Farrell confident in pitching staff heading into postseason
BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox manager John Farrell is in no hurry to finalize his postseason roster and pitching staff for Boston’s American League Division Series against Cleveland.
He has until Thursday morning and he plans on taking every minute he can before then to mull it over.
There aren’t expected to be many surprises regarding position players, but the starting pitching rotation for Boston’s opening series could feature a foursome that has yet to register a postseason victory as a starter.
Farrell previously said that Rick Porcello and David Price would start Games 1 and 2. Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez are expected to pitch Games 3 and 4, but Farrell wouldn’t confirm that prior to his team’s workout Tuesday.
“We haven’t announced that officially yet, but we’ve had some discussions internally. So we’re still waiting to announce that,” Farrell said. “We feel confident with all four starters that we have. So that’s where we are.”
Price has the lengthiest postseason starting resume among the presumed four, going 0-7 in his eight starts with a 5.27 ERA. Porcello is 0-1 in two playoff starts, pitching 12 2/3 innings. Buchholz has made five playoff starts, but has yet to register a decision allowing 12 earned runs and registering a 4.21 ERA over his 25 2/3 innings. Rodriguez has yet appear in the postseason.
Buchholz acknowledged that there is a lot for this group to prove, but said they’re eager to let their performances take care of that.
“Everybody’s gotta win their first one before they can win their second one,” he said. “I think there’s only a couple of us that have had more than five opportunities to win a game in the postseason. Porcello’s going Game 1 and everybody knows what he’s done this year. I don’t think anything’s gonna change from that.”
Price was anointed as Boston’s staff ace when he signed a seven-year, $217 million contract as a free agent during the offseason. But it was Porcello that established himself as the team’s most consistent arm, with a 3.15 ERA and leading the majors with 22 wins.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright had a strong year with 13 wins, but continues to work his way back from a right shoulder strain that will keep him sidelined for at least the opening series.
After a 7-1 start to the season, Price went through some growing pains which included him again working to fix a hitch in his delivery. He finally caught a grove, and had a stretch beginning in mid-August that saw him win seven straight starts.
Price allowed one run and four hits, walking three and striking out four in five innings in the regular-season finale against Toronto.
Buchholz said he isn’t worried about Price being able to produce.
“Like I said in spring training, we have one of the best pitchers in the world that we just signed this year,” he said. “DP’s gonna step up and do what he does. I think that how’s everybody else is gonna follow, too.”
Another offseason addition, closer Craig Kimbrel, missed 18 games this season with a meniscus tear in his left knee. He returned from the disabled list on August 1 and had 14 saves in 14 save opportunities. But he enters the playoffs with losses in two of his last three appearances, issuing six walks while completing two innings.
Kimbrel threw a bullpen session on Monday “to continue to work on work on the things that are maintenance things,” Farrell said.
“We are all aware of some of the inconsistencies on the recent outings. But this wasn’t a major delivery adjustment,” Farrell said. “This is a matter of continuing to reproduce the direction and stand behind the baseball more consistently. So there’s no change in who’s our closer. It’s Craig Kimbrel.”
NOTES: President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was the architect of bringing both Price and Kimbrel to Boston. Farrell had nothing but praise for him a year into the job. “The players he’s brought in, the trades that have been made, have had a major impact on our roster to date,” Farrell said. He said Dombrowski has a style that is unique to him. “Dave’s so present with us. He has a direct and very current feel for what our team’s going through. It allows our conversations to be free flowing, and without much catch up because it’s ever present and it’s multiple times a day. He has such a long history in this game and a successful one, and has not shown any resonance or restriction to make big deals to make a big impact. And that’s on this roster again.”
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