made nine of his 12 major league appearances out of the bullpen — was complimentary of his growth.
“He’s a talented left-hander, he’s got a full compliment of pitches, he’s got some swing-and-miss to his fastball,” Farrell said, later adding, “The only thing that limits him currently is just the stamina and endurance over the course of a full season. He’s an extremely talented young guy.”
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Jackie Bradley Jr. put the Red Sox up for good with a three-run homer over the Blue Jays’ bullpen in the second inning, the third long ball in the 23-year-old’s sporadic major league time in 2013.
The home run tripled his big league RBI total from June 5 through Sunday, a span Bradely spent most of with Triple-A Pawtucket.
He didn’t have a ton of experience against knuckleballers coming into Sunday’s game against R.A. Dickey, but he did go 0-for-4 when the Sox faced Dickey April 7.
“I saw a pitch up that I could handle and I tried to take advantage of it with guys on base, and I was able to get it air-born and let the wind do the rest,” Bradley said. “When it went in the air, I was like, ‘Aw, man, please keep going.’ I think it got in on me a little bit, but I just got enough of it.
Sox fans could be getting a glimpse into the future with Bradley seeing more time in center while Jacoby Ellsbury remains sidelined with a fractured foot. In 10 games (31 at-bats) since rejoining the major league team, Bradley is hitting .258 with a .743 OPS and the three RBIs on that one swing.
|Red Sox pregame notes: Wednesday return a possibility for Jacoby Ellsbury; Felix Doubront to bullpen after Sunday start||at 1:03 pm ET|
The final days of the regular season are ticking down, and with them go chances to get Jacoby Ellsbury back in the lineup for a tune-up before the Red Sox open their American League Division Series Oct. 4.
John Farrell said Sunday that Ellsbury — out since Sept. 5 with a non-displaced fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot — could return to game action Wednesday in Colorado.
The manager and player’s exact words, however, didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
“Optimistically from my end, hopefully he might be in the lineup on Wednesday,” Farrell said.
Added Ellsbury: “We talked about it as a possibility, yeah. I’m definitely ahead of schedule. Possibility.”
Farrell said the biggest challenge is simply continuing to rev up baseball activity, not something Ellsbury can rush.
Ellsbury has hit off of a day the last few days, he said. He has also tried to simulate his standard pregame routine as closely as possible.
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