Farrell: Rivera 'set the standard' for closers

September, 15, 2013
9/15/13
6:33
PM ET
BOSTON -- A few notes prior to Sunday night’s farewell to Mariano Rivera:

* The Red Sox are urging fans to be in their seats by 7:30 for the pregame ceremony honoring the Yankees' closer.

* Sox manager John Farrell, with all due respect, hopes he has seen the last of Rivera on the mound.

“Hopefully we don’t have to face Rivera -- that means it’s not a save opportunity for the Yankees,’’ Farrell said. “But I think it’s deserved, the tribute that’ll be paid to him here before the game, if you’re a fan of the game. Just a remarkable career and he has set the standard for all those that occupy the closer’s role.’’

* Farrell’s expectations of Clay Buchholz, making his second start since coming off the DL: “There’s not a hard, fast number of pitches to look at, but I will say if he walks out to start the sixth inning, that would be another step in the right direction.”

* Farrell, on the chances of an uptick in velocity from Buchholz’s last start: “It might be. The one thing that was encouraging, there were a couple of pitches in Tampa where he needed to get a strikeout and he reached back to get a little extra velocity. Not that velocity is the end-all, be-all, but it’s a sign that arm strength is building. I would expect that to hopefully tick up a little bit tonight but I think even before the injury, he would pitch very comfortably in that low 90s, 92-93 range. We saw a lot of that the other night in Tampa.”

* Shane Victorino was given a night off, as the Sox manage his hamstring and back issues. Will Middlebrooks is out of the lineup, Farrell said, with flu-like symptoms. Daniel Nava and Mike Carp are the corner outfielders, Nava in right, Carp in left, while Xander Bogaerts will play third.

* Even before taking the field, the Sox's magic number was reduced to five, as the Rays blew a lead to the Twins and lost. The Rangers also lost, their sixth in a row, meaning Terry Francona’s Indians had a chance to draw within a half-game of a wild-card spot with a win over the White Sox in a game delayed by rain. (UPDATE: The Indians delivered with a 7-1 victory.)

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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