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Projecting the Red Sox playoff roster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 19, 2013 12:41 PM

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Two consecutive losses against those pesky Baltimore Orioles and facing Chris Tillman tonight? Details. This seems like a perfect time to project the Division Series roster for the Red Sox.

(Keep in mind this roster can be changed between rounds.)

Starting pitchers (4)
LHP Jon Lester
RHP John Lackey
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Jake Peavy

Explanation: It's pretty obvious who the four starters should be. And it's a good bet they'll be in this order. Lackey has been consistently good all season and has a better ERA at Fenway Park (2.63) than on the road (4.39). Buchholz gets a few extra days of tune-up then starts Game 3 on the road. That's a formidable rotation.

Relievers (7)
RHP Koji Uehara
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Brandon Workman
LHP Matt Thornton
RHP Ryan Dempster
LHP Franklin Morales

Explanation: Dempster is the emergency guy instead of Felix Doubront. He could start if there's an emergency or pitch long relief. Thornton beats out Drake Britton based on experience. Morales is the best high-end arm remaining to choose from and gives John Farrell another lefty to matchup with.

Frankly, seven relievers is one too many for a five-game series with two days off. But teams are terrified of running out of pitchers and always keep an extra one around.

Catchers (2)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
David Ross

Explanation: Given that he is stealing bases of late, it would seem Salty's back feels fine. That epidural really did the trick. So there's no need of insurance in the form of Ryan Lavarnway.

DH (1)
David Ortiz

Explanation: What, you were expecting somebody else? Move along.

Infielders (5)
1B Mike Napoli
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Stephen Drew
3B Will Middlebrooks
SS-3B Xander Bogaerts

Explanation: There's no backup second baseman here. But Bogaerts represents a better option to pinch hit than does John McDonald. And it would probably take some sort of calamity for Pedroia not to play. If there is a calamity, bet Drew could handle it.

Outfielders (6)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF-CF Shane Victorino
LF Jonny Gomes
LF-RF Daniel Nava
LF Mike Carp
CF Quintin Berry

Explanation: This assumes Ellsbury will be ready, which could be a big assumption to make. But he still has two weeks to be ready. The temptation is to keep Jackie Bradley Jr. as insurance for Ellsbury. But the Red Sox picked up Berry for a reason and that's to run for Ortiz or Napoli in a big spot. If Bradley were a better base stealer, it would be an easy call.

Tough omissions: McDonald is probably it, just because he's a perfect insurance player. But if the Red Sox were preparing him for the postseason, wouldn't he have more than three appearances at this point? Regretting leaving Bradley off, too. But Berry represents 90 important feet in a close game.

Any changes you would make? Leave a comment explaining why.

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