Buchholz, Peavy to work intrasquad game

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
5:40
PM ET
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said he will wait until after Wednesday’s workout to announce his starter for Game 1 of the AL Division Series Friday at Fenway Park.

But Farrell acknowledged that Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy are scheduled to throw in Wednesday’s intrasquad game, which was tantamount to confirming that Jon Lester and John Lackey will be pitching the first two games of the series.

[+] EnlargeJon Lester
AP Photo/Steven SenneJon Lester's strong second half has him in line for the Game 1 start.
All signs point to Lester pitching Friday’s opener, especially given his strong second half (7-2, 2.57 ERA; 3-0, 2.57 ERA in September).

“We’ll have Jake and Clay get multiple innings on the mound tomorrow, so you can deduct from that what you wish,’’ Farrell said. “But at the same time we feel like, with the number of days off, we’ve got to get a good portion of our relievers to the mound as well.”

Roster decisions, or at least the public announcement, will not come until after Farrell and his staff meet with baseball operations personnel Thursday morning, by which time the identity of the Red Sox’s first-round opponent will be known. Tampa Bay is playing in Cleveland Wednesday night in the wild-card game.

Farrell said four players who are not under consideration for a roster spot have been sent home: second baseman Brock Holt, and pitchers Brayan Villareal, Allen Webster and Stephen Wright.

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One major league scout following the Red Sox last weekend speculated that the club might carry Ryan Lavarnway as a third catcher, which would give Farrell more flexibility to pinch hit for a catcher late in the game. Without a third catcher, pinch-hitting for a catcher becomes riskier because your one eligible catcher could get hurt and leave you exposed.

Farrell said at this stage, even though Mike Napoli has catching experience, the team probably would not consider him for use behind the plate.

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Wednesday’s workout will be open to the public, with gates opening at 2. Concessions will be sold. Farrell said the team will have an umpire behind the plate, and the game will last as long as needed to get pitchers their required work. He said he doubted it would go nine innings.

“There are going to be some guys that will probably elect not to face our own pitchers,’’ he said. “Again, the more we can either get them on the field and read some balls off the bat in as live a game situation as we can, that’s part of getting everything back to game speed.”

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If Farrell is concerned about the team’s setup situation, which others have pinpointed as a potential weak link, he isn’t showing it.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
AP Photo/Steven SenneDavid Ortiz gets in some stretching during the first of three workouts leading into Friday's ALDS opener.
“We have the ability to match up, to bridge from whoever the starter is that given night to Koji [Uehera] closing things out,’’ he said. “We’ve got options, guys that have been very dependable, they’ve been durable, whether that’s been [Craig Breslow], whether that’s been Junichi [Tazawa], who’s done a very good job for us. At times there has been some challenging moments for him.

“The emergence of Brandon Workman [who] was encouraging his last outing in Baltimore, coming off the outing over in Denver. We feel like we’ve got ample options to go to. Franklin Morales’ last six weeks of the season have been very encouraging, and then we put some veteran presence back there with Ryan Dempster in that role as well.

“Koji’s abilities have finally been highlighted because of the role he’s in. He’s been a very good pitcher his entire pro career, both in Japan and here, and to see the efficiency in which he pitches, he’s having an outstanding year for us and we’ll need it to go forward.”

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Farrell said he sent a congratulatory text to Indians manager Terry Francona, for whom he had served as pitching coach for four seasons of Francona’s tenure in Boston (2007-2010).

“It’s been minimal,’’ Farrell said of his interaction with Francona. “[That] doesn’t mean we don’t follow it close. They’re on a very good run. Very good run.”

Farrell had also served in a number of front-office positions with the Indians. Asked what it means for the Indians to return to the playoffs after a five-year absence, Farrell said, “There’s a lot of quality and talented people over there. To see it come together with a chance to advance after tomorrow night, because you have past experiences with many people, you want the best for them.

“There would be an incredible amount of side stories if we do meet up with them in the division series. In some ways it’s reminiscent of the ALCS in ’07. There’s so much crossover that still exists between people that have worked, either starting in Cleveland and then coming here, and now it’s in some ways reversed, with Tito going back there and leading their team. Hopefully we’ve got a chance to meet up.”

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With game times of 3:07 and 5:37 p.m. for the first two games of the ALDS, shadows will come into play, although by 4 p.m. Tuesday, both the mound and home plate were in shadows. “There will be shadows the first couple innings (Saturday),’’ Farrell said, “but given the time of year, the sun goes down pretty quick.’’ Sunset Saturday is projected for 6:18 p.m. ... This season’s team was the first Red Sox team since 1903 to go an entire season without losing more than three games in a row. They lost three in a row five times, but only once after the All-Star break (Aug. 14-16). ... David Ortiz is the only player left from the 2004 World Series champions. Ortiz, Lester, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury are the only players left from the ’07 champs.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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