Thursday, October 3, 2013
Farrell weighing lineup decisions
By Tony Lee, Special to ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- The Red Sox will not announce their American League Division Series roster until Friday morning, when it is due. However, manager John Farrell did take the opportunity Thursday at Fenway Park to give some hints as to what his lineups will look like in the first two games Friday and Saturday.
With left-handers Matt Moore and David Price set to start for the Tampa Bay Rays, many decisions have already been made.
“Yeah, I think obviously Jonny Gomes will be in left field,” Farrell said. “We’ll do some things behind the plate probably to split the two games up, and David Ross’ involvement will certainly be in one of these first two games.”
Farrell was asked which factors would dictate when Ross is behind the plate, either in Game 1 working with Jon Lester or in Game 2 with John Lackey.
“He’s worked well with both guys,” Farrell said. “So there’s going to be a few things that come into play; who he’s catching, who he’s facing, and how that matchup might best serve us as a team.”
That’s where the numbers become significant. Lester threw 22 times to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, posting a 3.58 ERA and a 3.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio (116/34) while limiting opponents to a .671 OPS. In 11 games with Ross behind the plate those numbers shift to a 4.11 ERA, a 1.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio (61/33) and a .770 OPS.
Lackey had similar discrepancies going the other direction, although he pitched to Ross in only two games, posting a 2.38 ERA and 16 strikeouts against two walks. In 22 games paired with Saltalamacchia, Lackey had a 3.06 mark and a 3.90 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lackey also worked with Ryan Lavarnway five times.
Those numbers would suggest a Lester-Saltalamacchia battery on Friday and a Lackey-Ross pairing on Saturday. If that’s not enough, it is worth noting that Ross is 2-for-5 (with both hits home runs) against Price, while Saltalamacchia is just 1-for-14 with five strikeouts against the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner.
The two have just one at-bat against Moore between them, so that is not a factor.