Sunday, July 13, 2014
Buchholz starts will bookend break
By Jordan Godwin, Special to ESPNBoston.com
HOUSTON -- While Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday he's still not ready to name his American League All-Star starting pitcher, he was ready to unveil his rotation for the Red Sox when the club returns from the break.
Farrell said the rotation will vary only slightly, starting out on Friday against Kansas City with Clay Buchholz, who pitches Sunday in Houston. He will be followed by Rubby De La Rosa, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy.
"The two guys with the least amount of innings so far are going to lead us out of the break," Farrell said. "We looked at the matchups and felt like this would be the best combination of things."
Buchholz enters Sunday's start with the worst ERA among Red Sox starters in the rotation at 6.11. De La Rosa is at 2.89, Lester is at 2.65, Lackey is at 3.79 and Peavy is second-worst at 4.59 at the break.
* Farrell said Shane Victorino could possibly play in Sunday's "Futures at Fenway" game with Lowell after being a late scratch from his start on Saturday.
"He got scratched by the recommendation of the medical staff," Farrell said. "They just felt that it was best to hold him out and give him a day off and get him back on the field at Fenway today."
Victorino -- who has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a right hamstring sprain -- is 0-for-4 with the Spinners and has yet to get a hit in his minor league rehab assignment.
"I'm well aware of that," Farrell said. "We want a healthy player, and we want a productive player as well. This will all be part of the discussion when it's time to activate him."
Farrell said the club aims to have Victorino back for the upcoming series against Kansas City.
* If the American League holds a tight lead late in Tuesday night's All-Star game at Target Field in Minneapolis, would Farrell be willing to use his own closer, Koji Uehara?
"We've got a number of guys we can pick from that are all pretty darn good," Farrell said. "We're obligated to get as many guys onto the field that we can and yet, still obligated to try to win the game."
Farrell named Uehara to the All-Star roster on Wednesday to replace injured New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Farrell said Uehara is one of the more understated pitchers on the roster, despite his 18 saves and 1.65 ERA. Despite a few rough appearances across the last month, Uehara posted a 0.57 ERA over his first 31 games this season.
Farrell suggested the 39-year-old closer might not be mentioned among the elite closers simply because of his pitching style.
"I think it's directly related to velocity," Farrell said. "Because the numbers he puts up are as dominant as anyone else with the typical closer power stuff. Because Koji throws 88-90 mph, he's not going to have the cache that a mid-to-upper-90s guy might have, but he's no less effective."
After a breakout night on Friday, rookie catcher Christian Vazquez is back in the lineup Sunday, batting ninth.
Here's the full lineup:
1. Brock Holt, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Daniel Nava, LF
6. Jackie Bradley, Jr., CF
7. Xander Bogaerts, 3B
8. Stephen Drew, SS
9. Christian Vazquez, C