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Red Sox donate items to the Hall of Fame

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 31, 2013 09:04 PM

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Photo courtesy of the Hall of Fame

Officials from the Hall of Fame collected equipment from the Red Sox after Game 6 that will be displayed in Cooperstown starting in early December.

The items include a bat at used by World Series MVP David Ortiz in Game 5
, spikes worn throughout the World Series by closer Koji Uehara
, the jacket worn in Game 6 by Farrell
, the catcher’s mask worn by David Ross
, Stephen Drew’s glove and batting gloves used by Xander Bogaerts.

Earlier in the Series, Jonny Gomes donated the bat he used to hit the decisive home run in Game 4.

Hall of Famer Jim Rice was with Ortiz when he donated his bat to Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson and vice president of communication and education Brad Horn.

Also:

• Ortiz will be on the "Late Show With David Letterman" on Monday night.

• Mike Napoli celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday.

• According to Fox, 86 percent of televisions on in Boston were turned to the game when the final out was made on Wednesday. The game had a 55.3 local rating the highest rating for any MLB game in any market since Boston got a 55.3 for Game 4 of the 2007 World Series.

MLB reported a 20 percent increase in rating for the entire postseason from 2012.

• Congrats to Ryan Lavarnway and Jamie Neistat, who will be getting married in Colorado in a few weeks. Jamie's blog Cooking in Red Socks is a good read if you enjoy baseball and the culinary arts.

Scenes from a World Series celebration

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 31, 2013 02:25 PM

The press box at Fenway Park is on the fifth floor, and there are two ways to get to the field, an elevator or the ramps that run behind home plate.

On most nights, I take the elevator after the game because the ramps are full of fans heading out and it's slow going. On Wednesday night, there was a long line for the elevators, so I decided to take a chance with the ramps.

There were two people on the ramps, a couple from St. Louis, who were on their way out. Beyond that, they were empty. Every person had stayed in the park to watch the celebration, and the noise was like a wave.

This is not an exaggeration, Game 6 may have been the best atmosphere in the history of Fenway. The fans were on every pitch from the start and clearly played a role in rattling young Cardinals starter Michael Wacha.

When Shane Victorino came up in the third inning with the bases loaded and two outs, it felt like the place was going to burst, that's how loud it was. As Jonny Gomes slid in safely at the plate and Victorino pounded his chest at third base, it was a moment that rivaled anything that happened in 2004 or 2007.

Nothing will top 2004. People cried when the Sox won that season and hugged their parents and grandparents, letting loose emotions bottled up for decades.

But let's not forget that the 2003 Red Sox were a 95-win team. The Sox were loaded up with star players in 2004 and underachieved to fall in that 0-3 hole against the Yankees in the ALCS. The 2004 Red Sox scored 949 runs. They were not the little engine that could.

The 2013 Red Sox opened spring training with the simple goal of being competitive. Not one player predicted the playoffs back in Fort Myers because if they had, it would have been a big story. The idea was to return the organization to some manner of respectability after the epic collapse of 2011 and the abject disaster that was 2012.

It took Boston a while to warm up to this team because there were so many new faces. But once the fans embraced this team, they didn't let go.

Did you ever think you'd hear 38,447 Bostonians singing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" even after the music stopped? Or see dozens of women in fake beards happily walking into the park? Could you ever imagine a city loving a .247 hitter like Jonny Gomes? That guy will never buy a drink in this town for the rest of his life.

David Ross said a few days ago that when he's out in Boston, people come up and shake his hand and thank him for this season.

"I'm a backup catcher," he said. "That never happens to me. I can walk around all I want usually and blend in. But not here. It has been pretty cool for all of us."

The 2004 Red Sox brought tears. The 2013 Red Sox brought laughter and joy.

A lot — maybe too much — was made about the Red Sox helping heal the city after the Marathon bombings. But hopefully this team played some role in helping everybody smile a little more.

A few notes, quotes, and observations:

• The Dropkick Murphys were terrific with the anthem before Game 6 in the ALCS and again on Wednesday. Ken Casey and the band were in the clubhouse after the game and doused Gomes in beer.

You don't have to love their music to appreciate the Dropkicks loving the Sox and the city.

• Victorino seemed overwhelmed by the achievement, unable to speak to reporters and staying on the fringes of the clubhouse celebration.

• Koji Uehara is certainly one heck of a pitcher. But he's also a delightful guy and perhaps the funniest person in the clubhouse. At one point last night, he was pouring champagne over the head of a teammate and looked over at a small group of reporters.

"Day off tomorrow!" he said in English.

• Jon Lester's transformation has been interesting to watch. He was a very serious, almost dour, person for years. Even after games in which he pitched well, Lester would find a negative aspect to speak about, and he seemed to keep people at a distance.

It was a puzzle. Lester was a terrific pitcher and has what seems to be a wonderful family. Whenever the Sox are in Seattle, Jon is surrounded by family and friends. But why was he so grouchy?

That changed this season. Lester seemed to accept his fame more readily and became one of the team leaders. He said several times that this was the most fun he has had playing baseball.

After Game 5, Lester met the media in St. Louis with his son Hudson sitting on his lap and cracked a few jokes along the way. Good for him. He deserved to be MVP of the Series as much as David Ortiz did.

• Ben Cherington, ever on point, was talking after the game about things the team needs to improve. This was on the field with fireworks going off. The life of a general manager has little room for jumping around like a crazy person.

• Red Sox fans gave umpire Jim Joyce a lot of grief for his obstruction call, which he got right. He was pretty well perfect on the plate in Game 6, too.

• How big was Ortiz's homer in Game 2 of the ALCS? There's a decent chance none of this happens without that shot.

• John Lackey is never going to lead the Boston Chamber of Commerce. But the ovation he got in the seventh inning and that tip of the cap seemed like a forgive-and-forget moment for all parties.

"It was nice," said Lackey. "They've understood what I've gone through, I guess, and this is a town that likes a winner and we're winners."

• A lot of was made about Xander Bogaerts. But fellow rookie Brandon Workman threw 8.2 scoreless innings in the postseason with a WHIP of 1.15. He has a bright future, perhaps as a starter.

• If you will pardon a little boasting:

Called the Division Series right ...

Called the ALCS right ...

... and called the Series right.

• Finally, thanks to everybody who read Extra Bases and the Globe all season. Nick Cafardo and Julian Benbow add their thanks, too. We appreciate everybody who reads and comments.

Here's hoping you follow the coverage during the offseason, too. This is a great city to cover baseball in because of you.

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Red Sox parade map and details

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 31, 2013 02:24 PM

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Here's the basic layout of the route for the Red Sox' victory parade Saturday. A more interactive, Google-based version that you can zoom in and out, can be found here.

Parade details are as follows:

Start time: 10 a.m.

Route:
Start on Boylston Street at Ipswich Street
Left on Tremont
Left on Cambridge Street
Right on Blossom Street
Finish in the Charles River

Getting there: Fans strongly encouraged to use public transportation. Parking restrictions will be in place and vehicle traffic will be banned from 9 a.m. until about 1 p.m. along the route.

Security:
No public drinking allowed
Backpacks subject to random search

Full parade details can be found here.

Scott Boras says GMs inquiring about Jacoby Ellsbury

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 31, 2013 01:42 PM
Agent Scott Boras said Thursday that he’s already received 11 phone calls from baseball general managers inquiring about Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew.

Both players became a free agents when the World Series ended, although the Red Sox retain negotiating rights with them until Nov. 5.

"These players are very popular," Boras said.

Boras said he hoped to hear from the Red Sox soon and acknowledged there’s a lot going on. He didn’t expect to hear from them until after Saturday’s parade to celebrate their World Series championship.

Boras said Drew, who struggled with his offense, went to visit an eye doctor before Game 6 and he wound up hitting a home run and hit the ball hard three times. Boras expects Drew to get some interest, and pointed out that Drew and Troy Tulowitski were the only shortstops who had an OPS of more than .775 during the regular season.

Cardinals' disappointment extends past team

Posted by Staff October 31, 2013 01:25 PM
After winning two World Series championships in six years, and appearing in their fourth in 10 years, the Cardinals had high hopes going into the 2013 World Series. Despite holding a 2-1 series advantage, the Cardinals couldn’t muster any momentum and lost three straight games to fall to the Red Sox in six.

News and media outlets around St. Louis were just as disappointed as Cardinals fans, as readers woke up to disappointing headlines on Thursday morning.

The St. Louis Dispatch had a very simple take with their A1 page, as shown in this tweet by TIME’s Andrew Katz:

Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Strauss was ready to talk about offseason topics after the game and move past the tough series loss:

The disappointment in St. Louis also stretched to local news channels, as Glenn Zimmerman, meteorologist for FOX 2, showed how upset he was during his Thursday morning weather update:

Just before the Red Sox clinched the victory, the Boston Police Department set up around the Fenway area in preparation for the celebration, and it was not just the Boston media who noticed what was happening outside the park.

After Red Sox championship merchandise began filling outlets around Boston, local St. Louis news station KMOV Channel 4 wonders what Cardinals fans could have seen stocking the shelves of local stores had the Cardinals pulled off their second championship in two seasons:

All in all, the disappointment for the Cardinals and their fans could be summed up by the words of Post-Dispatch lead Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold:

Offseason ready to start for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 31, 2013 12:13 PM

There is a parade on Saturday. But the season is over for the Red Sox and the offseason is about to get started.

Unlike the last two years, there is no manager to hire or crisis to solve. But there are some decisions to be made.

As of the World Series ending, SS Stephen Drew, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, RHP Joel Hanrahan, 1B Mike Napoli, and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia became free agents.

The Red Sox retain their rights until Nov. 5, at which point they can sign with any team.

The Red Sox hold 2014 contract options on two players: LHP Jon Lester for $13 million (or a $250,000 buyout) and LHP Matt Thornton for $6 million (or a $1 million buyout). Those decisions are expected by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

The Red Sox also have decisions to make on arbitration-eligible players. That group includes RHP Andrew Bailey, LHP Andrew Miller, LHP Franklin Morales, 1B-OF Mike Carp and RHP Junichi Tazawa.

Here is a list of important dates coming up:

Nov. 4: 5 p.m. (ET) Deadline for teams to make qualifying offers (one year, $14.1 million) to their eligible former players who became free agents.

Nov. 5: Free agents eligible to sign with any team.

Nov. 11: 5 p.m. (ET) deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers; BBWAA Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year announced.

Nov. 11-13: General managers meeting, Orlando, Fla.

Nov. 12: BBWAA Managers of the Year announced.

Nov. 13: BBWAA Cy Young Award winners announced.

Nov. 14: BBWAA MVP awards announced.

Nov 20: Deadline to set 40-man roster.

Dec. 2: Last day for teams to offer 2014 contracts to unsigned players.

Dec. 9-12: Winter meetings, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Dec. 12: Rule 5 Draft.

A group that will go down in history

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 31, 2013 02:06 AM

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Here's a photo Red Sox owner John Henry posted on Twitter. This is the Sox gathering with the trophy after Game 6.

Watch: John Henry, Tom Werner on winning World Series

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 31, 2013 01:29 AM






Watch Red Sox owner John Henry (above) and chairman Tom Werner (below) discuss the Red Sox' World Series championship in postgame interviews with NESN's Don Orsillo.







Farrell: Series win puts cap on incredible season

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 31, 2013 12:46 AM

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From last place to first place, the 2013 Boston Red Sox completed their improbable journey Wednesday night, capturing the World Series in six games with a 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. For Sox manager John Farrell, it was an appropriate ending.

John Lackey, one of the most maligned players from the chicken-and-beer Red Sox of two years ago, pitched 6 2/3 innings for the win, allowing one run before departing to a standing ovation.

"I think it was almost fitting that he's on the mound to close this out," said Farrell. "I think people have seen the turnaround in him, and they've seen the turnaround in us. Very fitting."

Like they've done all series, the Sox patched together a win in Game 6. Outside of David Ortiz, who hit .688 on his way to the MVP trophy, no Red Sox player hit above .250. Shane Victorino sported a .154 average, but he delivered Wednesday's big hit, clearing the bases with a double in the third inning.

"Shane has got a little bit of a flair for the dramatic," said Farrell. "The hits that he did hit in the postseason couldn't have come at a better time."

There was concern coming into the game about young St. Louis starter Michael Wacha, who had been virtually unhittable this postseason. But the Red Sox got to Wacha in their second outing against him, tagging the righthander for six runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"Probably just having some familiarity," Farrell said of his team's success. "As much as you can prepare through video and scouting reports, there's no replacing first-hand experience.

"He's a very good looking young pitcher. But our will to win probably closed out this World Series."

In the end, Farrell said his team bonded during a surprising season that came after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon in April.

"I go back to our players understanding their place in the city," said Farrell. "For the lack of a better description, they get it. ... Our fans got to a point where they appreciated the way we played, the way we supported each other.

"Every guy in this uniform, no matter where they are going forward, will look back on this as a special year."

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Fenway Park hosts historic World Series championship celebration

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 31, 2013 12:10 AM
Fenway Park was host to a World Series championship party for the first time since 1918.

Moments after Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter to clinch Game 6 and the title, the field was mobbed by players, TV cameras and others as a historic celebration got underway.

It was the Red Sox' third World Championship since 2004. They won it on the road in 2004 and 2007, so winning it at home was extra special to this team.

300trophy.jpgBaseball commissioner Bud Selig was on hand to present the Commissioner’s Trophy to the Red Sox, who went from just 69 wins in 2012 and finishing last in the AL East to winning the World Series. They became just the second team in history, after the 1991 Minnesota Twins, to win the World Series just one year after finishing last in the division.

“You know this started off as a really tough year for Boston,” Selig said. “And it was ‘Boston Strong’ and the Red Sox that made all their fans very, very proud.”

“These are the most deserving players I have ever seen,” said principal owner John Henry. “They played with such heart [and] such desire.”

“This team was resilient all year,” said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. “And they showed great character: 22 wins in their last at bat; 25 different heroes. And we pay tribute tonight to all the families who suffered from the marathon bombing, and the resiliency of this region and this city coming back.”

Ben Cherington, who orchestrated the major deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers and then signed all of the key Red Sox free agents in the offseason, won the World Series in just his second season as general manager, equaling the feat of his predecessor Theo Epstein.

“It’s an amazing feeling, I feel blessed to be along for the ride,” Cherington said.
“We had an amazing group in our clubhouse… They decided in spring training that they wanted to write a different story, and sure enough they did. It’s just fun to be along for the ride.”

Uehara came in for the ninth inning, and retired all three batters in order.

Uehara had said after the ALCS that he was so nervous he almost threw up and he was asked about how he was feeling after winning the World Series

“Last time I almost threw up, this time I almost cried,” he said through his translator. “I still feel like this is a dream.”

Uehara's young son Kaz was asked how he was going to celebrate with his dad after the Red Sox championship, to which he replied “crazy.”

Jon Lester won two games during the series – Game 1 and Game 5. He threw 15.1 innings, allowing just one run on nine hits and one walk, while striking out 15.

“People counted us out all year and we just kept proving them wrong,” he said. “Now we’re standing here with the World Series trophy, it still hasn’t sunk in.”

“We got together in spring training and everyone cared about each other so much,” said Dustin Pedroia. “With the stuff happened to this city we wanted to do something special, make everybody happy and proud of their team in the toughest of times, and hopefully we did that.

Before the season, Pedroia tweeted out a message to Red Sox Nation that he reiterated after the team accepted the Commissioner’s Trophy.

“I said ‘you better jump on [our team] now, ‘cause were going to do something special,’ and we did.”

After the trophy presentation, the Red Sox headed back into the clubhouse to spray champagne and celebrate what they had accomplished.

Shortly after, Jonny Gomes returned to the field waving a giant Red Sox flag, doing a lap up and down the first base line decked out in his now-famous Army helmet.

Also seen on the field posing for fans' photos was Steve Horgan, also known as the "bullpen cop," who famously raised his arms in the air to celebrate David Ortiz's ALCS Game 2 grand slam as Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter flipped over into the bullpen.

The Red Sox now head into the 2014 season as World Champions, and will look to become the first team to successfully defend the World Series Championship since the 2000 New York Yankees

Ortiz was named World Series MVP after hitting .688 in the series with two home runs and six RBIs. This was Ortiz’s third World Series win with the Red Sox.

“First of all I just want to say this is for you Boston,” he said. “This is for all of you. I knew that this was going to be a special year, and when we started rolling, no one can stop the train.

"Winning this World Series is special, I think this might be the most special of any of the World Series [we won].”

David Ortiz named World Series MVP

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 30, 2013 11:37 PM

Who else could it be?

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was named MVP of the 2013 World Series Wednesday night following Boston's 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6.

"This is for you, Boston," Ortiz said holding the trophy above his head. "You deserve it."

Ortiz made his case for the award early and often during the series, posting a .688 average (11 for 16) with two home runs, six RBIs, and eight walks. Over one stretch, Ortiz reached base in nine consecutive at bats.

"His performance both on and off the field is something that we're all very proud of," said Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

Ortiz's totals could have been even greater had he not been robbed of a grand slam in the second inning of Game 1. Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran took away a home run against the bullpen, leaving Ortiz to settle for a sacrifice fly. He would homer later in the game, and again in Game 2.

The Cardinals were eventually more careful with Ortiz, but much of the damage was already done. Ortiz walked four times in Game 6.

Ortiz, of course, was not alone in bringing the Red Sox their third World Series title since 2004. Jon Lester won both of his starts, posting a 0.59 ERA and striking out 15 over 15.1 innings. In any other series, he might have been MVP. Closer Koji Uehara saved two games and pitched in five without allowing a run.

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FINAL: Red Sox 6, Cardinals 1

Posted by Staff October 30, 2013 06:50 PM

The Red Sox are the 2013 World Champions.

In fitting fashion, Koji Uehara came in to finish the game in the top of the ninth with the Sox up 6-1. He got Jay to fly out to left, and got Descalso to do the same for the second out. He struck out Carpenter to win the game and win the World Series.

End of the 8th, 6-1 Red Sox: Brandon Workman came in to pitch for the Red Sox at the beginning of the inning and got Molina to fly out to Victorino in right for the first out. Adams grounded out to Pedroia for the second out, then Jay grounded out to third base to put the Red Sox within three outs of winning the World Series.

The Caridnals brought in Randy Choate, walking Ellsbury to start the bottom of the eighth inning for the Red Sox. Matheny then turned to closer Trevor Rosenthal to face Pedroia. Pedroia reached on a fielder’s choice that eliminated Ellsbury at second. Rosenthal then balked to move Pedroia up to second, leading the Cardinals to intentionally walk Ortiz for the third time in the game. Napoli struck out looking for the second out, then Gomes grounded back to the pitcher to send the game into the ninth.

End of the 7th, 6-1 Red Sox: After throwing just 83 pitches through six, Lackey came back out for the seventh and struck out Freese to lead off the frame, then got Jay to ground out to Pedroia for the second out. Descalso singled right after and then Carpenter doubled to put two in scoring position with two out. Beltran singled in a run to break the shutout and Holliday walked to load the bases, ending Lackey’s night to thunderous applause from the Fenway crowd, with Lackey tipping his hat to the crowd as he left the field. Junichi Tazawa came on in relief and got Craig to ground out 3-1 for the third out of the inning; six outs to go.

Victorino flew out to left for the first out of the bottom of the seventh and then Bogaerts flew out to right for the second out. Drew singled to left field to get a runner on for Ross, but Ross flew out to center for the third out.

End of the 6th, 6-0 Red Sox: Craig flew out to center and Molina grounded out to second base for two quick outs, then Lackey struck out Adams for the third out of a fast 1-2-3 sixth inning; nine outs to go.

Ortiz struck out to begin the inning and Siegrist was lifted in favor of Carlos Martinez, who promptly struck out Napoli looking. Gomes grounded out to shortstop for the last out of the inning.

End of the 5th, 6-0 Red Sox: Jay got on to lead off the inning on an infield hit to Drew, but Descalso then lined out on a diving play by Drew for the first out. Carpenter then lined a base hit into right field to out two on, but Beltran flew out to right for the second out with Jay advancing to third on the tag up. Holliday flew out to right to end the inning with the Cardinals runners stranded on first and third.

Siegrist came in to pitch for Cardinals; Drew grounded out to first base for the first out and Ross flew out to center for the second. Ellsbury reached on an error at second base by Carpenter. Ellsbury got caught in a pickle trying to steal second, but beat four throws back and forth to get back to first base unscathed. Pedroia then flew out to right field for the final out; Red Sox still leading by six.

End of the 4th, 6-0 Red Sox: Holliday grounded out to Bogaerts at third for the first out of the inning. Craig then singled to left for his second hit of the ballgame and Molina reached on an error by Pedroia. Adams lined out to left field for the second out, then Lackey blew a fastball by Freese to end the top of the fourth.

Stephen Drew hit the first pitch he saw into the Red Sox bullpen for a solo homer to put the Sox up 4-0. Ross then struck out for the first out, but Ellsbury then hit a deep fly ball that almost went out by banged off the bullpen wall for a stand up double. Pedroia flew out to right for the second out that moved Ellsbury to third. Ortiz was intentionally walked for the second time in the game and Mike Matheny came out to relieve Wacha after he pitched just 3.2 innings, opting for Lance Lynn who had just two days of rest after starting Game 4. Napoli then singled to center to score Ellsbury and put the Red Sox up by five, then Lynn walked Gomes to load the bases. Victorino singled home another Boston run to make it 6-0, knocking Lynn out of the game after getting no outs. Maness came in and struck out Bogaerts to finally end the inning.

End of the 3rd, 3-0 Red Sox: Daniel Descalso struck out looking to start the third inning, but Carpenter lined the first pitch he saw into center for a single. Carlos Beltran then grounded to Stephen Drew who took the ball to second base and fired to first for the double play to end the inning with Lackey throwing just five pitches in the inning.

Ellsbury led off with a single in the bottom of the third and Pedroia advanced him to second with a ground out to third. Ortiz was intentionally walked and Napoli struck out for the second out. Wacha hit Gomes to load the bases for Victorino, who smacked a double deep off the Green Monster that scored all three base runners and put the Red Sox up 3-0. Victorino advanced to third on the throw, but then Boagaerts lined out to third base for the third out.

End of the 2nd, 0-0: Allen Craig singled off the Monster for the first Cardinals hit of the game and then Yadier Molina singled to left to put two runners on. Matt Adams flew out to left field for the first out, then David Freese flew out to right for the second. Lackey threw a wild pitch during Jon Jay’s at bat that moved the runner up to second and third, but got Jay to swing and miss of the next pitch to retire the side and get out of the jam.

Gomes singled to center to start the bottom of the second, then Shane Victorino walked to put two on with no outs. Xander Bogaerts popped out to the catcher for the first out and Stephen Drew popped out to Carpenter in foul territory for the second out. David Ross struck out for the final out of the inning.

End of the 1st, 0-0: Matt Carpenter began the game by flying out to Jonny Gomes in left field. Carlos Beltran then grounded out into the shift for the second out and Mike Napoli took a Matt Holliday ground ball to first base himself for the third out. Lackey threw just 10 pitches for a 1-2-3 first inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury struck out swinging for the first out of the Red Sox half of the first. After launching a ball just foul over the Green Monster, Dustin Pedroia grounded out to second base for the second out. David Ortiz then walked for the Red Sox first base runner of the game, but Mike Napoli struck out to end the first inning.

Pregame: After winning two out of three games in St. Louis, the Red Sox enter Game 6 of the World Series with a 3-2 series lead over the Cardinals, one win away from their third World Championship in the last decade.

David Ortiz has led the way for the Red Sox, hitting .733 in the series with two home runs and six RBIs. The rest of the team has struggled offensively, but timely hitting and strong pitching have put the Red Sox on the brink of another championship.

John Lackey will get the start for the Red Sox tonight. In his last start, the Red Sox lost a tough Game 2 despite Lackey leaving the game with the lead, as two errors on the same play in the seventh inning allowed the Cardinals to take a 3-2 lead in the game, eventually winning 4-2.

In the postseason, Lackey is 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA in four appearances, three of them starts. Lackey came out of the bullpen to pitch a scoreless eighth inning in Game 4, one which the Red Sox would go on to win on a game-ending pickoff by Koji Uehara of St. Louis’s Kolten Wong.

The Cardinals will count on rookie Michael Wacha to try and extend their season to a Game 7. In his last start, also Game 2 of the World Series, Wacha picked up the win despite the Cardinals trailing 2-1 when he was last on the mound. He went six innings and gave up two runs on a home run by David Ortiz.

Wacha is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four postseason starts. Wacha won two games for the Cardinals in the NLCS against the Dodgers, allowing no runs on seven hits in 13.2 innings. He was later named NLCS MVP.

Before the game, the Red Sox will welcome back team legends Luis Tiant and Carlton Fisk to throw out the ceremonial first pitches. Both were key members of the 1975 American League Champion Red Sox and played well in the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Tiant went 2-0 in that series, and Fisk hit the most memorable home run in Red Sox history, 12th-inning walk-off that hit the left field foul pole in Game 6 to force a Game 7 and save the Red Sox season.

The first ball will be delivered to the mound by 10-year-old Jordan Laudani, a member of the Watertown Boys & Girls Club, along with Red Sox legend and Hall of Famer Jim Rice.
Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys will perform the National Anthem prior to the game, as well as play their hit song “I’m Shipping up to Boston,” which became an anthem of the Red Sox on their way to their 2007 World Series championship.

Performing “God Bless America” in the middle of the seventh inning will be a quartet from the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band: Master Sgt. Jennifer Dashnaw, Tech. Sgt. Quez Vasquez, Tech. Sgt. Niko Ellison, and Staff Sgt. Rachel Webber.

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Fisk recalls the last Game 6 at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 06:39 PM

Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk, who is throwing out a first pitch with Luis Tiant tonight, hit a memorable home run in the last World Series Game 6 at Fenway Park.

He spoke about that game in 1975 earlier tonight.

"Well, that was quite a game. We were ahead and behind and behind and behind and tied and then almost ahead in the 9th. And then we went into the 12th inning. And Freddy (Lynn) and I were standing on the on deck circle," Fisk said.

"And I don't know what got over me, but I was kind of rejuvenated in that Pete Rose was up the inning before. And he came up to the plate all excited, 'Isn't this the best game you've ever played in? I've never played in a game like this before. This is the greatest game.' About the time I was falling asleep because it was way past my bedtime. And then I kind of realized, this is a pretty great game.

"So then I was up the next inning, talking to Freddy on deck, and I must have had some good karma, good thoughts or something. I said, 'Freddy, I'm going to hit one off the wall. Drive me in.' Because he almost won the game in the bottom of the ninth; if that little fly ball to left field had been 10 or 12 feet deeper, then, you know, might never have gotten up to the plate.

"So he said, 'Yeah, that sounds great to me.' So and then two pitches later it was off the foul pole. And when I hit it I knew it was high enough. I knew it was long enough but I didn't know if it was going to stay fair. And then it did, which was pretty sweet."

Victorino wants to party like it's 1918

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 06:22 PM

Shane Victorino was asked about the Red Sox being able to win the World Series at home for the first time since 1918.

"We all understand the magnitude of tonight's game. The fact that since we haven't won a championship in Fenway since 1918," Victorino said. " I mean, I don't think there's even that many people who could say they remember that or even could say that they were around when that happened. So all these kind of things. And playing in front of these fans every single night, it doesn't get any better. I'm excited to see what happens. And as I said, we've still got a long, tough task ahead of us."

Victorino said the tradition in Boston is part of what led to his signing with the Sox.

"I'm a fan of the game. I watch what is going on. This organization, there's reason why these two teams are here," he said. "Not too many teams have won two World Series in this [decade].That tells me what it's all about.

"That's why I think, most importantly for me,when I signed here, I knew what this was about. It wasn't just a bump in the road the last couple of years. And I didn't look at it any differently. Even though they were in last place, I knew this was a first-class organization. They're about winning. They want to be at the top.

"I paid attention to them from afar. I played them every year in interleague. I know what's that like. Red Sox Nation, they've got a big following. That's another thing that lured me to sign here in Boston."

Farrell: Victorino fits in sixth spot

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 05:09 PM

Shane Victorino is back in the Red Sox lineup but batting sixth for the first time this season. John Farrell said it's a function of liking Dustin Pedroia batting second and David Ortiz third.

"Wanted to keep the top of the order consistent with what we had [in Game 5]," Farrell said. "Vic is healthy, no restrictions. Glad he's back in right field for us."

Hitting Victorino sixth also beefs up the lineup behind Ortiz.

Victorino missed the last two games because of lower-back pain. But he said he is ready to go.

"I feel a lot better," said Victorino. "Progressively have gotten better every day. As we talked about, Game 5, I had every intention of being there. I think that John and I discussed before the game the magnitude of the game and what had happened the night before and I totally understand what his understanding of where I was and maybe giving me that extra day and keeping the lineup the way it was."

A few other notes:

• Jake Peavy is the starter for a possible Game 7 "as of now," according to Farrell. That seems to leave open the possibility of starting Felix Doubront if the lefty is not used tonight.

• Clay Buchholz is available out of the bullpen tonight. Jon Lester would be available tomorrow. Lester's soreness is "normal wear and tear" according to Farrell. Counting the postseason, Lester has thrown 248 innings this season.

World Series Game 6 chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 04:19 PM

If the Red Sox beat the Cardinals tonight, they will be the World Series champions for the third time in 10 years. If the anticipation of that doesn't get you to join our pregame chat at 7 p.m., moderated by Chad Finn, you must be from St. Louis. Check in below to join the fun.

 

A place in history for John Lackey?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 03:36 PM

John Lackey can become the first pitcher ever to start and win the clinching game of a World Series for two different teams. He won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for Anaheim as a 24-year-old. That was 4,021 days ago.

Jimmy Key (1992 with Toronto in relief, 1996 with the Yankees as starter) and Catfish Hunter (1972 with Oakland in relief, 1978 with the Yankees as starter) are the only other pitchers to earn a Series-clinching win with two teams.

There have been 10 pitchers overall who have clinched two World Series, including these six who did it as a starter both times: Bob Gibson, Lefty Gomez, Sandy Koufax, Art Nehf, Andy Pettitte, and Vic Raschi.

World Series Game 6: Cardinals at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 02:30 PM

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Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:
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RED SOX (3-2, 97-65 regular season)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Shane Victorino RF
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Stephen Drew SS
David Ross C
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (2-1, 3.26 postseason; 10-13, 3.52 regular season).

CARDINALS (2-3, 97-65 regular season)
Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Allen Craig DH
Yadier Molina C
Matt Adams 1B
David Freese 3B
John Jay CF
Daniel Descalso SS
Pitching: RHP Michael Wacha (4-0, 1.00 postseason; 4-1, 2.78 regular season).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/radio: Fox / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Wacha: Ellsbury 1-3, Gomes 0-3, Napoli 0-2, Ortiz 1-2, Pedroia 1-2, Victorino 0-3, Bogaerts 0-2, Drew 0-2, Salty 0-1.

Cardinals vs. Lackey: Beltran 1-12, Holliday 1-10, Adams 1-4, Freese 0-3, Jay 1-4, Carpenter 0-3, Descalso 0-2, Craig 0-2.

Stat of the Day: In 13 career World Series games, David Ortiz is hitting .465 (20 for 43) with nine extra-base hits, 10 walks, 12 runs, and 14 RBIs. He has a 1.370 OPS. In 54 career plate appearances in the Series, Ortiz has struck out four times.

Key matchup: Wacha against regressing to the mean. The 22-year-old has a 1.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in his last 12 appearances and 65 innings (counting the postseason) going back to Aug. 22. That's an impossible standard to maintain. Does he have one more dominant game in him?

Notes: The Red Sox are seeking their eighth championship in franchise history, the third in 10 years ... The Red Sox, 69-93 last season, can become the first team since the 1991 Twins to go from last place in their division to World Series champions in the span of a year ... Ortiz has reached base in 15 of 20 plate appearances in the Series with two homers and six RBIs. He has been walked four times but only once intentionally. He homered off Wacha in Game 2. Do the Cardinals dare pitch to him again? ... Victorino returns after missing two games with a sore lower back. He is batting sixth for the first time this season ... Lackey started Game 2 and allowed three runs on five hits over 6.1 innings. Two of the runs scored after he left the game. He walked two and struck out six. Lackey won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Angels ... Wacha has been almost untouchable in the postseason, giving up three runs on 11 hits over 27 innings. He has walked eight and struck out 28 ... Napoli (1 for 8), Gomes (1-14), Victorino (0 for 10), and Drew (1 for 15) are a combined 3 for 47 in the Series ... The Sox are hitting .205 in the Series. Take away Ortiz and it's .151 (22 of 146). ... The Sox have a 2.70 ERA in the postseason, 2.01 in the Series ... Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have combined on 5.2 scoreless innings in the Series. For the postseason, they have allowed two earned runs over 19.2 innings with one walk and 21 strikeouts ... Felix Doubront has thrown 5.2 scoreless innings in the postseason. John Farrell has said he's available in the bullpen. But he could be crucial in a possible Game 7 with Jake Peavy scheduled to start ... The Cardinals trailed the 2011 Series, 3-2, and came back to win both games. But they were in St. Louis.

Song of the Day: "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley & The Wailers.

Fisk and Tiant back at Fenway for Game 6

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 10:43 AM

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Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk and Red Sox legend Luis Tiant will throw out first pitches before Game 6 of the World Series tonight.

It's the first Series Game 6 at Fenway since Oct. 21, 1975, one of the greatest baseball games ever played.

Dropkick Murphys will perform the national anthem followed by "I'm Shipping Up To Boston."

Parking issues for Game 6 around Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 30, 2013 09:00 AM

If you are going to Game 6 or planning to be in the city to watch the game, the Red Sox and the City of Boston are advising public transportation.

On-street parking will be restricted on several streets in the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood. Parking will also be restricted on streets in Brighton, as well as near Northeastern University, Faneuil Hall and North Station.

Additional parking enforcement staff will be working before, during and after the games. They will also be concentrating on ensuring that only vehicles with Fenway/Kenmore resident parking permits are parked in curbside spaces designated for residents in that neighborhood.

World Series Today: Will the 'Wicked Bats of October' finish the job?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 30, 2013 08:23 AM



There's so much to like about a best-of-7 playoff series, from the way the drama builds to the way teams figure certain things out about each other and then try to capitalize.

One of the best things about a best-of-7 is someone always has a chance to win it all in Game 6. Tonight, that's the Red Sox. It also makes the Cardinals as desperate as it gets.

Today's featured video, "The Wicked Bats of October," is a Red Sox tribute song written by Larry Buckley, performed by his band, Tin Can Caravan, and recorded in Waltham. Thanks to Krissy Smith for sharing with us via Twitter. More on the tune here.

We'll have tons of coverage all day on Boston.com, including a live show from Fenway Park at 5 p.m., so please stay tuned. If tonight goes Boston's way, please celebrate responsibly.

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

Weather: Temps should be in the 40s during the game, but there won't be much wind so it won't feel too cold, according to Weather Wisdom's David Epstein.

Pregame: MLB has confirmed that Dropkick Murphys will perform both the national anthem and their famous song "Shipping Up To Boston" before tonight's game. Red Sox greats Luis Tiant and Carlton Fisk get first-pitch honors.

Live coverage on Boston.com:
-- Boston Sports Live, featuring Chris Gasper and Joe Sullivan, will be heavily focused on Game 6. Tune in at noon.

-- Live pregame show from Fenway Park starts at 5 p.m. and features Chad Finn and Nick Cafardo.

-- Live blog launches around 6 p.m. Steve Silva will have the latest from Fenway Park.

-- Chad Finn chats about Game 6 at 7 p.m.

Worthwhile links:
-- Boston.com columnist Adam Kaufman says the Red Sox have taken everyone's best shot and are still standing, so now it's time to deliver a knockout blow.

-- On BostonGlobe.com, Peter Abraham writes about John Lackey's chance to cap a redemptive season in his start tonight. Nick Cafardo explores the lack of offense so far this series for both teams and how they will address that, and Dan Shaughnessy writes about the mystique of Game 6s.

-- In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, columnist Bernie Miklasz writes that both the Cardinals and their fans have every bit of faith in rookie starter Michael Wacha tonight.

-- Tickets are still available for Game 6 and a possible Game 7, but it'll cost you.

Lovullo puts career choices on hold for now

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 11:10 PM

Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo has been contacted by several teams with managerial vacancies. But he has asked all parties to wait until after the World Series to further discuss their situations.

"I don't want to do anything to take away from what we're trying to accomplish here," Lovullo said Tuesday. "This is too important."

Lovullo, 48, has played a pivotal role in helping turn around the Red Sox and has nine seasons of experience managing in the minors. He was on John Farrell's staff in Toronto from 2011-12 as the first base coach before joining him in Boston.

The Cubs and Tigers are two teams Lovullo has ties to. When Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was with the Red Sox, he hired Lovullo to manage Triple A Pawtucket in 2010.

Lovullo was drafted by the Tigers in 1987 and was with that organization through 1990.

If Lovullo leaves the Red Sox, Triple A manager Gary DiSarcina would be a candidate to join Farrell's staff.

Costly line for Doubront

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 10:41 PM

Lefthander Felix Doubront missed the cutoff for salary arbitration by two days. The service time record to qualify for arbitration will be two years and 122 days, the Associated Press reported. Doubront has two years and 120 days.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, the top 22 percent of players by service time with at least two years but less than three are eligible for arbitration. They join the group of players with 3-6 years of service time.

There are 28 “Super Two” players. The Red Sox now can retain Doubront at a salary above the minimum they set for 2014. Doubront was 11-6 with a 4.32 ERA over 29 appearances and would have received significantly more via arbitration.

Also:

• Box seats for Game 6 were selling for $10,000 on the secondary market as of Tuesday night. Even bleacher seats were fetching more than $1,000.

“There's a lot of people with a lot of money willing to spend,” manager John Farrell said. “From a historic perspective, when you consider that an event like this hasn't been here in a couple of generations, there's a lot of people that are willing to take some extra cash and try to be a part of it.

• Wednesday will be the 178th game the Red Sox play this season, adding to their franchise record. The old record of 176 came in 2004 and 2007.

• The Sox are 10-5 in the postseason, with five wins coming after they trailed in the game.

• The Sox are 7-9 in potential clinching games of the World Series but have won their last two after a six-game losing streak from 1946-86.

• Fenway Park will host its 31st World Series game Wednesday. Only original Yankee Stadium (100), the Polo Grounds (44), and Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis (33) have had more.

Farrell discusses the Game 6 lineup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 10:31 PM

With a few alterations, the Red Sox will have their usual lineup together with a chance to win the World Series Wednesday night.

Right fielder Shane Victorino, who missed the last two games with a sore lower back, will be ready to start, according to manager John Farrell.

“He was available [Monday] night. There were no restrictions as far as the type of play. In other words, he wasn't restricted to defense only or at the plate only. We fully expect him to be full go tomorrow,” Farrell said Tuesday.

The Sox also will get Mike Napoli back at first base. With no designated hitter in the National League park, David Ortiz played the last three games at first base against the St. Louis Cardinals and Napoli was limited to one at-bat.

Napoli had six extra-base hits and six RBIs in his first 12 games of the postseason.

“With Mike Napoli at first it gives us some additional range. And David Ortiz did a great job at first base,” Farrell said. “Getting one of our middle-of-the-order bats back to us, we're hopeful that it really has a chance to extend the lineup even that much more.”

Farrell said he would stick with catcher David Ross for the third consecutive game. It would be the seventh start in 16 postseason games for Ross. He has displaced usual starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia at this point.

Ross is 6 for 21 in the postseason and Saltalamacchia 6 for 32.

“First of all, David has given us a spark offensively out of the position. And that's not to be disrespectful to Salty in any way,” Farrell said. “We've had to try to jump-start a couple of different positions from an offensive standpoint. And at the same time David has done a great job with running the game from a game-calling perspective. And so that's the thrust of him being back behind the plate.”

Farrell also will stay with Jonny Gomes in left field instead of Daniel Nava.

Nava was a far more productive hitter this season but the Sox are 9-1 in postseason games Gomes has started. He is hitting .154 (6 of 39) in the postseason but helped win several games, particularly Game 4 against the Cardinals with a three-run homer.

The Sox will be facing a righthander in Michael Wacha. But Farrell wants the righthanded hitting Gomes instead of Nava, who switch hits.

“You get to the point where you look at the style of the pitcher on the mound in Wacha and you look at what certain hitters in our lineup are more equipped to handle,” Farrell said. “Even though you might say, ‘Well, it's a lefthanded hitter, [Nava] should be in there.’ But I like the matchup of Gomes vs. Nava. That doesn't mean at some point in the game that Nava is not going to be involved. But that's the way we're going right now.”

Cardinals finally on their way to Boston

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 10:15 PM

The Red Sox returned to Boston after Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night. The Cardinals elected to wait until Tuesday afternoon.

That turned into Tuesday night. The Cardinals boarded their flight around 1 p.m. Central time. But mechanical issues kept the plane on the runway at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for seven hours.

The team switched planes and took off around 8 p.m. Central time for a flight that usually takes two hours and 20 minutes.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny called an MLB official at Fenway Park and conducted an interview via speakerphone.

"We've been sitting on the runway for a while but everybody seems to be doing all right," he said. "We're fortunate that our club allows our families to travel with us. We have some younger kids but I'm impressed with how everybody has handled it.

"Fortunately we have plenty of food, snacks for the kids, lots of entertainment with on-board movies, and everybody travels with all their high-tech stuff. Most of these kids are pretty happy that they're not in school right now, and it's a great way to spend a day."

Game 6 starter Michael Wacha said the delay wouldn't affect his preparations.

"I wouldn't be doing anything, really. Just going to grab something to eat and then just hanging out in my hotel room," he said.

Gold Gloves for Victorino and Pedroia

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 08:15 PM

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino and second baseman Dustin Pedroia won Gold Gloves. The announcement was made Tuesday night.

It was the fourth Gold Glove for Victorino, the first three coming as a center fielder for the Phillies. According to Fangraphs.com, Victorino led the American League with 24 defensive runs saved in right field. He also had nine assists.

It is the third Gold Glove for Pedroia. According to Fangraphs, he led all major league second basemen with 15 defensive runs saved and also led the AL with an .836 zone rating at the position.

Jacoby Ellsbury was a finalist in center field. Adam Jones of the Orioles was the winner.

Victorino, Ross and Gomes set for Game 6

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 05:29 PM

A few updates from Red Sox manager John Farrell:

• Shane Victorino is "full go" for Game 6.

• Jonny Gomes (left field) and David Ross (catcher) are starting Game 6.

• Felix Doubront will be available on Wednesday. Farrell was planning to check with Jon Lester as to his availability for a possible Game 7.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals' team plane is having mechanical issues and remains in St. Louis. Mike Matheny said via speaker phone that they've been sitting on the runway waiting for the situation to be resolved.

The Cardinals were not working out at Fenway regardless.

The calm before the storm at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 03:45 PM

Good afternoon from Fenway Park. The Red Sox will work out at 5 p.m. today after flying back from St. Louis last night.

The Cardinals did not travel until today and will not be working out.

John Lackey, the Game 6 starter, is back in the familiar spot of being able to clinch a championship for his team. Lackey started Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Angels against the Giants and was the winner.

Lackey allowed one run on four hits over five innings before Angels manager Mike Scioscia turned it over to the bullpen. Lackey was a 24-year-old rookie then.

Now Lackey is 35. Not many pitchers can go 11 years between winning deciding games of the World Series. Yankees lefthander Andy Pettitte (1998 and 2009) was the last one.

What a story it would be if Lackey accomplishes that.

Cardinals familiar with being on the brink

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 01:36 AM

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have gone from being in control of the World Series two days ago to being on the brink of elimination after taking a 3-1 loss to the Red Sox in Game 5 Monday night.

Their bats have gone cold, they can't create scoring opportunities and the few chances they've gotten the past two games, they've squandered.

Their fate now rests in the hands of Michael Wacha, a rookie pitcher who's hasn't played like one at any point this postseason. At 22 years old, Wacha already has the experience of both pitching in an elimination game (which he did in Game 4 of the NLDS with the Cardinals down 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates) and winning in Fenway Park (which he did in Game 2), but the Cardinals realize it will take more than another dominant start from Wacha.

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(Jim David / Globe Staff)

Matt Carpenter (0 for 4) said the Cards offense has to step up.


"The fact that we're facing an elimination game on the road is not going to get to him," said Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter. "Hopefully, we can come out and get the offense going for him, give him a little cushion and he can really settle in because if we can score a few runs, we feel good about our chances to win the game. We're going to have to do our part as an offense, but we've got a lot of confidence."

Wacha went six innings in Game 2, giving up two runs on just three hits with four walks and six strikeouts, attacking the Red Sox with his fastball and chasing it with his change up and he doesn't plan on changing his approach.

"Nothing really changes," Wacha said. "I've just got to go out there and make pitches and throw some effective strikes."

The biggest issues, as its been for the Cardinals all series, is what Wacha will do with David Ortiz, who is now hitting .733 after going 3 for 4 with an RBI double in Game 5.

Ortiz went 2 for 3 with a two run homer off Wacha in Game 2.

"He's a tough hitter," Wacha said. "I can't really tell you how I'm going to pitch to him."

Still, even with their backs to the wall, the Cardinals have reason to like their chances. They've been down 3-2 in the World Series six time in team history and forced a Game 7 five times. They went on to win the World Series all five times, including in 2011 when they came back to beat the Texas Rangers.

"I think it starts with a mentality that it's a great challenge," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a great opportunity for us to go in and prove the kind of team we are as far as how tough we are mentally, and I think that's where it begins. After that it comes down to execution. We've got to have Michael come out and throw a big game.

"Once again, we were in that spot backed up where we had to have a win. It's not something we haven't seen before, and the guys know what we have to do; we have to play the game. They have to lock arms, trust each other and play the game the right way. Most of it is going to be the mentality of not buying into any kind of stats, any kind of predictions, any kind of odds. And go out and play the game."

• Matt Carpenter did his best to bite his tongue after home plate umpire Bill Miller rung him up looking at a 3-and-2 cutter inside from Jon Lester.

It was a tough spot for a punchout with the a runner on second and the Cardinals looking to tie the game.

The tracking tool PITCHf/x showed it being well inside, and even though he thought it was off the plate, Carpenter didn't argue.

"I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus," he said. "I mean, I didn't swing at it because I thought it was a ball. He called it a strike, so it is what it is."

The cutter was Lester's go-to pitch most of the night. He threw 38 of them, 24 for strikes.

"He just has the ability to throw that cutter that looks like it's going to hit you and then it comes around, never goes over the plate but the guy catches it for a strike," Carpenter said. "That's just not an easy pitch to throw.

"It's a pretty unhittable pitch. All you can do is foul it off, if you can even swing at it. He has a unique ability to throw that consistently and he does the same thing to righties and it just comes around the plate and it's never in a spot where you can do much to it and he had it working. When he has that going, it's a real tough fight."

Carpenter agreed with the notion that the strike zone has been pitcher friendly -- for both sides -- throughout the series.

"I wouldn't say the zone has been bad, but I would definitely say that more often than not it's gone the pitcher's way -- from both sides. On defense we've gotten some calls that could be borderline but it's gone the pitcher's way. But pitching's dominated this postseason. That's the way it goes."

• The idea of Craig playing in Game 5 was something he had already discussed with Matheny.

"It was something that we had talked about a couple days ago," Craig said. "If I was feeling good enough, maybe I'd start on Monday against Lester. Yesterday, obviously I wasn't feeling good, but I woke up this morning feeling better than I expected so I thought that I should see it through and I felt good enough to contribute and I told Mike and that's why I was in there.

The ball didn't hesitate to find him. David Ortiz sent a liner slicing low and hard down the first-base line and all Craig could do was lay out for it in vain.

"I don't think I would've got it even if I was feeling 100 percent," Craig said. "He smoked it and it was hooking down the line."

He came in 4 for 9 in the series, but went 0 for 3, grounding into a double play in the second inning. Matheny said he will likely DH Craig in Boston.

"I'm obviously ready for whatever Mike asks me," Craig said.

• Yadier Molina went 0 for 3 with a strikeout, ending his seven-game hit streak in World Series play.

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Red Sox return home a team on the verge

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 29, 2013 01:28 AM

ST. LOUIS — The Red Sox have won the World Series seven times. But not since 1918 have they clinched the championship at Fenway Park.

That was on Sept. 11, to be exact. Lefthander Carl Mays threw a complete game in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs. Babe Ruth was a defensive replacement in left field. He had already won two games.

Now, 95 years later, the Red Sox have two chances to win one game and host the party to end all parties in Boston. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, on Monday and now lead the World Series three games to two.

The Red Sox can become the first team since the 1991 Minnesota Twins to go from last place in their division to World Series champions in the span of a year. Game 6 will be on Wednesday night.

“I can’t image what Fenway is going to be like for that game,” Shane Victorino said. “The fans are going to be amazing.”

In a rematch of aces, Lester again got the better of Adam Wainwright, giving up one run on four hits with seven strikeouts. In 15.1 innings against Lester, the Cardinals have scored one run.

“How many times can you throw the best game of your life?” teammate Ryan Dempster said.

Good question. In three career World Series starts, Lester has thrown 21 innings, allowed one run and won all three games.

“The time is now,” Lester said. “We've got to win now and that's all you can really do. That's all you can really focus on.”

Koji Uehara got the final four outs for his seventh save in this postseason. He has faced 12 batters in the Series and retired 10 of them.

“Our Mariano Rivera,” pitching coach Juan Nieves said.

David Ortiz was 3 for 4 with an RBI double. He is 11 of 15 in the Series with six runs batted in and four extra-base hits. Ortiz has reached base in 14 of 19 plate appearances.

“I was born for this,” Ortiz said, smiling.

Lester was holding his oldest son, Hudson, when he spoke to reporters in the interview room after the game. When Ortiz took the chair next to him, Hudson reached out to hug him.

“I haven't played with many superstars but this guy right here is the epitome of a superstar and a good teammate,” Lester said. “I don't think you could ever ask for more out of an individual than what he does on and off the field. The guy's got a heart of gold. And he goes out there every single night and competes.”

David Ross, an aging backup catcher who missed two months with a concussion so severe that he was sent home to recover, drove in the winning run with a double in the seventh inning.

Ross was so excited afterward that he stayed in the interview room for 15 minutes, enjoying his moment in the spotlight. When Lester showed up, Ross asked MLB vice president Phyllis Merhige if he could stay and watch.

"It definitely hasn't sunk in. There's no way to get too excited, because you know we still have a lot of work to do. I won't let myself get too excited, because we have a really good team that we still have to beat one more game," Ross said.

"The signature moment, I think that's what everybody lives for. But I''m just in awe of being in the World Series, really. That's as signature as it gets. I'm on the podium, again, talking to you guys, with the whole World Series thing behind me, right? That's when you see people on TV. I'm stoked."

A few notes:

• Ortiz is 20 of 42 (.476) in World Series play, the highest average among players with at least 50 plate appearances. Ortiz has 14 RBIs in the Series, the most among active players.

• Lester is 6-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 13 postseason appearances, 11 starts. The six wins are tied with Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez for the most in team history. He is the first pitcher to throw at least 7.2 innings in consecutive World Series starts in the same season since Greg Maddux of the Braves in 1996.

Lester also has four wins in this postseason, matching the team record first set by Josh Beckett in 2007. Lester went 16.2 innings in the World Series before giving up a run. Only Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson had a longer streak to start his career.

• MLB is a major supporter of the Stand Up To Cancer program. Part of the effort encourages people to hold signs with the name of a person they know who was affected by cancer.

On the door of their clubhouse, the Red Sox had a placard saying they stood up for Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLB Players Association. Weiner is battling an inoperable brain tumor and is in the thoughts of every player.

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Final: Red Sox 3, Cardinals 1

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 11:30 PM

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ST. LOUIS -- The Red Sox are one win from their third World Series championship in a decade.

Jon Lester pitched 7.2 brilliant innings of one-run baseball, David Ortiz had three hits, and David Ross doubled in the go-ahead run in a two-run seventh inning as the Red Sox took Game 5 of the World Series by a 3-1 score.

Koji Uehara relieved Lester in the eighth and recorded the final four outs for the save.

The Red Sox won two of three games at Busch Stadium and return home Wednesday with a chance to complete their remarkable worst-to-first season with a victory in Game 6.

Lester improved to 2-0 in the World Series, outdueling Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, whom he also beat in Game 1. He has pitched 15.1 innings in the Series, allowing just one run, Matt Holliday's home run in the fourth inning Monday that tied the score at 1-1.

The Red Sox jumped to the lead in the first when Dustin Pedroia, moved to the No. 2 spot in the lineup, doubled to left, and Ortiz singled him home. After his three-hit performance, Ortiz is now batting .733 in the World Series.

The Red Sox took the lead against Wainwright in the seventh. Xander Bogaerts hit a one-out single, and Stephen Drew followed with a walk. Ross then roped a double to right field, scoring Bogaerts.

Lester grounded back to Wainwright for the second out as Drew held at third, but Jacoby Ellsbury, who came to the plate hitting .158 in the series, singled to center, scoring Drew. Ross was thrown out at the plate, but the Red Sox had a lead they would not relinquish.

FULL ENTRY

Doubront flourishing in a new role

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 07:42 PM

ST. LOUIS — Red Sox lefthander Felix Doubront was reluctant to pitch out of the bullpen in late September, saying he was better suited to start. But several conversations with manager John Farrell changed his mind. That and knowing that the alternative was not being on the postseason roster at all.

Doubront adapted well. In four postseason appearances, he has allowed one run on three hits over seven innings. He was the winning pitcher in Game 4 on Sunday, allowing one run over 2 2/3 innings despite pitching on consecutive days for the first time since 2011.

"He changed his mind, didn't he?" Farrell said. "Gosh, he's been efficient. He's been throwing a lot of strikes. What stands out in the environment [on Saturday and Sunday] is just the poise and the comfort in which he has attacked the strike zone. It's been something that we desperately needed."

Also:

• John Lackey threw only 17 pitches in his inning of relief on Sunday and remains on track to start Game 6 on Wednesday at Fenway Park.

Jake Peavy has allowed 10 earned runs over 12.2 innings in three postseasons. But he remains in line to start a possible Game 7. "Everything points to that right now," Farrell said.

Peavy is available in the bullpen tonight.

• Farrell on Craig Breslow: "A little bit tentative. I wouldn't say it's tentative because of a physical thing. He hasn't really settled in against this lineup. Lack of familiarity, where he's got that against every other American League team that he's faced."

• Clay Buchholz volunteered to pitch in relief in Game 6 if needed. The sore-armed righthander pitched four innings on Sunday, allowing one unearned run.

"He's getting ready for the next possible opportunity. By no means has he shut anything down," Farrell said.

• The Red Sox have made seven errors in the series and allowed three unearned runs. The Cardinals also have been sloppy.

"There's been self-induced errors. There's been outfield grass, the ball jumps up on a guy. There's been some miscues," Farrell said. "You can't point to youth being a reason because it's been spread across the board. You have two teams that are going at it to the maximum abilities. I wish I could tell you it was just like a June game. It's not."

Victorino available for Red Sox off the bench

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 07:26 PM

ST. LOUIS — Shane Victorino is available to come off the bench for the Red Sox tonight and manager John Farrell is optimistic his right fielder will be able to start Game 6.

Victorino's season-long issues with his lower back flared up again on Sunday and he did not play in Game 4.

Victorino was willing to start, but the Sox didn't want to take a chance.

"He's available off the bench. But didn't want to get into a situation, not knowing how long he can go, that we'd end up losing a player. So we can use him a little bit more at our discretion in this role," Farrell said.

"Pressed into it, probably [could] start him. But with some uncertainly there on the duration, don't want to end up losing out on him and using somebody else who might have to pick him up."

Victorino has responded well to treatment and could return to the lineup on Wednesday.

"Very good," Farrell said when asked how he felt about Victorino starting Game 6.

Allen Craig a late addition to Cardinals starting lineup

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 06:31 PM

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The Cardinals made a last-minute change to insert Allen Craig into the starting lineup. (Rob Carr / Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS -- Despite being cautious about over-extending slugger Allen Craig just seven weeks after he went down with a foot injury, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny made a late change to his Game 5 starting lineup, putting Craig at first base and hitting him in the sixth spot.

After suffering a Lisfranc injury in September, Craig set his sights on a World Series return and was able to contribute as a designated hitter the first two games and then play a pivotal role as a pinch hitter when the series swung to St. Louis, scoring the winning run in Game 3 on a controversial obstruction call.

Matheny said he wanted to be careful not to ask Craig to do too much too soon, but with a .444 batting average (4 for 9) in the series, Craig has been the Cardinals best hitter in the series even though he hasn't been at full strength.

Craig had been taking ground balls the past few days. Still, Matheny was leery of using him in the field. He got more reps in today, Matheny said.

"He was actually going to get a little bit more work today," Matheny said. "We ended up kind of holding back on him, making sure he's going to be ready to DH those games. But, yeah, he felt better yesterday, much better than what he thought he was going to feel, and even better today. So that's continued to move forward."

With the Cardinals hitting .234 as a team, Matheny shuffled his lineup looking to find ways to get runners on base for his best hitters. Carlos Beltran was moved from the two-hole to the cleanup spot and Shane Robinson will start in center field and hit second.

Carlos Beltran moved to the cleanup spot

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 05:13 PM

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USA Today Sports

Of Carlos Beltran's 14 plate appearances in the World Series, only three have come with runners in scoring position.

ST. LOUIS -- Looking for ways to put runners on base for the bigger bats in his lineup to drive in, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny shuffled his lineup around. In the most significant switch, he moved Carlos Beltran from the two hole to the clean up spot.

Shane Robinson will replace Jon Jay in centerfield and hit second. Matt Adams was dropped from the cleanup spot to sixth.

"We're trying to do some things in our lineup," Matheny said. "We take everything into consideration and realize that trying to get some more depth. Also trying to get more traffic for the guys that can drive in runs."

Run production from the cleanup spot has been an issue for the Cardinals with Matt Adams going 3 for 17 with no RBIs and a double as his only base hit.

Beltran is hitting .273 in the series with two RBIs and two walks. Of his 14 plate appearances so far, only three have come with runners in scoring position.

In the regular season, Beltran had 84 at-bats in cleanup duty, hitting .226 with 13 RBIs.

Down two with two outs in the ninth inning last night, Beltran had the bat taken out of his hands when pinch runner Kolten Wong was picked off at first to end the game and seal the win for the Red Sox.

Robinson is 2 for 5 in the series and 5 for 13 in the postseason overall. He pinch hit for Lance Lynn in the seventh inning last night, lacing a double and then scoring on a Matt Carpenter single.

"Shane has been doing a nice job taking good at bats," Matheny said. "Gives him an opportunity with Carp to really set the table and lengthen out our lineup through the middle."

Other Cardinals notes:

• The only certainty going forward in terms of the Cardinals pitching rotation is that Michael Wacha will start Game 6.

After that, the statuses of Game 3 starter Joe Kelly and Game 4 starter Lance Lynn is up in the air, Matheny said

"We'll have to see how Joe and how Lance respond, how they feel before we can make any kind of comment about where they'll be used," Matheny said.

• Getting picked off and costing his team a chance to possibly come back last night weighed on Wong so heavily that he tweeted an apology to Cardinals fans after the game.

While he acknowledged how bad of a mistake it was, Matheny said teammates were there to support Wong afterward.

"Fortunately we have a good group of guys around here," Matheny said. "We've talked about how they've helped these guys and prepared them. They've also helped him through troubles because they've been there. Maybe not getting picked off to end a game in the World Series, but they've had their issues that we've all had, decisions that we've made that didn't necessarily work out. And you figure out how to get through it.

"But there's nothing wrong with sitting on it for a while, too, and that's what he was doing last night. I think that's healthy. You realize and you go back through your mind and you figure out what happened and what you'd like to have done differently, and then you learn from it and you move on, and by the time you get to the park today, you put it in the archives and you move forward. That's where Kolten is today. He had the veterans talking to him and encouraging him and giving him their own stories of things that they learned from."

• Limited to pinch-hitting the past two games, Allen Craig will be available to DH when the series swings back to Boston.

Matheny said that physically, Craig is doing better than they expected after scoring the chaotic, winning run on an obstruction call in Game 3. He's led all Cardinals hitters with a .444 average (4 for 9) in the series.

"He was actually going to get a little bit more work today," Matheny said. "We ended up kind of holding back on him, making sure he's going to be ready to DH those games. But, yeah, he felt better yesterday, much better than what he thought he was going to feel, and even better today. So that's continued to move forward."

• Matheny was asked, jokingly, how big the fine would be for throwing a strike to David Ortiz. He said, "No fine process in place, but obviously we're talking about a very hot hitter, who is a good hitter. And he's making it tough for us to figure out how to get him out, that's for sure."

World Series Game 5 chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 04:26 PM

Game 5 is going to have a tough time topping the bizarre endings of Games 3 and 4, but as we've learned in this evenly matched World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals, anything can happen. Jon Lester takes the mound for the Red Sox, while Adam Wainwright gets the ball for the Cardinals in a rematch of Game 1, an 8-1 Boston win. Stop by here at 7 p.m. to talk it all through during the pregame with Chad Finn. Check in below to join the fun.

 

Victorino out again ... and other pregame notes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 04:21 PM

ST. LOUIS — Shane Victorino (lower back) is out of the Red Sox lineup for a second straight game.

John Farrell juggled the lineup as a result, moving Dustin Pedroia to second and David Ortiz to third. Ortiz hit third 14 times this season and Pedroia was second most of his career, so it's not a radical change.

Jonny Gomes is batting cleanup for the fourth time this season.

No word yet on the extent of Victorino's availability. But for him to be out again, it must be pretty bad. He has a high threshold for pain tolerance.

Also:

• Harry Connick Jr. will perform the national anthem. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith will throw out the first pitch.

• The Cardinals worked out Allen Craig at first base for about five minutes this afternoon and decided not to put him in the lineup. He was moving very slowly on that broken foot. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said Craig should be able to DH in Game 6.

• The Red Sox have struck out 142 times in the postseason, tying the 2010 San Francisco Giants for the most in a single postseason. The Giants did it in 15 games, the Sox 14. The good news? The Giants won the Series that season.

World Series Game 5: Red Sox at Cardinals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 04:02 PM

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Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:
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RED SOX (2-2, 97-65 regular season)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Daniel Nava RF
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Stephen Drew SS
David Ross C
Jon Lester LHP (3-1, 1.67 in postseason; 15-8, 3.75 in regular season).

CARDINALS (2-2, 97-65 regular season)
Matt Carpenter 2B
Shane Robinson CF
Matt Holliday LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Yadier Molina C
Matt Adams 1B
David Freese 3B
Pete Kozma SS
RHP Adam Wainwright (2-2, 2.25 postseason; 19-9, 2.94 regular season).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Wainwright: Victorino 5-25, Drew 3-21, Gomes 2-13, Ross 3-13, Carp 0-3, Ellsbury 0-2, Napoli 1-3, Ortiz 1-2, Pedroia 2-3, Bogaerts 0-2.

Cardinals vs. Lester: Holliday 3-9, Molina, Beltran 1-2, Carpenter 1-4, Adams 0-3, Freese 0-3, Kozma 0-3, Robinson 1-3, Jay 0-1.

Stat of the Day: Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have made 23 appearances in the postseason. Their line: 18.1 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 19 K.

Key matchup: Red Sox pitchers against Allen Craig. For a guy who can rarely because of a broken foot, Craig sure can hit. He is 4 for 9 in the series with a double.

Notes: The series is tied 2-2 and returns to Fenway Park on Wednesday. ... It's a rematch of Game 1 on the mound and Lester was much better than Wainwright that day. Lester threw 7.2 shutout innings, giving up five hits. He walked one and struck out eight. Wainwright, undone by shoddy defense, allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits over five innings. ... Lester is 3-1, 1.67 in this season and has a career ERA of 2.22 in 12 career postseason appearances. ... Wainwright has a 2.37 ERA in 17 career postseason games. ... Counting the postseason, Lester is 0 for 33 at the plate in his career. ... The Sox have won five postseason games coming from behind. ... Ortiz is 8 of 11 in the Series with two homers and five RBIs. He has scored five runs, too. ... The Sox have committed seven errors in the Series that led to three unearned runs. They committed three errors in their first 10 postseason games. ... The Sox were 2-2 in the World Series in 1946, 1975 and 1986. They lost all of those Series in seven games. ... The Sox are 5 for 24 with runners in scoring position in the Series and 11 of 63 (.175) in the last eight games. That usually turns at some point. Can it turn in three games? ... The Red Sox are hitting .189 (24 of 127) in the Series with a .571 OPS. But their pitchers have a 2.27 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

Song of the Day: "Wild, Wild Life" by Talking Heads.

Their kingdom for a lefty?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 12:53 PM
Craig Breslow has had trouble getting outs in the World Series.
(Matthew J. Lee / Globe Staff)

ST. LOUIS — The Red Sox have a problem in their bullpen. They may not have a lefty they can trust at the moment.

Craig Breslow, so good in the Division Series and ALCS, is in a slump. Here's his line in three World Series appearances: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP. Breslow has faced seven batters in the Series and six of them have reached base.

Of his 26 pitches, only 11 have been strikes. Breslow looks like a guy who needs a few days off.

Franklin Morales has not pitched since Oct. 19 in Game 6 of the ALCS. He faced two batters, put both of them on base and hasn't been seen since. Putting him in a high-leverage situation at this point would be inviting disaster.

The Red Sox have converted starter Felix Doubront in the bullpen, but he has pitched the last two nights and thrown 57 pitches over 4.2 innings. Doubront should be ready for Game 6.

The Cardinals have some dangerous lefty hitters in Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams and to a lesser extent, John Jay. Adams in particular is susceptible to lefthanded pitching.

Switch hitter Carlos Beltran has been productive against lefties this season (a .729 OPS as opposed to an .871 against righthanders), a change from his career marks.

The Red Sox trust Junichi Tazawa against lefties. But going into tonight's Game 5, manager John Farrell needs Jon Lester to work deep into the game and make piecing the puzzle together easier. The options at this point are dwindling.

World Series Today: Boston bursting with Red Sox Pride

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 28, 2013 08:36 AM



One of the best things about any Boston team's championship run is the way fans express their allegiance.

sox_runner.jpgWhether it is photos or original creations like videos, songs and poems, the lengths people will go in support of the Red Sox never ceases to amaze.

We have two we'd like to feature for you today. In the photo at right, Kerry Crisley of Wakefield re-created the now famous moment of bullpen cop Steve Horgan celebrating as Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter plunged over the fence chasing a David Ortiz home run ball. Crisley wore the costume at Saturday's Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint 5K.

"I had a lot of people taking my picture that day. They understood the reference right away, and I received a lot of great comments from fellow runners and spectators. One runner told me that the legs in the air acted as her pace-setter ... so funny and helpful," Crisley said.

The video above was sent to us by Robert Woo, and takes a page from the "Tales from the Crypt" show. Local comedian Dana Jay Bein is the actor, and Woo filmed it.

"We were inspired to do it after realizing Dana could do a pretty great Cryptkeeper impression a couple weeks ago and I thought it would be fun to order a mask and film as many puns as possible (as the Cryptkeeper is won't to do) in the Fenway area, since we're both Red Sox fans," Woo wrote in an email.

We can only imagine what it'll be like at Fenway Park if there is a Game 7 on Thursday, which happens to be Halloween.

Today's details:

Game 5 game time: 8:07 p.m.

Weather: Temps in the 50s, no rain in forecast, according to Weather Channel.

Live coverage on Boston.com:
-- We'll have a live pregame show at 5 p.m. from Busch Stadium.

-- Chad Finn hosts a chat session at 7 p.m.

-- Live updates begin around 6 p.m. Steve Silva is the host.

Worthwhile links:
-- Boston.com's Steve Silva shot two videos Sunday that give you a taste of what it's like at Busch Stadium: Check out The Scene in St. Louis to hear Red Sox fans talk about the disputed Game 3 call, and the Budweiser Clydesdales trotting around the field before the game.

-- Chad Finn writes that David Ortiz's impact on the Red Sox is evident both on and off the field.

-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz says the Cardinals deserved to lose Game 4 and the game-ending pickoff play was a fitting conclusion.

-- On BostonGlobe.com, Peter Abraham has the full report on Game 4, Dan Shaughnessy writes the Red Sox have proven they're not going down easily, and Nick Cafardo assesses the performance of starting pitcher Clay Buchholz.

Follow the leader: Red Sox win Game 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 01:42 AM

ST. LOUIS — David Ortiz has a variety of nicknames. There's Big Papi, of course. Then a few years ago Dustin Pedroia started calling him "Pun." That is short for Big Punisher.

Now many of the Sox call Ortiz "Cooperstown." That has been going on for several weeks now and as the games get bigger, it just might stick.

It was Jonny Gomes who won Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday, his three-run homer in the sixth inning delivering the Sox to a 4-2 victory against the Cardinals. But afterward, all of the Sox were talking about Ortiz and his Winston Churchill moment in the dugout after the fifth inning.

It was 1-1 at that point and the Red Sox had two hits off Lance Lynn. Ortiz gathered his teammates at one end of the dugout. He didn't like some of the expressions he saw.

"I've been in this situation before. I know we have a better offensive team than what we have showed," Ortiz said. "You put pressure on yourself and try to overdo things and it doesn't work that way. We know the Cardinals have a very good pitching staff but we have faced good pitching before."

Baseball teams don't do this sort of thing often, huddling like a bunch of high school kids. But Ortiz felt compelled.

"Like I told my teammates, if you think you're going to come to the World Series every year, you're wrong. Especially playing in the AL East," Ortiz said. "You know how many people we beat to get to this level, this stage? A lot of good teams. A lot of good teams. It took me five years to get back on this stage. We've had better teams than we have right now and we never made it. So take advantage of being here.

"I don't have another 10 years in me. I don't know when I'm going to be in the World Series. I have to give everything I have right now."

Ortiz's words registered with the rest of the Red Sox.

“Inspirational,” David Ross said. “He talked and we listened.”

Said Gomes: “It was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher. He got everyone’s attention.”

Manager John Farrell and the coaching staff just watched, appreciating the moment.

"It was meaningful," Farrell said. "He's one of the guys that people look up to. Our guys look up to him. Kind of a timely conversation he had with everybody."

Words translated into deeds. Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs in the sixth inning. Then the Cardinals pitched around Ortiz, walking him. The Cardinals pulled starter Lance Lynn and called in Seth Maness to face Gomes.

His 2-and-2 pitch was a sinker that stayed up in the strike zone and Gomes launched it into the Red Sox bullpen in left field for his first career postseason home run.

Gomes was 1 for his last 18 before the home run and had not driven in a run in the postseason since Game 1 of the Division Series. But when needed, as was often the case during the season, Gomes delivered.

“The one thing I’ve always wanted out of this game was the opportunity, whether that was a uniform, whether it was a pinch hit, whether that was to get a start,” Gomes said. “So I got that opportunity tonight and the one thing you can guarantee is when I’m in the lineup, I’m going to be swinging.”

Five relievers combined on the final 12 outs.

Felix Doubront, the winner in relief of Clay Buchholz, worked into the seventh inning. Junichi Tazawa got a huge out in that inning, leaving two runners stranded.

Game 2 starter John Lackey, making his first relief appearance since 2004, worked around an error in the eighth inning and walked off the mound pounding his fist into his glove after stranding a runner at third.

From there, Koji Uehara closed the Cardinals out for his sixth save of the postseason.

Uehara allowed a one-out single by pinch hitter Allen Craig. With two outs, Uehara picked off pinch runner Kolten Wong with the dangerous Carlos Beltran at the plate.

There was no signal from Ross or the bench. Uehara just decided to try it.

“I did it on my own,” he said through an interpreter. “I wasn’t looking at first base at all. I just threw it.”

Perhaps something on the scouting report tipped Uehara off?

“I don’t read the scouting reports,” Uehara said with a laugh.

Game 3 ended on an obstruction call that gave the Cardinals a run. This time it was a pickoff.

“That was awesome. It was kind of like last night,” Ross said. “I bet they’re dumfounded like, ‘What just happened?’ ”

Also:

• Ortiz is 8 for 11 in the series with four walks, two home runs and five RBIs. In 12 career World Series games, Ortiz is 17 of 39 (.436) with eight extra-base hits, 13 RBIs. 12 runs, 10 walks and only four strikeouts.

• Lackey threw 17 pitches on what would have been his usual day to throw in the bullpen. He said he would be fine to stat Game 6 at Fenway on Wednesday. It was the first relief appearance for Lackey since 2004.

"I [pitched in relief] in the Series in 2002. I was just a kid," Lackey said. "I'm really enjoying this now."

• More Ortiz: A guy who could barely jog in spring training tagged up and scored on a fly ball to medium left field in the fifth inning. Third base coach Brian Butterfield rolled his eyes when asked how he felt about sending Ortiz.

"He made it," Butterfield said.

• Gomes, a student of baseball history, donated his bat and batting gloves to the Hall of Game.

• It was only four innings and 66 pitches. But Clay Buchholz allowed only one unearned run despite hitting 90 mph only seven times. It was all guile.

"He gave us everything he could," Farrell said.

• Doubront was pitched on consecutive days for the first time since Sept. 19-20, 2011. He threw two scoreless innings on Saturday, allowing one hit. Then Sunday he allowed one run over 2.2 innings. Over the course of the two games, he threw 57 pitches.

Doubront was a starter all season and reluctantly went to the bullpen for the postseason. But he delivered crucial innings.

“I want to be part of the team to win the game. I was relaxed and doing my job,” Doubront said.

Wong gets caught slipping at first

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 28, 2013 01:40 AM

ST. LOUIS -- The situation was playing out as well as the Cardinals could have asked for.

A day after scoring the chaotic and gutsy winning run in Game 3, Allen Craig was again at the plate to pinch hit, and his one-out 370-foot single off Koji Uehara gave the Cardinals life down two runs in the ninth.

There was no way Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was going to ask him to run the bases again.

Instead, he sent infielder Kolten Wong to pinch run for him.

A Matt Carpenter fly ball made it two outs, but with Carlos Beltran at the plate and Matt Holliday on deck, the Cardinals still liked their chances.

Beltran saw two pitches, and before he could even swing the game was over.

Uehara hadn't picked a runner off all year. He had only done it twice in his career. But he caught Wong slipping -- literally.

"Once I went to plant and go back, my back foot just gave out and I ended up falling short," Wong said.

After watching their pinch runner get picked off, the Cardinals had to swallow a 4-2 loss with the bat still in one of their best hitter's hands.

Wong was told to stay alert, Matheny said.

"He knew," Matheny said. "We had meetings early on. We go over all these guys. We talk very clearly about a very good pickoff move. He was reminded once he got on base, and also reminded that run didn't mean much, be careful, shorten up. And he got a little extra, then he slipped and the slip cost him."

It wasn't a matter of dozing off at the wheel, Wong said. He was just trying to get a head start if Beltran got a hold of one.

"I'm aware of what's going on," Wong said. "Just got a little too far off and my back foot slipped out. Just being ready to go first to third if Carlos drive me in, but I just got too far off and he made a good throw."

Wong had been successful on all three of his stolen base attempts this season and had never been picked off before.

Red Sox base-running specialist Quentin Berry, who swiped his fourth bag of the postseason (making him 29 for 29 for his career in the regular season and the playoffs), empathized.

"With those two dudes who were coming up, you definitely don’t want to get picked off right there," Berry said. "I feel for him. I understand that’s not what he’s trying to do. I know people are going to point their fingers. It’s just a mistake. I’m glad it happened, but I feel for him because I lot of people are looking at him right now.’’

Wong tweeted an apology after the game.

Final: Red Sox 4, Cardinals 2

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 09:05 PM

ST. LOUIS — Two World Series games have been played at Busch Stadium this October, and both have had crazy endings. But unlike Game 3, when the Cardinals scored the winning run on an obstruction call, this one went the Red Sox' way.

Koji Uehara picked off pinch runner Kolten Wong for the final out with postseason great Carlos Beltran at the plate, and the Red Sox evened the World Series at 2-2 with a 4-2 victory Sunday night.

Jonny Gomes, in the lineup only because right fielder Shane Victorino was scratched with back pain a little more than an hour before game time, hit a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning off reliever Seth Maness to put the Red Sox ahead for good.

David Ortiz had three hits and reached base in every plate appearance while scoring the Sox' first run on Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly in the fifth.

That tied the score at 1-1. The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on Beltran's RBI single.

Gomes delivered the big blow, but the Red Sox received essential contributions from all over the roster. Clay Buchholz, clearly lacking his best stuff and usual velocity, allowed one run in four determined innings.

Felix Doubront pitched 2.2 essential innings of scoreless relief. Junichi Tazawa retired Matt Holliday in a huge spot, and John Lackey, making his first relief appearance since 2004, pitched a scoreless eighth.

Middle of the ninth, Red Sox 4, Cardinals 2: The Sox go in order in the top half with a Stephen Drew fly out, David Ross lined to left, and Mike Napoli, in his first at-bat in St. Louis, struck out looking. On to the bottom of the ninth and Koji time.

End of the eighth, Red Sox 4, Cardinals 2: John Lackey gives the Red Sox a huge inning of relief, leaving Yadier Molina stranded at third and keeping the lead at two runs.

Molina reached with one out when Xander Bogaerts made a terrific diving stop at third, but threw wildly past Mike Napoli at first. He had plenty of time to set himself and make a more accurate throw, and Napoli probably should have come off first base to make sure he caught the ball.

Molina moved to second on the errant throw, then advanced to third with one out on a passed ball by David Ross. But Lackey got Jon Jay to pop to short, then retired David Freese on a grounder to Drew.

The Red Sox left a couple of runners stranded in their half despite some machinations by Farrell with two outs

After David Ortiz singled for his third hit of the night, Quintin Berry came on to pinch run, eventually stealing second. Jonny Gomes walked against new reliever John Axford, but Xander Bogaerts struck out looking at a 3-2 curveball to end the half-inning.

John Lackey is coming on for the Red Sox.

FULL ENTRY

Victorino scratched from lineup; Gomes in

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 07:05 PM

ST. LOUIS — Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino was scratched from the lineup because of lower back tightness.

"He felt it stiffen up last night. We tried to get him through it today but it's not happening," manager John Farrell said. "It's similar to what he had during the season at times."

Farrell said the Sox are hopeful Victorino could return in time for Game 5. His status as a reserve for tonight is uncertain.

The new lineup:

Ellsbury CF
Nava RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz 1B
Gomes LF
Bogaerts 3B
Drew SS
Ross C
Buchholz RHP

Cardinals still processing chaotic win

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 04:56 PM

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ST. LOUIS – A day later, the Cardinals were still trying to wrap their heads around the chaotic final moments of their World Series Game 3 win over the Red Sox.

"I think our fans didn't even know what to do," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "We were wanting to celebrate, but we see a guy laying there and it's all confusing. And we see the umpires come together, and that didn't work out real good for us last time.

"We're all kind of cautiously celebrating, and then we get inside and actually we got inside the clubhouse, and it was still kind of that somber mood. And Chris Carpenter yelled out real loud, "Hey, boys, we just won a World Series game." So that changed it a little bit."

The obstruction call that gave Allen Craig the deciding run in the Cardinals 5-4 win was confusing on all sides.

From the dugout, the Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright was trying to put things together piece-meal.

One minute, Dustin Pedroia was making a ridiculous diving play on a Jon Jay ground ball and gunning down Yadier Molina at the plate. The next, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was firing a wild throw that missed Will Middlebrooks and bounced into foul territory on the third base side.

After getting tangled up at third, Craig was crawling over Middlebrooks to try to get to the plate. Daniel Nava came up with the ball and fired it to the plate.

"The funny thing was I didn't see him throw it away," Wainwright said. "I saw Pedroia make the great play, throw it home and got Yadier out, and I thought that was the end of it, so I turned my back. All of a sudden people started running out on the field, and so – I didn't know what happened, but I was running out on the field, too.

"I got about halfway out there and saw Craig out by a couple of feet, and started tiptoeing backward back into the dugout, and they called him safe, and I thought, 'Wow, I think I've just witnessed the worst call in the history of the game at home plate, only to find out there was obstruction. So there were four or five times I didn't know what the heck was going on."

The Red Sox were dazed and Wainwright said he completely understood.

"As a baseball fan, you hate to see a game end like that," Wainwright said. "Obviously I'm on the Cardinals, so I'm fortunate the rule is the way it is. And you hate to say it, but he impeded the process of running home. But I totally understand why Red Sox players would be upset about that. That is just a horrible way to lose a baseball game, no question about it, especially after such a great play by Dustin at second."

Craig had X-rays and is still sore, but he will be available again to pinch-hit.

"We're going to wait and see how he feels when he gets out here," Matheny said. "He's been working with the doctors to try to get everything loose again. The defensive work is really kind of secondary to have him available to come in and do what he did last night. Yesterday he looked very good going home to second. He ran extremely well, as good as we've seen him. Didn't think that we were going to do much more running, but that changed quickly."

More Cardinals notes:

• After giving up five runs (three earned) in as many innings in Game 1, Wainwright described his stuff as "garbage."

But when he takes the mound Monday for Game 5, it's possible that the Cardinals could have a chance to clinch the series and it's an opportunity he's looking forward to.

"I would love for that situation to happen," he said. "I would love to be able to go out there and pitch in a potentially clinching game. Nothing would make me more happy. But I know we have a tough game tonight ahead."

The five runs were the second-most he's allowed in 17 playoff appearances going back to 2006, but he's putting it behind him.

"It's a pretty clean slate," Wainwright said. "I honestly don't know why my mechanics were as bad as they were, my delivery was off as much as it was. But I feel like I've put a lot of good reps in in front of the mirror, and watching film and feeling my delivery again, learning the basics all over again.

"I feel like I've made a lot of good adjustments to be ready for this next game to throw some quality pitches. I threw maybe four or five quality pitches the whole time I was pitching. Luckily to come away with just a few runs; it could have been ten instead of five."

• Matheny tinkered slightly with the lineup, hitting Jon Jay sixth, David Freese seventh and Daniel Descalso eighth. The trio is a combined 3 for 22 with five strikeouts.

Regrets? Farrell had a few from Game 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 04:45 PM

ST. LOUIS — John Farrell regretted the lineup mismanagement that resulted in rookie pitcher Brandon Workman batting in the ninth inning of a 4-4 game. Workman struck out.

Farrell admitted he should have double switched in the seventh inning and hit Workman seventh in the order in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who made the final out of that inning. That would have put backup catcher David Ross into the lineup.

“The move, the double switch, was the one that was missed,” Farrell said.

But Farrell also jabbed at his critics.

“What I find unknowing is if any other position player is in that spot, is it a guarantee of a home run, which some people think is a given?” he said.

After Workman hit, he faced only two batters in the ninth before Koji Uehara came in

“I was looking at getting three innings combined out of Workman and Koji. In a tie game, even on the road, I’m not reluctant to use the closer obviously. Felt like those were our best two relievers,” Farrell said. “I wasn’t going to pinch hit because there was still a need to get three innings out of [Workman and Uehara].”

The complexities of the game had Farrell rethinking everything that happened.

"I didn't sleep worth a damn last night," he said.

Also:

• Farrell said all of his relievers were available in the bullpen along with Gam 2 starter John Lackey for an inning if needed.

• Jon Lester is 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four postseason starts. He will be back on the mound for Game 5 on Sunday night. Lester threw 7.2 scoreless innings in Game 1.

Lester’s gem was somewhat overshadowed by accusations from a St. Louis minor leaguer, Tyler Melling, that he was doctoring the ball with a substance in his glove. Lester admitted to using rosin on his hands because he sweats so much.

Major League Baseball found no violation and the Cardinals were quick to say the same. Lester says it’s forgotten as far as he is concerned.

If anything, he got a kick out of people discussing how much he sweats.

“I think we've covered that pretty well over the past couple of days. I've gotten a lot of crap from my friends and my wife on that one,” he said.

“But I'm sure there's going to be focus on my glove and focus on my hands and what I'm doing, but I've got to worry about the Cardinals. If I'm worried about what people are looking at, I'm worried about the wrong things. I'm going to go out and pitch my game.”

Lester has a 2.22 ERA in 12 career postseason games.

• The Red Sox had first baseman Mike Napoli take grounders at third base on Saturday and Sunday. But Farrell said that Napoli would play third only in the event of a double switch late in a game.

• Hall of Famer Bob Gibson threw out the first pitch and Rascal Flatts, a country group, performed the national anthem.

• Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt were named the Hank Aaron Award winners for being the top offensive performers in each league. Cabrera was at Busch Stadium to accept the award. Goldschmidt was traveling to Australia on a promotional trip for baseball.

Farrell wants obstruction rule clarified

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 04:30 PM

ST. LOUIS — Red Sox manager John Farrell, after reviewing last night's obstruction call, agrees that the umpires got it right. But he would like to see the rule changed to reflect the intent of the fielder.

In the play that decided Saturday's game, third baseman Will Middlebrooks had nowhere to go after he sprawled on the dirt trying to catch the throw from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Middlebrooks was not trying to obstruct Allen Craig.

"The call was accurate. The type-B portion of the rule, there needs to have some area in that for intent," Farrell said. "In that play, there's no way Will can get out of the way. It's more the rule that I have some issue with, not the call itself. They made the call as the rule suggests and calls for. But to say there can 't be some room for intent there? Will wasn't trying to hold the guy down.

"Not just because we lost a World Series game based on the call, but I think if you look at it, it gives the opportunity for the base runner to be the aggressor and take advantage of it."

Farrell would like obstruction to become a judgment call for the umpires.

"You'd like to think that in situations like this, where a guy falls down going for a ball, he's not trying to hold the runner down," Farrell said.

Commissioner Bud Selig said Sunday that he thought the umpires handled the ball correctly and that the Red Sox registered no complaint.

"If we have issues, it's something that will be discussed during the offseason," Selig said.

Here is Rule 7.06:

(a) When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal 'Obstruction.'

If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls 'Time,' with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.

(b) If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call 'Time' and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction.

"Rule 7.06(b) Comment: Under 7.06(b) when the ball is not dead on obstruction and an obstructed runner advances beyond the base which, in the umpire’s judgment, he would have been awarded because of being obstructed, he does so at his own peril and may be tagged out. This is a judgment call.

Farrell said that the Red Sox have moved on from the call and would be able to focus on Game 4.

"One that first pitch is thrown tonight we're all about what we have to do inside the game," Farrell said. "We can stew on it. But I'm sure a number of guys have already put it behind them. We can't go back."

World Series Game 4 chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 04:23 PM

The obstruction call that ended Game 3 is the hot topic, but there's plenty more to discuss in this fascinating (and currently for the Red Sox, frustrating) World Series. Why was Brandon Workman allowed to bat in the ninth with Mike Napoli available? Will Stephen Drew return to the lineup? Can Clay Buchholz come through in Game 4? Chad Finn of Boston.com and the Globe will moderate our chat of all of this and more right here at 7 p.m. Check in below to join.

 

World Series Game 4: Red Sox at Cardinals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 04:00 PM

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Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:
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RED SOX (1-2, 97-65 regular season)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz 1B
Daniel Nava LF
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Stephen Drew SS
David Ross C
Clay Buchholz RHP (0-0, 5.40 postseason; 12-1, 1.74 regular season).

CARDINALS (2-1, 97-65 regular season)
Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
John Jay CF
David Freese 3B
David Descalso SS
Lance Lynn RHP (2-1, 5.40 postseason; 15-10, 3.97 regular season).

Game time: 8:15 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs.Lynn: Ross 1-4, Berry 1-3, Gomes 0-2, Napoli 0-1, Victorino 1-2, Drew 0-1.

Cardinals vs. Buchholz: No history.

Stat of the Day: The teams combined for 12 pitchers in Game 3, tying a World Series record for a nine-inning game.

Key matchup: Buchholz against the pitch count. The righthander ran out of gas at roughly the same time in his three postseason starts, around 65-75 pitches. Will that get him through three innings or five? The Red Sox needed their bullpen for 4.2 innings on Saturday. Ryan Dempster could have a big role tonight.

Notes: Buchholz is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in three postseason starts after going 12-1, 1.74 in the regular season. He has not pitched since Oct. 19. His start was pushed back because of arm fatigue. This will be his first World Series appearance. ... Lynn is making his 20th career postseason appearance and fifth start. He is 2-1, 5.40 in this postseason. Buchholz is facing the Cardinals for the first time and Lynn the Red Sox for the first time. ... Victorino has been hit by a pitch seven times, a postseason record. He has been hit 11 times in his postseason career, also a record. ... American League teams are 3-12 in their last 15 games in National League parks in World Series games. ... The Cardinals are 60-28 (counting the postseason) at home with wins in 19 of their last 22 games and 27 of the last 33. ... Red Sox are hitting .188/259/.302 in the series and .225/.310/.351 in the postseason. ... The Sox are 4-20 with runners in scoring position for the Series and 10 for 59 (.169) in their last seven postseason games. ... The Cardinals have been up 2-1 in the Series 10 previous times. They won the Series eight of those times. The exceptions were in 1968 against the Tigers and 1985 against the Royals. ... Saturday was the 56th walk-off victory in Series history, the first by an obstruction call.

Song of the Day: "We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together" by Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.

Looking back and looking ahead

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 02:39 PM

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ST. LOUIS — Good afternoon from the shadow of the Stan Musial statue outside of Busch Stadium. It's a beautiful day here with people out enjoying the sunshine.

Lots of Red Sox fans in town and everybody wants to talk about the obstruction call.

After watching the play a dozen or so times, two things are pretty apparent:

1. The umpires got it right. If you read the rule and apply it, Allen Craig was obstructed. Will Middlebrooks didn't do anything wrong or intentional but he did obstruct the runner.

Is that a terrible way for a game to end? No doubt. But you can't ask officials in any sport to selectively enforce the rules.

2. Jarrod Saltalamacchia may have had a play at third. But the right thing to do there is eat the ball. Take the out and let Koji Uehera face light-hitting Pete Kozma. There are times to push the issue and times to take a step back.

Saturday night was a rough one for manager John Farrell. People will look at that box score and forever wonder why Brandon Workman batted in the ninth inning of a 4-4 game. Weakening the left side of the infield defense in a close game also was questionable.

The bigger issue now is this: Will the Red Sox play another game at Fenway Park this season? The Sox haven't lost four in a row all season, the first team since the 2005 Cardinals to accomplish that.

It won't be easy. A team so defined by its character and chemistry is about to have those qualities tested like never before.

World Series Today: Game 4 details

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 27, 2013 12:00 PM
Talk about Saturday's controversial ending to Game 3 will dominate the baseball conversation today and well beyond, but come the evening there's another game to be played.

Can this series get any more interesting? Probably.

Here are the details for Game 4 tonight.

Game time: 8:15 p.m.

Weather: Same as Saturday – temps in the 40s, chance of rain at zero percent during game hours, according to Weather Channel.

Pregame details:
-- Rascal Flatts will sing the national anthem.

-- Cardinals legend Bob Gibson will throw out the first pitch and a pregame ceremony will honor the 1967 World Series champion Cardinals team.

-- The winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Awards will be announced before Game 4. They go to the "most outstanding offensive performer" in each league, and are voted on by Aaron himself along with a panel of Hall of Famers and fans voted on the award.

Live coverage today on Boston.com:
-- At 5 p.m., our live pregame show from Busch Stadium features Chad Finn and Nick Cafardo.

-- Discuss Game 4 with Boston.com columnist Chad Finn at 7 p.m. in a chat session in his Touching All the Bases blog.

-- Steve Silva will start bringing you updates, photos, and more in our live blog beginning around 6 p.m.

Farrell's decisions up for debate

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 02:55 AM

ST. LOUIS — Game 3 of the World Series was tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday night and the Red Sox sent Brandon Workman to the plate.

This would be Brandon Workman, a rookie pitcher who has never had a professional at-bat. Predictably, he struck out.

The Red Sox had three position players — Mike Napoli, David Ross and Quintin Berry — on the bench. Berry is a pinch runner, granted. But, still, two hitters were available.

How could this have happened?

When Workman entered the game to start the eighth inning, Farrell batted him in the ninth spot, where the pitcher had been all game. He should have batted Workman seventh in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who made the final out of the top of the eighth inning.

"In hindsight, I probably should have double switched," Farrell said.

Ross could have batted ninth. But even without the double switch, Napoli should have hit. He was saved for a moment that never came.

Farrell also allowed Workman to start the ninth inning (after a stressful eighth inning) and left Koji Uehara in the bullpen. When Workman allowed a single, Uehara came in then. If Workman was in such a short leash, why did he hit in the ninth?

"I felt we had four outs with Koji, four or five outs," Farrell said. "If the thought was to go to a two-inning outing for Koji we would have pinch hit for Workman the inning before."

Had Workman allowed a walk-off home run, the Red Sox would have lost without their best reliever getting in the game. That was a dangerous risk. As it was, Workman put the go-ahead run on base and took the loss.

On Friday, Farrell made a passionate defense of shortstop Stephen Drew, saying the Sox would live with his offensive failings in return for "premium defense."

Yet after Drew struck out twice, Will Middlebrooks pinch hit for him in the seventh inning. Then in the bottom of the inning, leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter reached on an infield single that Xander Bogaerts, now playing shortstop, circled and made a sidearm throw on.

If Drew's defense is truly that good, Farrell should stick with him. if not, play Bogaerts at shortstop from the start and be done with it. Farrell tried to play it both ways.

A few other notes:

• It has been a rough two games for Jarrod Saltalamacchia defensively. David Ross is sure to catch Game 4 and perhaps beyond.

• Drew was 0 for 2 and struck out twice. He is 4 for 46 (.087) in the postseason with 17 strikeouts. His value as a free agent is plummeting to a point where you have to wonder if the Red Sox would make him a qualifying offer.

• Lost in the shuffle of the obstruction call is that the Red Sox had six hits. They are hitting .188 in the series and .225 for the postseason. They have faced good pitching, no doubt. But this is not the same team offensively.

Carpenter calls Craig's effort 'Kirk Gibson-esque'

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 02:22 AM

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ST. LOUIS – After colliding with Will Middlebrooks at third, scrambling to pick himself up, crawling over Middlebrooks, who was still stomach-down on the ground, lumbering down the third base line, and practically collapsing as he slid into home plate, where Jarrod Saltalamacchia was waiting to meet him with a tag, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Allen Craig just laid there.

He wasn't at 100 percent to begin with.

By the end of a wild, chaotic and confusing sequence, he was tapped.

The lingering effects of the foot injury that had sidelined him for seven weeks couldn't have been more clear as he practically limped toward home plate.

What motivated Craig while he rehabbed was the possibility of returning for the World Series, so he pushed through the pain, laced a double and ultimately scored the winning run in the Cardinals 5-4 victory over the Red Sox in Game 3 of the World Series.

"This guy, I don't think people realize how tough this injury is and how bad [it is]." said Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter. "This was Kirk Gibson-esque. For him to come off the bench and to hit a double and then score and hustle and basically – hopefully he didn't do it – but it looked like blew himself out trying to get the winning run. That's what the postseason's all about and that was a gutsy performance."

Craig was able to DH in the first two games of the series, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn't want to take any chances of him doing too much too soon by playing in the field.

Pinch-hitting him seemed to be the safest call, but Craig ended up being thrown into a pressure-soaked situation.

"This is a guy that, he took an extra step, he pushed through just to get on this roster." Carpenter said. "This was one of those deals where he was not 100 percent, but he wanted to be out there and he thought he could help us – with at-bats.

"Then to be put in a situation where running as hard as you can to possibly win a game and he hasn't really gotten to be able to do that physically, and he still did it, pushed through it, and we ended up winning because of it."

Carpenter had to be helped off the field by teammates and trainers and after the game. His status was uncertain.

"He was in pain," outfielder Carlos Beltran said. "I don't know exactly what happened to him, but hopefully nothing badly happened to him because he's very valuable for us."

Watch: Game 3 ends on obstruction call

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 27, 2013 01:23 AM

Here's video from MLB.com of the final play of Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night in St. Louis.

Cardinals win Game 3 by the book

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 27, 2013 01:18 AM

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Barry Chin / Globe Staff

ST. LOUIS — The Red Sox lost Game 3 of the World Series on a play that will go down in history.

Let's go through the sequence of events:

• The Cardinals had runners on second and third and one out with John Jay at the plate facing Koji Uehara. With the infield in, Jay grounded a ball up the middle.

Dustin Pedroia made a terrific diving stop and fired to the plate. Jarrod Saltalamacchia tagged out Yadier Molina. That's two outs.

The Red Sox would have been wise here to eat the ball and let Uehera face Pete Kozma with two outs. But that didn't happen.

• Allen Craig was slow going from second base to third base and Saltalamacchia came up throwing.

"You're taught to make the tag and look up. I made the tag and looked up. I saw [Craig] wasn't even halfway there," Saltalamacchia said. "He's not been running great. I thought I was able to get him."

The throw tailed into the runner and third baseman Will Middlebrooks did not catch it. The ball rolled into foul territory.

It was a play reminiscent of Game 2 when Craig Breslow threw wildly to third base and cost the Red Sox that game.

"It's a bang-bang play. As it turns out we have forced a couple of throws to third base that have proven costly," Sox manager John Farrell said. "Tonight was a costly throw."

• With Middlebrooks on the ground and his legs up, Craig tripped over him. Umpire Jim Joyce immediately called obstruction.

"When [Craig] tried to advance to home, the feet were up in the air and he tripped over Middlebrooks right there and immediately and instinctively I called obstruction," Joyce said.

Middlebrooks said he did not put his feet up intentionally.

"i was just trying to make the play. I had nowhere to go," he said.

According to the umpires, intent has no bearing on the call. Middlebrooks obstructed Craig when Craig fell over him.

"The feet didn't play too much into that because he was still in the area where the base runner needs to go to advance to home plate," Joyce said. "The baserunner has every right to go unobstructed to home plate and unfortunately for Middlebrooks he was right there and there was contact."

Said MLB vice-present Joe Torre: "I know sometimes it's unfair because he's laying on the ground but that's the way the rule is."

• Joyce made the call immediately, turning to look just as the two players collided. Left fielder Daniel Nava, backing up the play, made a strong throw to the play and Craig appeared out.

But home plate umpire Dana DeMuth pointed at Joyce and acknowledged the obstruction call. Craig never appeared to actually touch the plate but he was safe because of the call.

"Our determination is whether he could have scored or not," Joyce said. "Dana immediately pointed down at me knowing that we had obstruction."

Said crew chief John Hirschbeck: "Since it was right there, bang-bang play, obviously that's obstruction."

• One question is whether Craig was in the baseline when he was obstructed. Joyce said he was "right on the chalk" which was not the case. Hirschbeck pointed out that the runner "establishes his own baseline" in this case.

• The aftermath had the Red Sox shocked.

“I don’t care what anybody says, that’s no way for a World Series game to end,” David Ortiz said.

Jake Peavy was furious, as were several other players. "It's an absolute joke," Peavy said.

"That's a terrible way for a game to end," Middlebrooks said. "I thought we had a double play. ... I don't know what else I could have done."

Said Farrell: "I guess by the letter of the rule you could say it's obstruction. But that's a tough pill to swallow."

Umpires explain Game 3-ending call

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 27, 2013 12:42 AM
The umpires involved in the controversial call that ended Game 3 of the World Series held a press conference to explain the ruling.

Crew chief John Hirschbeck began by explaining the rule itself.

"Obstruction is the act of a fielder obstructing a runner when not in the act of fielding a ball. It does not have to be intent. There does not have to be intent. Once he has the opportunity to field the ball, he can no longer in any way obstruct the runner," he said.

Then Jim Joyce, the umpire who made the obstruction call on Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, gave his view of the play. Cardinals runner Allen Craig stumbled over Middlebrooks, who had dove for a throw from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"When the play developed after Saltalamacchia threw to third base, after the ball had gone straight through and Allen had slid into third and stood up to attempt to go to home plate, everything was off right there and when he tried to advance to home plate, the feet were up in the air and he tripped over Middlebrooks right there, and immediately and instinctually, I called obstruction," Joyce said.

Craig was awarded home and the winning run. The Cardinals won, 5-4, and took a 2-1 lead over the Red Sox in the World Series.

Following the game, there was much speculation over whether the rule applies if a fielder did not commit the obstruction intentionally.

"With the defensive player on the ground, with intent or without intent, it's still obstruction," Joyce said.

Rule 7.06 of the MLB rules states the following:

OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.” It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.

The umpires were asked if they conferred about the call, as they did when they reversed a call in Game 1.

"We congratulated Jim, and said great call. Because I could see it all in front of me, as it happened," Hirschbeck said. "Mark Wegner made the comment he could see it from right field developing. We're trained to look for these kind of things, and they are out of the ordinary, but when they happen, and it's the World Series, you expect to get it right."

Still, it didn't sit well with Red Sox fans, especially since Joyce is famous for one of baseball's biggest blown calls ever when he ruled a runner safe in the ninth inning of a perfect game bid by Detroit's Armando Galarraga in 2010.

Craig was actually tagged out at the plate, but the ruling negated that outcome.

"If what you saw happened tonight and he's out by 20 feet, then the umpire has to determine that if the obstruction had not occurred, he would have been out, OK? But since it was right there, a bang-bang play, obviously that obstruction definitely had something to do with it," Hirschbeck said.

Final: Cardinals 5, Red Sox 4

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 08:00 PM

ST. LOUIS -- The Red Sox lost a tense and pivotal Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night in bizarre fashion, with the Cardinals' Allen Craig scoring the winning run after third baseman Will Middlebrooks was called for obstruction after an errant throw.

The call gave the Cardinals a 5-4 win and a 2-1 lead in the series.

Umpire Jim Joyce awarded Craig home plate after the runner tripped over Middlebrooks's legs while left fielder Daniel Nava was retrieving catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's errant throw.

With one out, runners on second and third, and the Red Sox infield pulled in, Jon Jay hit a hard ground ball to second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia threw home to get Matt Adams. With Craig heading for third, Saltalamacchia made an ill-fated throw that eluded Middlebrooks and skittered down the left field line.

Joyce, the third base umpire, quickly made the call on Middlebrooks. Nava still threw to the plate and it appeared Craig, who was limping, would have been out.

"Tough way to have a game end, particularly of this significance, when Will is trying to dive inside to stop the throw,'' said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I don't know how he gets out of the way when he's lying on the ground. And when Craig trips over him, I guess by the letter of the rule you could say it's obstruction. Like I said, that's a tough pill to swallow."

It is the second straight game that an errant throw to third base has contributed to a Red Sox loss. Craig Breslow's wild throw in Game 2 allowed the Cardinals to score the go-ahead run in a 4-2 win.

Shortly after the game, umpires Joyce, Dana DeMuth, crew chief John Hirschbeck, and MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre took to the podium to explain what happened and why the call was made to reporters.

"The baserunner has every right to go unobstructed toward home plate,'' said Joyce. "Unfortunately for Middlebrooks, he was right there, and there was contact. [Craig] could not advance to home plate naturally."

Rule 7.06 states, "obstruction is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner."

"Intentional or not intentional, he just has to clear the path,'' said Torre. "It's unfair because he's laying on the ground, but that's the way the rule is."

The umpires were asked if there was anything Middlebrooks could do to avoid the call being made.

"Just to get out of the way quickly and not obstruct the runner,'' said Joyce. "It's really as simple as that."

Added crew chief John Hirschbeck: "You'll probably have to ask Middlebrooks that."

The agonizing ending came after the Red Sox had rallied to tie the game in their half of the eighth against the back of the Cardinals' bullpen. It was the second time in the game they came back from a two-run deficit.

With hard-throwing Carlos Martinez in to begin the inning, Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single. Martinez hit Shane Victorino with a pitch, and after Dustin Pedroia moved up the runners with a broken-bat groundout to short, Martinez intentionally walked David Ortiz.

Mike Matheny then made a double switch, bringing in closer Trevor Rosenthal to pitch, with Kolten Wong taking over at second and Matt Carpenter moving to third.

Rosenthal's first batter was Daniel Nava, who hit a hard grounder to Wong. Wong smothered the shot and threw to Pete Kozma at second for a force, but Nava beat the throw as Ellsbury scored the third Red Sox run.

That brought up rookie Xander Bogaerts. The Red Sox still had Mike Napoli available to pinch hit, but because the Red Sox were out of middle infielders, Farrell had no choice but to let Bogaerts hit. The kid delivered with a chopped single up the middle that deflected off shortstop Pete Kozma's glove, scoring Victorino with the tying run.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded to second to end the inning.

End of the seventh, Cardinals 4, Red Sox 2: The Red Sox' infield defense, so dependable all season, falters in the seventh as the Cardinals retake the lead. lf

Craig Breslow took the mound to replace Doubront, while the machinations of the top half of the inning resulted in Xander Bogaerts moving to short and Will Middlebrooks coming in at third.

The defensive changes quickly became ripe for second guessing when Matt Carpenter reached on a slow roller to Bogaerts. His throw was late and couldn't be scooped by David Ortiz at first base, Breslow then nicked Carlos Beltran with a pitch, bringing up the dangerous Matt Holliday.

Holliday, facing new pitcher Junichi Tazawa, hit a rocket toward third base that Middlebrooks couldn't smother. The ball made it all the way to the corner, with Holliday ending up on third while Carpenter and Beltran scored.

Tazawa did leave Holliday stranded at third, striking out Matt Adams and Yadier Molina. David Freese worked a walk, but Jon Jay flew to center to end the threat.

Kevin Siegrist needs just eight pitches to get through three Red Sox hitters in the top half of the inning -- including two pinch hitters, which set the defensive changes in motion.

After striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to lead off the inning, Siegrist retires pinch-hitter Will Middlebrooks on one pitch, a fly ball to center. Middlebrooks hit for Stephen Drew, meaning Xander Bogaerts is moving over to shortstop.

Farrell then sent Jonny Gomes up to hit for pitcher Felix Doubront. Gomes flew to Jay. Doubront gave the Red Sox two crucial innings, allowing a hit and a walk.

End of the sixth, Red Sox 2, Cardinals 2: Doubront retires Jon Jay, Pete Kozma, and pinch-hitter Shane Robinson in order to hold down the fort after the Red Sox rallied to tie the score in their half.

Daniel Nava has had a hard time getting into the Red Sox lineup this October with John Farrell's faith in Jonny Gomes.

Maybe now it will be tough to get Nava out of the lineup.

Nava, who hit .336 in the second half of the season, lined a one-out RBI single to left field off reliever Seth Maness to tie the score at 2.

Nava's hit scored Shane Victorino, who led off with a walk against Joe Kelly. Dustin Pedroia lined to short for the first out, but with lefthanded-hitting David Ortiz coming to the plate, the Cardinals turned to lefty specialist Randy Choate. Ortiz greeted him with a hard single to right, moving Victorino to third.

Nava followed with his RBI single off the new reliever Maness, but Xander Bogaerts ended the inning by grounding into a double play.

The final line on Kelly: 5.1 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts.

End of the fifth, Cardinals 2, Red Sox 1: Felix Doubront comes on and navigates out of some minor trouble, getting David Freese to fly routinely to left field with two on for the inning's third out.

Doubront retired the first two batters he faced, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday. But Matt Adams double to right field, and rather than deal with Yadier Molina, he was intentionally walked to deal with Freese.

Jake Peavy's night was done after four innings, having been lifted for a pinch hitter who ended up driving in the Red Sox' first run.

Xander Bogaerts led off with a triple to right field that Carlos Beltran misplayed, allowing the ball to reach the wall. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a walk on a 3-2 pitch, but Stephen Drew struck out for the first out.

That brought up the No. 9 spot in the order, and rather than letting Peavy hit in a crucial spot, John Farrell turned to Mike Carp.

On a 3-1 fastball, Carp chopped a grounder up the middle that Carpenter fielded at second. Saltalamacchia made a heady play, stopping in the basepath to prevent Carpenter from tagging him. Instead, he had to flip it to shortstop Pete Kozma for the force, giving Carp enough time to leg out the fielder's choice as Bogaerts scored. Kelly ended any further threat by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury.

The final line on Peavy: 4 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs (both earned), a walk and four strikeouts. He threw 64 pitches.

End of the fourth, Cardinals 2, Red Sox 0: That's what you call an escape, Jake Peavy.

The Cardinals load the bases with no one out on a Molina single, a Freese walk, and a single. Initially, Molina looked like he was going to chug home with the third run, and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury appeared to be conceding it, but the Cardinals catcher suddenly put on the brakes and returned to third.

He'd be stranded there as Pete Kozma struck out on Peavy's best pitch of the night, an 83 mph changeup on the outside corner. Pitcher Joe Kelly popped to Dustin Pedroia for the second out, bringing up Matt Carpenter, who was 7 for 9 with the bases loaded this season.

Make it 0 for 1 in this game. Carpenter hit a high popup in the middle of the infield that Pedroia tracked into his glove for the third out.

In the top half, the Red Sox had their first hit and their first scoring threat. But their still searching for that first run off Joe Kelly, who escapes a two-on, two-out jam by striking out Daniel Nava on a 3-2 changeup.

Ellsbury led off the inning with the first hit, a grounder that deflected off second baseman Matt Carpenter's glove. Shane Victorino popped to first, and Dustin Pedroia flew deep to Jon Jay in center. Kelly didn't mess around with David Ortiz, walking him on four straight fastballs.

But Nava couldn't capitalize during his seven-pitch at-bat. He swung and missed on an 88 mph pitch to end the inning. Kelly pumped his first and let out a scream in celebration.

End of the third, Cardinals 2, Red Sox 0: There's a break for the Red Sox: an error turns into an out.

With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury can't catch a shallow fly ball by Matt Holliday, but the Red Sox catch him making too far a turn around first, and an alert Dustin Pedroia throws behind him to David Ortiz, who tags him out before he can scramble to the base.

Peavy takes advantage of the break by wrapping up the inning with a strikeout of Matt Adams.

Meanwhile, it was nine up, nine down for the Red Sox against Kelly, who's needed just 34 pitches to get through the first three innings. He struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew (who may never get another hit again). It took the pitcher, Jake Peavy, to make contact -- he grounded to second.

End of the second, Cardinals 2, Red Sox 0: There's no drama for Peavy in the second inning. He retires the 8-9-1 hitters in the Cardinals' order on 11 pitches. He's one person who's happy there's no designated hitter in the NL ballpark.

Kelly sailed through the top of the second without allowing a hit -- thanks in part to his defense.

David Ortiz led off the inning by grounding to Matt Adams at first base.

Daniel Nava, getting his first start of the series, looked like he might have the Red Sox' first hit of the game with a sharp grounder up the middle. But second baseman Matt Carpenter dove to his right, snared the ball, and popped up to throw up Nava by a step.

Xander Bogaerts ended the half inning by grounding to shortstop, the fifth grounder induced by Kelly.

End of the first, Cardinals 2, Red Sox 0: You want small consolations? Here's one: It could have been worse. Much worse.

The Cardinals jump to the lead in Game 3 with RBI singles from Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina. But given that Jake Peavy struggled with his velocity and command in allowing four hits to the first five batters, the Red Sox have to feel like they dodged a bullet.

Matt Carpenter led off with a hard single. Carlos Beltran gave the Red Sox a gift out by bunting against the shift toward third base, but Peavy, a former Gold Glove winner, made the play. It was scored as a sacrifice bunt, but it was not.

Carpenter came around to score on Holliday's hard single to right.

After Matt Adams singled, Molina played Holliday with the second run. But with Felix Doubront -- who seems to be the insurance policy in case Clay Buchholz can't go Sunday -- warming up in the bullpen, Peavy retired David Freese on a hard liner to right. Jon Jay ended the 21-pitch inning with a grounder to Pedroia at second base.

Well, that wasn't the offensive start the Red Sox were looking for.

Joe Kelly breezed through the top of the Red Sox' order in 11 pitches. He got Jacoby Ellsbury on a called strike three with a fastball registering at 98 mph. Shane Victorino followed by grounding back to the mound, and Dustin Pedroia hit a grounder to first,

Pregame: ST. LOUIS -- Jake Peavy has called it the biggest start of his career, and as distinguished as the veteran righthander's career has been, no one is about to argue with him.

Peavy takes the ball in Game 3 Saturday night at Busch Stadium with the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals tied a game apiece.

Peavy has pitched in four postseason games in his career, and he's pitched effectively in just one, his ALDS start against the Rays earlier this postseason. He's acknowledges he sometimes gets too amped up at times, something Red Sox manager John Farrell said the team hopes to help him temper.

"In getting to know Jake in the time he's been here, he pitches with a lot of energy. And I think the one thing he's been very candid in and honest with himself and with us is that there's a fine line there in what energy level works best for him and what takes him out of his delivery,'' said Farrell. "I keep going back to Game 4 in Tampa, I thought he went out and he was aggressive. He maintained an intensity and effort level that worked best to him."

Daniel Nava will start in left field for the Red Sox instead of Jonny Gomes. But the biggest change to the Red Sox lineup as the series shifts to a National League ballpark is this: David Ortiz will start at first base, while Mike Napoli takes a seat on the bench.

While Napoli could be a significant weapon as a pinch hitter, Farrell said he could also be used as a late-inning defensive replacement for Ortiz.

"We've done that throughout the course of the year. Unfortunately we take one of our middle‑of‑the‑order bats out, because of no DH,'' said Farrell. "But Mike is in tune with what we've done previously. If we do have a lead in the sixth or seventh inning, he's more than ready to go to pick up for David at first. That's why we've got to be a little careful when to use him as a pinch‑hitter, as well, to preserve that defensive side of it."

Willie McGee, a Cardinals legend who also played for the Red Sox in 1995, will throw out the first pitch. Colbie Caillat knocks the National Anthem out of the park, and we're ready to go.

Ross could get more action in Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 07:35 PM

ST. LOUIS — Backup catcher David Ross started four of the first 12 postseason games, a higher percentage than the regular season. John Farrell suggested that Ross would be getting more starts in the Series.

“Yes, that’s been thought of,” Farrell said. “If there needs to be a change or there’s a view that a change should be made, that’s something we’ll consider.”

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had two defensive mistakes in the seventh inning of Game 2 when the Cardinals scored three runs to take the lead in a game they eventually won. He couldn’t get the ball out of his glove when St. Louis executed a double steal. He also dropped a ball on a throw from the outfield and was charged with an error.

Saltalamacchia was 6 for 29 in the postseason entering tonight's game. Ross was 4 for 13.

“We need to get Salty going and David Ross has being swinging the bat pretty darn good,” Farrell said.

Also:

• Farrell was disappointed that Napoli was not one of the three finalists for the Gold Glove at first base in the American League. Chris Davis (Orioles), Eric Hosmer (Royals) and James Loney (Rays) were the choices.

“He’s done an outstanding job there,” Farrell said. “Always going to feel that way about your own guy because you see the among of work that they put in and all that he’s done.”

Napoli graded out as the best first baseman in the league based on advanced statistics. But statistics count for only 25 percent of the award. The voting done by coaches and managers largely determines the award.

“I would venture to say that in the minds of some, if not many, that Mike is still viewed as a catcher who’s playing first base,” Farrell said. “And how much of it is swayed by offensive production, where Davis takes a lot of votes away from that position?”

• The Red Sox flew out a planeload of front office employees for the games here. … Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals was the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award for community service. “I decided to use all the blessings God gave me through baseball to help other families,” said Beltran, whose charitable endeavors have included building a baseball academy and school in his native Puerto Rico. “When I was a kid I always wanted to be like [Clemente], to play baseball and to give back. He was a role model for all Puerto Rican players.” The Red Sox nominee was Craig Breslow.

• LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune was elected the president of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He is the first black reporter to be elected president and succeeds Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the first women to lead the group. Neal has covered baseball since 1998.

Napoli works out at third base

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 07:30 PM

ST. LOUIS — The Red Sox had Mike Napoli taking ground balls at third base before the game. He played three games at the position in the minors, the last in 2004 for Single A Rancho Cucamonga.

“It’s an option,” manager John Farrell said.

With no designated hitter for the three games at Busch Stadium, the Red Sox have a hole in their lineup without Napoli. David Ortiz, the usual DH, is startingh at first base tonight.

With the Cardinals having only righthanded starters, the Red Sox are hoping that Ortiz can start at least two of the games if not all three.

Shortstop Stephen Drew is 4 for 42 in the postseason. If Napoli is deemed acceptable at third base, the Red Sox could shift Xander Bogaerts to shortstop.

Napoli looked comfortable taking grounders but a few of his throws to first base were wild.

Buchholz still set to start Game 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 07:19 PM

ST. LOUIS — Clay Buchholz will start Game 4 on Sunday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox all agree on that. Beyond that, nothing is certain.

Buchholz did his usual pre-start work on Saturday, which included throwing off the mound. That was the final hurdle for his being cleared to pitch.

“Based on the conversations [Friday] with him and throughout the whole period that we’re focusing on, with each throwing session that confidence gains and grows along with the intensity,” manager John Farrell said. “Whatever he is capable of, he feels like he’ll be able to give it.”

Buchholz missed three months with bursitis in his shoulder. He returned to make four starts in September and pitched fairly well. But Buchholz has a 5.40 earned run average in three postseason starts and showed diminished velocity and stamina.

Buchholz last pitched on Oct. 19 against Detroit in the American League Championship Series. He lasted only five innings and 85 pitches. Buchholz has been getting treatment in the days since.

“My one thing that I have is to go and compete. Go out there for as long as John wants to leave me out there, and give the team a chance to win to the best of my ability,” Buchholz said.

“Obviously given the couple of days that I've been out so far, not a 100 percent. But I've said it a couple of times this year, I don't think anybody, especially at this time of the season, is a hundred percent.

“It's going to be my first World Series experience being on the field, and I think that just the environment, the crowd, the adrenaline, that's going to help me out, too.”

Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster, starters during the regular season, could pitch long relief if needed for the Sox.

Farrell admitted that the Red Sox had “some conversation” about the idea of starting Jon Lester on three days’ rest. But that idea never took hold.

“History shows that’s not been successful,” Farrell said. “From a broader perspective on Lester, the last seven, eight weeks of the season he pitched on [five] days’ rest the entire time.

“He went on [four] days’ rest against Detroit [in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series], a little bit different stuff. It was noticeable. I recognize we’re in the World Series; I recognize the time of the year. I would rather have Jon Lester with normal rest than three days of rest.”

World Series Game 3 chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 05:50 PM

Veteran Jake Peavy, who pitched brilliantly against the Rays and something less than that in his one American League Championship Series start against the Tigers, gets the ball for the Red Sox in Game 3 tonight at Busch Stadium. For the Cardinals, righthander Joe Kelly tries to be the latest young St. Louis pitcher to wow the Red Sox. David Ortiz is in the Red Sox lineup and playing first base, while Mike Napoli is on the bench. We'll talk about all thisand more at 7 p.m. with Chad Finn of the Globe and Boston.com. Check in below to join in.

 

Shift to NL park puts Cardinals' Craig on bench

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 05:34 PM

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With Allen Craig still easing back into things after missing seven weeks with a Lisfranc injury, the option to use him as a designated hitter in the first two games of the World Series turned out to be convenient for the Cardinals. They could get his bat in the lineup at the cleanup spot and they didn't need him to do too much too soon at either first base or in the outfield.

But playing in a National League park will complicate things in Game 3 of the World Series for the Red Sox, who will sacrifice Mike Napoli's bat and play David Ortiz at first base.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said It's tougher for American League teams to adapt to National League ballparks.

"Fortunately for us, I think there's probably more of an adjustment for the American League team coming into the National League than vice versa," Matheny. "There's a lot more moving parts with double-switches and trying to put your roster together. But fortunately, we went into an American League city kind of with an American League roster, with having another guy we knew we wanted to have as part of our lineup. So that worked out pretty well.

"As far as preference, we don't spend a lot of time there, because this is what we do. And it's a challenge to put your roster together for an American League city, but when we get back home, our club is designed for a National League-style play. And hopefully that goes into play during these next three games."

Craig took ground balls again Saturday, but Matheny wasn't ready to put him in the starting lineup.

"I know he's worked hard to be a part of this team, which he should be," Matheny said. "He's such a big part of us being here to begin with. As far as being able to throw him out there defensively, it's a process, and he took some more ground balls. He feels good and made a stride forward today. That may end up happening, but right now the timing, we just can't do it yet, as far as a start goes."

Craig could be used at some point to pinch hit or even come in as a defensive replacement, Matheny said.

"We have his bat off the bench, we have the ability to bring him in if we need to," Matheny said. "But we'll just see how the next couple of days go."

World Series Game 3: Red Sox at Cardinals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 03:15 PM

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Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:
2013_ws_logo.jpg
RED SOX (1-1, 97-65 regular season)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz 1B
Daniel Nava LF
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Jake Peavy RHP (0-1, 8.31 postseason; 12-5, 4.17 regular season).

CARDINALS (1-1, 97-65 regular season)
Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
David Freese 3B
John Jay CF
Peter Kozma SS
Joe Kelly RHP (0-1, 4.41 postseason; 10-5, 2.69 regular season).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Kelly: Drew 1-3, Victorino 0-2.

Cardinals vs. Peavy: Holliday 8-28, Beltran 8-20, Molina 4-22, Descalso 0-3, Freese 1-3, Robinson 0-3.

Stat of the Day: This will be only the 13th game the Red Sox have played in the last 27 days.

Key matchup: Cardinals lefthanded relievers against David Ortiz. Big Papi is 4 for 6 with two home runs and 5 RBIs in the Series. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny needs to figure out when to use either Randy Choate or Kevin Siegrist against Ortiz.

The Busch factor: Counting the postseason, the Cardinals are 59-28 at home, 26-6 since Aug. 11 and 18-3 in their last 21. It's more than the crowd, the Cardinals use their pitcher's park to their advantage.

Notes: The series is tied 1-1 with the next three games in St. Louis before a sea of red at Busch Stadium. ... This will be the first career World Series for Peavy, who has struggled in the postseason (0-3, 10.31 ERA in four starts). Two of those starts came against the Cardinals (in 2005 and '06) and Peavy allowed 13 runs on 19 hits over 9.2 innings. Peavy has a 2.97 ERA in nine regular-season starts against St. Louis and a 2.25 ERA in three starts at Busch Stadium. Peavy has not pitched since Oct. 13 when he allowed seven runs in three innings against the Tigers. ... Kelly also is starting for the first time since Oct. 13 when he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings against the Dodgers. He has given up eight earned runs on 18 hits in 16.1 postseason innings. Kelly, 25, struck out only 79 in 124 regular season innings. He is somebody the Red Sox should be able to get to because he pitches to contact. ... Red Sox pitchers have a 2.87 ERA and 1.188 WHIP in the postseason with the bullpen's ERA at 1.00. ... In World Series tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner has gone on to win the Series 11 of the last 12 times. ... Ellsbury has hit safely in nine of the 12 postseason games at 17 of 47. He is setting himself up as well as a free agent can at this point. ... This will be the 14th World Series game for Victorino. That's the most on the Red Sox. He is 9 for 50 (.180) in those games. ... Drew is 4 for 42 in the postseason and 2 of his last 35. ... Nava returns to the lineup. He is 4 for 13 in the postseason with a double.

Song of the Day: "Alabama Song" by The Doors.

Getting ready for Game 3 in St. Louis

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 26, 2013 12:47 PM

ST. LOUIS — Willie McGee, the 1985 National League Most Valuable Player, will throw out the first pitch tonight.

McGee spent 13 seasons with the Cardinals (1982-90 and 1996-99) and was with the Red Sox in 1995, playing 67 games.

Prior to the first pitch, Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith and 90-year-old Red Schoendienst will be introduced to the crowd. There also will be a tribute paid to the late Stan Musial.

Two-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat will perform the National Anthem.

World Series Today: Welcome to St. Louis

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 26, 2013 12:46 PM
The World Series has shifted to St. Louis for the next three games.

Here's what you need to know today.

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

Weather: Temps in the 40s throughout the game, but Weather Channel's forecast is showing zero percent chance of rain.

Pregame details: Willie McGee will throw out the first pitch and Colbie Caillat will sing the anthem. More on the pregame festivities here.

Live coverage today on Boston.com:
-- At 5 p.m., our live pregame show from Busch Stadium features special guest Sean Casey of MLB Network joining Chad Finn and Nick Cafardo. Look for live video players on the BDC homepage and sports page, and we'll have on-demand replays available shortly after the show.

-- Discuss Game 3 with Boston.com columnist Chad Finn at 7 p.m. in a chat session in his Touching All the Bases blog.

-- Steve Silva will start bringing you updates, photos, and more in our live blog beginning around 6 p.m.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 1.18.09 PM.pngWorthwhile links:
-- Time has pretty much run out to grow a Red Sox playoff beard, but no worries, Boston.com has you covered. Check out "Beard Me," which lets you add a beard to any photo.

-- On BostonGlobe.com, Peter Abraham outlines what Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy faces in the biggest start of his career.

-- Gary Washburn explores the "Cardinal Way", and Shira Springer explains MLB's fight against counterfeit World Series merchandise.

-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz speculates there's no reason the Cardinals can't win all three games in St. Louis. He outlines seven reasons it can happen.

Red Sox say Buchholz will start Game 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 25, 2013 08:08 PM

ST. LOUIS — The Red Sox say that Clay Buchholz, who is dealing with a sore right shoulder, will start Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday.

Buchholz threw in the outfield at Busch Stadium today and is scheduled to throw his usual short bullpen session on Saturday.

"He went through a throwing program today. Went back to about a 100 feet with some increased intensity along the way, and he's starting Sunday," manager John Farrell said.

General manager Ben Cherington said Buchholz did not suffer any sort of setback but what essentially is arm fatigue related to his missing three months then coming back.

Felix Doubront has been preparing to make the start in case Buchholz is scratched.

Buchholz will speak to the media on Saturday. Teammate Jake Peavy certainly expects him to start.

"I can't imagine what it would take in somebody who's been hurt, been injured, I think you could just physically have to not be able to play the game of baseball to not go out there and compete in this environment, when the adrenaline and the atmosphere can help you through a lot of that as well as maybe some drugs," he said.

Nava returns to lineup for Game 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 25, 2013 07:53 PM

ST. LOUIS — Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't list his lineup for Game 3. But he did lay out a few of his plans:

• Daniel Nava starts in left field, replacing Jonny Gomes.

• Stephen Drew is staying at shortstop despite being 4 for 42 in the postseason and 1 of his last 35.

"While he has had his struggles, they're well documented, we live it with him," Farrell said. "He has played such a strong defensive position at shortstop. [Thursday] night there's probably three or four plays that he makes, that might otherwise build into a potential inning for the Cardinals.

"He's such a steadying force for us on defense up the middle and on the infield in general."

• David Ortiz will start at first base and Mike Napoli will be on the bench.

Lynn will start Game 4 for Cardinals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 25, 2013 04:05 PM

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ST. LOUIS — Greetings from Busch Stadium. A few Cardinals notes:

• Adam Wainwright will not start on short rest in Game 4. The Cardinals will start Lance Lynn, manager Mike Matheny said this afternoon.

Lynn was 15-10 with a 3.97 ERA in the regular season. He has appeared in three postseason games, starting two. Over 11.2 innings, Lynn has allowed seven runs on 14 hits and seven walks with 12 strikeouts.

• Allen Craig took some grounders today but is not likely to play first base in Game 3. The Cardinals have not closed the door on his returning to the field, however.

Craig was the DH in Games 1 and 2, going 2 for 7 with a walk. He had been out since Sept. 4 with a foot injury.

• Matheny had some interesting comments about the series shifting to Busch Stadium. It doesn't sound as though he was too enamored with Fenway Park:

"I believe our ballpark is very fair," he said. "I don't think there's one thing that would make our team any more effective in this park than any other. It's not like there's the oddities, like a Green Monster or deep corners and gaps. It's pretty fair. And I think most teams would say the same thing."

• Cardinals Game 3 starter Joe Kelly has an interesting way of preparing for starts.

"To tell you the truth, I don't really like to lock in and focus on my start until the day of," he said. "Like the night before, I usually stay up playing video games all night, competitive gaming, more 'Call of Duty.'

"Just relaxes me. It helps me not to think about anything else except for going out and competing. And I like to play competitive gaming, so actual matches and play with other professional players that I've met off Twitter and stuff like it that."

Three Red Sox are Gold Glove finalists

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 25, 2013 10:47 AM

Rawlings announced the finalists for the Gold Gloves. The Red Sox have three candidates.

Center field: Jacoby Ellsbury along with Lorenzo Cain (Royals) and Adam Jones (Orioles).

Right field: Shane Victorino along with Nick Markakis (Orioles) and Josh Reddick (Athletics).

Second base: Dustin Pedroia along with Robinson Cano (Yankees) and Ben Zobrist (Rays).

Mike Napoli has a gripe at first base. Chris Davis (Orioles), Eric Hosmer (Royals) and James Loney (Rays) are the finalists. Napoli had the highest UZR in the American League among first basemen and fewer errors than Hosmer and Loney.

But votes by managers and coaches account for 75 percent of the process and they often go by reputation and Napoli was thought of more as a catcher than a first baseman at the start of the season. Objective input from the Society for American Baseball Research also is used.

World Series Today: Travel day

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 25, 2013 08:38 AM



The World Series resumes Saturday in St. Louis, and we know for sure there will be three games there now that the series is tied 1-1.

A sweep by either team would end it in St. Louis on Monday, but if each team wins one, the series will come back to Boston for Game 6 on Wednesday.

In lieu of game details today, we'll bring you some different perspective to keep the baseball conversation rolling.

Reader Matt Bryce shared with us the daily newsletter his 14-year-old son, Troy, produces each fall during the playoffs and sends to family and friends. It's called "Harvest Baseball" and in addition to recapping the previous night's game and previewing the next one, Troy includes a "Roberto Clemente Act of the Day" spotlighting a good deed (such as Jon Lester visiting a cancer patient before Game 1), a player to watch and a quiz to see how closely his readers paid attention to the game.

With no game today, Troy shares his picks for the top player each team should acquire in the off-season. I've listed them in the Full Entry (button at bottom) section of this post. Enjoy.

Today's details:
-- The Cardinals work out at 2 p.m. and the Red Sox at 5 p.m. We'll have updates afterward in Extra Bases.

Worthwhile links:
-- Check out BostonGlobe.com for Peter Abraham's game story, Nick Cafardo's On Baseball, columns by Dan Shaughnessy and Christopher L. Gasper, and more.

-- Nick Cafardo has a thoughtful explanation of the kerfuffle over the accusation Jon Lester may have been doctoring the ball in Game 1.

-- Chad Finn's take on Game 2 is here. Steve Silva and Dan Shaughnessy provide their take in our nightly recap video.

-- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch put Bostonians to the test about St. Louis and looks like Boston didn't do very well. David Hunn's video report is embedded below.

-- Post-Dispatch columnist Bernnie Miklasz is always a good read. Here's today's offering, "Cards find their way back."

-- On MLB Network, analysts Al Leiter, Sean Casey, John Smoltz, and Dan Plesac did a fascinating breakdown of the key play in Game 2 when the Cardinals scored two runs to take the lead in the seventh inning. Their demonstration uses both the whole-field camera angle and re-creations of the play both in-studio and at Fenway Park.

Watch it here, it's worth six minutes:

FULL ENTRY

Wrapping up Game 2 from Fenway Park

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 25, 2013 01:09 AM

Jim Davis / Globe Staff

Off to St. Louis in a few hours. A few notes from Game 2:

• The double steal in the seventh inning turned the game. The Sox had a shot at one out but Jarrod Saltalamacchia fumbled the ball on the transfer.

"Just popped out of my glove," he said.

Matt Carpenter followed with a fly ball to left field. Jonny Gomes made the catch coming in and to his left. The throw was to the first base side of the plate and Saltalamacchia dropped it after trying to stretch like a first baseman.

“The throw took me a little to the right. I tried to lean forward,” Saltalamacchia said.

Said Gomes: "The throw was kind of across my body. It wasn't a great angle."

Craig Breslow, who was backing up the play, threw the ball to third to try and get Jay. The ball sailed high over the head of shortstop Stephen Drew, who was covering the bag, and bounced into the stands. Jay scored and Descalso went to third.

(Just an aside, but why do so many Red Sox pitchers have trouble throwing to bases?)

One day before the 27th anniversary of Bill Buckner’s famous error against the Mets that cost the Red Sox Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Saltalamacchia and Breslow were charged with errors on the play.

“I wasn't able to execute. On this stage, you don't get to get too many mistakes back, Breslow said.

Breslow felt it was a good idea to throw and many of his teammates absolved him of blame, pointing out how valuable he has been this season. But that was a time to hold onto the ball.

After the errors, Carlos Beltran singled to make it 4-2.

“The margin for error is really slim at this time of year,” John Lackey said. “We let one go tonight.”

• Drew was 0 for 3 and is now 4 for 42 (.095) in the postseason with one hit in his last 35 at-bats. “It’s not discouraging because I know I can come out of it,” Drew said. “I have to be better than that.”

• Farrell also stayed with good-luck charm Gomes against a righthander and wasn’t rewarded, as the left fielder was 0 for 4. Gomes has started the last four games and is 1 for 15. Farrell has indicated Daniel Nava would start Game 3 in St. Louis.

• David Ortiz's two-run homer in the sixth inning was his sixth of the postseason, matching the team record he first tied in 2004. Todd Walker also hit five in 2003. Ortiz has hit 17 postseason home runs in his career. His 59 RBIs in the postseason are fifth in history.

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Toradol injection allows Beltran to play

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 25, 2013 01:00 AM

As uncertain as Carlos Beltran's status was as close as three hours before the first pitch of Game 2 of the World Series, no one was more doubtful than Beltran himself.

The effects of the rib contusion he suffered after running into the short fence in right field to rob David Ortiz of a homer in Game 1 were still lingering the next day.

“When I left the ballpark yesterday I had very little hope that I was going to be in the lineup with the way I felt,” he said. “When I woke up, I woke up feeling a little better."

But he was willing to go to any lengths to take the field.

“I came to the ballpark, talked to the trainer,” he said. “I was able to get treatment and talk to the doctors, and find a way to try anything I could try just to go out there and feel no pain. And I did that before BP and went to the cage. I felt like I was swinging the bat okay ‑ not good, but good enough to be able to go out there and be with the guys.”

The solution was ultimately an injection of the anti-inflammatory drugToradol, which Beltran said would "kind of block the pain for five hours or six hours.”

That was enough time for him to go 2 for 4 with the RBI single that gave the Cardinals a cushion in their 4-2 win and even their series with the Sox at a game apiece.

Having waited 16 years to reach the Fall Classic, it was clear how much it meant for Beltran to figure out a way get on the field.

"I would say that as a player, I'm always going to come to the ballpark to prepare myself to play the game," Beltran said. "At the end of the day I believe that being in the regular season, that the manager is going to be more cautious and probably give me the day. But if he let me choose, I always would love to choose to play because that's what I love to do."

The use of Toradol, however, has been scrutinized around the league. Last year, a New York Times feature explained that discussion about the drug – and its unknown side effects – comes up every year in baseball circles. Its use was also at the center of the recently settled lawsuit by several former players against the NFL that claimed teams administered the drug before and during games.

From the Times:

No data are available on the use of the drug by athletes, so it is unclear how frequently Toradol injections are provided and for what ailments, and whether players are told of the potential side effects — all of which has caused tension and a growing awareness among sports medicine experts. Concerns over its widespread use in baseball compelled at least two team doctors to stop using it, according to a medical staff member of a major league team who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to implicate his team.

“It puts those of us who do sports medicine in a tough position,” said Dr. Jessica F. Butts, a physician focused on family and sports medicine at Indiana University Health. “The decision to play is a tough one. There are some things that are black and white, but there are a lot of sports injuries that are in a gray zone, especially in professional sports and college sports, where so much is on the line.”

The Red Sox reviewed their use of the painkiller before the season.

Before the game Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was making contingency plans in the event Beltran was unable to play.

“We were all kind of sitting around waiting to see how things would turn out today,” Matheny said. “We didn't know how he was going to feel. But obviously he feels pretty good. He was moving well, too. Just watching him run the bases, watching his jumps in the outfield. He didn't have a lot of action out there, but you could see he was feeling pretty good overall.

“So hopefully a good rest day tomorrow after a tough flight tonight, and hopefully get him feeling even better for the next game back home. But Carlos is such a pro, you know. He knows how to handle when he doesn't feel completely a hundred percent, which he probably hasn't felt since February. But he's the kind of guy that knows how to make the best of what he has.”

Afterward, Beltran's body was still achy.

"I know for sure tomorrow I'm going to feel sore," he said. "The good thing is tomorrow I have the day off, and I've got the opportunity to get treatment, and hopefully Saturday I feel better than what I feel today."

Red Sox blunders, bullpen boost Cardinals to Game 2 win

Posted by Staff October 25, 2013 12:13 AM
After the Red Sox offensive explosion in Game 1, the Cardinals needed strong outings from their pitching staff to prevent the Sox from taking command of this series.

A solid start from rookie Michael Wacha, as well as stellar performances from relievers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, let the Cardinals take Game 2 and send the World Series to St. Louis tied at one game apiece.

“I felt the bullpen did a great job,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. “We saw a little bit of [Martinez] yesterday, and what we saw here today is a lot more of what we've seen here recently of Carlos [Martinez]…. He got us out [of a jam in the eighth.] Then [we] got an opportunity for Rosenthal to get in, that's what we've seen Trevor do for a good part of the season.”

Wacha was not as strong as he had been in his three previous starts in this postseason, allowing just two runs over six innings on three hits, while striking out six and walking four, but did enough to give his team a chance to win.

“The kid [Wacha] continues to impress,” said Matheny. “I don't know what else you could ask. Put him on any stage and he does a real nice job of limiting distractions. He and [Yadier Molina] work well together and make good adjustments along the way. He stuck with his strengths and really went out and was aggressive, and that's exactly what we needed him to do.”

“[My]nerves weren't too bad, [I was] just kind of anxious to get out there,” Wacha said. “It's the World Series, [a] big time game. So I just tried to use it to my advantage to go out and pitch with some adrenaline, and just try to block out the fans and the crowd. I didn't have my best stuff tonight: definitely a little bit more wild [and I] didn't have the command. I tried to let my defense be behind me and pitch to contact, and they made some great plays.”

After defensive miscues plagued the Cardinals in Game 1, it was the Red Sox this time that had untimely errors, as two errors in the top of the seventh on a fly out by Matt Carpenter allowed the Cardinals to tie the game 2-2 and then take a 3-2 on the same play. Carlos Beltran then singled to bring in the fourth Cardinal run of the night.

Martinez, the 22-year old rookie who pitched just 28 innings in the regular season, was called on to hold a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh against a fearsome Red Sox offense. He pitched brilliantly in that inning, striking out Saltalamacchia and getting Drew and Bogaerts to ground out for a 1-2-3 frame.

Martinez was called on again in the eighth, and after Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error by Carpenter, Martinez struck out Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia to get two important outs.

Then, on an interesting decision by Matheny, Martinez was left in the game to face David Ortiz, who had already homered in the game, despite having a lefthander ready to go in the bullpen. Martinez got Ortiz to hit a ground ball, but Carpenter was unable to come up with a throw and everyone was safe.

“It's not an easy decision [to leave Martinez in] knowing that we have a left hander up and ready to go,” Matheny said. “A lot of it has to do with what we see, how the ball is coming out of [Martinez's] hands at that time. We have two guys on base, one by an error and another by a ball that made its way kinda through the infield….[It was] not an easy call, but we liked the way [Martinez] was throwing the ball at that particular time.

“Carlos [Martinez] gave up [a] run yesterday. He wasn't happy with how he went about it. He was very animated about how badly he wanted to pitch again and get back out there. And he proved that it wasn't just a lot of talk. He went out and did a great job.”
Martinez didn’t let the hit faze him, though, getting Mike Napoli to pop out to third to end the threat and preserve the two-run lead heading into the ninth.

“Obviously [Ortiz is] a very good hitter, but I trust myself and I knew I had the stuff to get him out,” Martinez said after the game. “But I wasn't thinking about if they're going to bring in the lefty or not, I was just ready until they take me out.”

In the bottom of the ninth, closer Rosenthal was his usual dominant self, striking out the side of Jonny Gomes, Saltalamacchia, and pinch-hitter Daniel Nava to end the ballgame and secure a big win for St. Louis. The World Series now shift to St. Louis for Games 3, 4, and 5.

“We feel confident and feel good about ourselves because we know how well we play at home,” said Beltran. “And having the fans on your side is a big factor. It's like Boston playing here [at Fenway Park]. It's kind of hard to play here when you play on the road, and you're playing against everything, the whole team, the fans, everybody.

“You have to go out and perform and execute and find a way to play good baseball, but it's comfortable for us to go back home.”

Sophomore Joe Kelly, who is 0-1 with 4.41 ERA in three postseason starts, will get the Ball for the Cardinals; he will be opposed by Jake Peavy, who is 0-1 with a 8.31 ERA in two starts this postseason.

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Red Sox play 'uncharacteristic' baseball in Game 2 loss

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 24, 2013 11:38 PM

In Game 1 of the World Series, the Red Sox took advantage of three errors by the Cardinals en route to an 8-1 win.

Thursday night, it was Boston's turn to be sloppy.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Craig Breslow each committed an error on the same play in the seventh inning. Up with the bases loaded, Matt Carpenter's fly out to left field drew a throw to the plate from Jonny Gomes which Saltalamacchia had trouble handling. The catcher bobbled the throw, allowing Jon Jay to score and Daniel Descalso to advance to third base. Reliever Craig Breslow backed up Saltalamacchia, but his throw to third base sailed high, allowing another run to score.

"It was uncharacteristic of the way we've taken care of the baseball this year," Red Sox manager John Farrell said afterword. "And it contributed to the three runs.

"The errant throw, that's the one in looking back, I'm sure Craig would like to have that ball back and hold it with a chance to shut down the inning right there."

Farrell defended his catcher on the play, refuting the notion that he should have stepped up to take the throw, even if it meant allowing the run.

"It's a shallow enough fly ball for there to be a play at the plate," said Farrell. "Salty's trying to hold his ground. We know the importance of the run in that spot. To say he has to come off [the plate] and field that throw, that ball ends up going off the tip of his glove. There's no second-guessing Salty's approach on that."

The Red Sox were in a good position before the errors thanks to another clutch home run from David Ortiz. Ortiz's home run in the 6th put the Red Sox up, 2-1, but the lead was short-lived. John Lackey left the game in the seventh and was charged with the first two runs that scored.

Despite the loss, Boston's first after nine consecutive World Series wins, Farrell said that he wasn't worried.

"We fully expected this to be a hard-fought series," said Farrell. "It's not surprising that we're in this position we are."

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Final: Cardinals 4, Red Sox 2

Posted by Staff October 24, 2013 07:15 PM

Final, 4-2 Cardinals: The World Series is now tied 1-1.

Hoping to preserve just a two-run deficit, John Farrell had Koji Uehara came in to pitch for the Red Sox in the ninth. Jay flew out to start the inning and Descalso grounded a ball to shortstop that Drew backhanded and Napoli made a snare off the dirt on for the second out. Carpenter then hit a liner to third that Bogaerts made a diving play on for the third out.

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal came in to try and lock down the save and got Gomes looking to start the bottom of the ninth. He then got Saltalamacchia swinging for the second out and punched out pinch-hitter Daniel Nava to tie the World Series 1-1.

End of the 8th, 4-2 Cardinals: Brandon Workman came in to pitch the eighth and got Adams to line out to left on his first pitch. Molina then hit a deep fly to center field that Ellsbury caught on the warning track, but Craig lined a single up the middle with two outs. Kozam then popped up the second base to end the top of the inning.

Ellsbury led off the bottom of the inning and got on base when Carpenter bobbled his ground ball at second. Victorino struck out looking for the first out of the inning, then Pedroia struck out swinging for the second out. Ortiz hit a ground ball that was too deep for Carpenter to handle at second base, moving Ellsbury to second, but Napoli hit a weak fly to shortstop to put out any chance of a Red Sox rally.

End of the 7th, 4-2 Cardinals: With the lead, Lackey came back out for the seventh and struck out Craig looking for the first out. Freese walked to get a runner on for the Cardinals and Jay singled to right, ending Lackey’s night as Farrell pulled him after 6.1 innings in favor of Craig Breslow. Pete Kozma – running for Freese – and Jay pulled a double steal to get runners at second and third and Descalso drew a walk to load the bases. Carpenter hit a fly out to left field, which drew a throw home from Gomes as Kozma tagged, but he was safe and Breslow overthrew third base, allowing Jay to score and give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead, also allowing Descalso to advance to third. Beltran then singled to right to score Descalso and give the Cardinals a 4-2 lead. Junichi Tazawa came in after the Beltran single and got Holliday to ground out to second to end the inning.

Carlos Martinez came in to pitch for the bottom of the seventh, striking out Saltalamacchia for the first out of the inning. Drew grounded a weak ball to shortstop that Kozma barehanded and threw to first for the second out. Bogaerts then grounded out to shortstop for a 1-2-3 inning for the Cardinals.

End of the 6th, 2-1 Red Sox: Beltran flew out to Ellsbury to start the top of the sixth and Holliday struck out for a quick two outs. Adams hit a base hit through third and short to get a runner on, but Molina grounded out to Pedroia for the third out.

Victorino grounded out to third base to start the Red Sox half of the sixth. Pedroia then walked to get a runner on base, and Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead with his second home run in as many games. Napoli struck out for the second out of the inning and Gomes grounded out to third to end the frame.

End of the 5th, 1-0 Cardinals: Jon Jay hit a fly ball to right center that Ellsbury tracked down for the first out. Descalso then hit a grounder to shortstop that Stephen Drew one-hopped to first base, but Napoli made a great pick to get the second out. Drew then made a stab and spinning throw on a ground ball to get Carpenter out and end the top of the inning.

Saltalamacchia walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth, but Stephen Drew flew out to left for the first out of the inning and Bogaerts struck out for the second. Ellsbury then popped out to third to end the inning; Wacha threw 88 pitches through five innings.

End of the 4th, 1-0 Cardinals: Holliday led off the top of the inning with a shot off the centerfield wall that caromed away from Ellsbury, allowing Holliday to reach third base. Adams then lined one to second base that Pedroia made a diving grab on. Molina then bounced a ground out to second that was slow enough to score Holliday and give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, their first lead of the series. Lackey then lost an 0-2 count on Craig, who drew a walk, but Freese grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.

Pedroia hit a bullet off of the Green Monster that he turned into a double and Ortiz followed that with a walk to put runners on first and second. Napoli grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that advanced Pedroia to third base, but Gomes popped out to second base, stranding Pedroia at third.

End of the 3d, 0-0: Lackey started the top of the third inning with back-to-back strikeouts of Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter. He ended the inning quickly by forcing Beltran to ground out to second base for his first 1-2-3 inning of the game.

Stephen Drew and Xander Bogaerts struck out to start the bottom of the inning, but Ellsbury hit a broken bat single to center for the first Red Sox hit of the game. Victorino then flew out to center to end the inning and strand Ellsbury at first.

End of the 2d, 0-0: Yadier Molina singled to right to start the second inning, but Allen Craig then flew out to right for the first out. David Freese struck out for the second out of the inning, then Jon Jay grounded out to Pedroia to end the top half of the inning.

David Ortiz grounded into the shift for the first out of the of the bottom of the frame, then Mike Napoli walked for the first base runner of the game for the Red Sox. Jonny Gomes flew out to center for the second out and Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out to the same spot for the third out.

End of the 1st, 0-0: Matt Carpenter led off the game by grounding out to shortstop. Carlos Beltran, who was a game-time decision, singled to left field. Lackey struck out Matt Holliday for the second out of the inning, then got Matt Adams to fly out to Jonny Gomes in left to retire the side.

Jacoby Ellsbury started the bottom of the inning by popping out to third base. Shane Victorino struck out for the second out of the inning and Dustin Pedroia followed with the same to end the inning. Wacha threw 17 pitches in the frame with 12 of them for strikes.

Pregame: After their 8-1 win in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night, the Red Sox will try to extend their series lead to two games Thursday night.

The Red Sox are currently on a nine-game World Series winning streak, having also won four straight games in each of the 2004 and 2007 World Series.

John Lackey gets the start for the Red Sox; he will be opposed by Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha. Lackey is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two postseason starts this year. In his Game 3 ALCS start against the Tigers, he threw 6.2 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and recording eight strikeouts, a career postseason high.

Michael Wacha has been lights out in his short postseason career. In three starts this postseason, the 22-year-old is 3-0 and has allowed just one run and eight hits in 21 innings pitched, striking out 22 and walking just four. He was named NLCS MVP after two dominant starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the youngest winner of the award since Steve Avery in 1991.

After David Ross caught Game 1 due to his recent success with Jon Lester, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will get the start tonight for the Red Sox after he caught John Lackey’s strong performance in the ALCS.

Prior to the game, the Red Sox welcomed back former Red Sox players Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, and Trot Nixon, who helped the Red Sox end their 86-year championship drought. The three spoke at a press conference two hours before the game. They will also be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Commissioner Bud Selig also held a press conference before the game, in which Mariano Rivera was presented a Historic Achievement Award by the commissioner.

As they did in Game 1, MLB has dedicated Game 2 to the work of a specific group: the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Military Youth of the Year, RaShaan Allen, will deliver the first ball to the mound along with Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who is a Boys & Girls Clubs of America alumnus himself.

The National Anthem for the game will be sung by five-time Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter James Taylor. He will also be on hand to perform "God Bless America" prior to the seventh inning stretch.

Buchholz still on track for Game 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 07:03 PM

Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz remains on track to start Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday despite tightness in his shoulder that has required treatment over the last few days.

Buchholz started Game 3 of the Division Series and Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. But the injury will bump him back and Jake Peavy will start Game 3 on Saturday in St. Louis.

"Felt like the overriding thing was an additional day of rest for him and he’s going to go Sunday," manager John Farrell said on Thursday.

The Red Sox had Felix Doubront throw a three-inning simulated game on Tuesday. But there are no concrete plans about who could start Game 4 if Buchholz is scratched.

“It depends on who’s used the next two [games]," Farrell said. "We know that we have multiple guys [in the bullpen] who can go multiple innings. [Ryan] Dempster being one, Doubront another. If we have to piece it together, we’ll adjust accordingly. To say that we’re going to have a guy warming alongside Clay, we’re not at that point.”

If the Red Sox want to remove Buchholz from the roster because of the injury, MLB would have to approve.

“Typically when a player is injured, it’s because they’ve been hurt inside that series,” Farrell said. “If it’s not something that’s currently taking place, there’s got to be some documentation along the way that there’s something going on here. It’s even subjective to that point to how deep they examine the case. Would they allow a change? We don’t know that.”

If the Red Sox did attempt a roster move, lefthanded reliever Matt Thornton is the only non-roster pitcher who has continued throwing.

A few other Red Sox notes:

• The Red Sox will lose the DH in St. Louis. But there are no plan to have Mike Napoli catch or play any other position. Either Napoli or David Ortiz will be out of the starting lineup.

• Farrell didn't expect the umpires to change the call in the first inning on Wednesday when Pete Kozma dropped the ball at second base on the force.

Honesty I was a little surprised that it was changed,” he said. “Typically you don’t see that happen.”

Farrell sprinted out of the dugout to argue when the call was made. “I almost thought about hook sliding,” he said.

• Dustin Pedroia on Xander Bogaerts: "He's been unbelievable. Not only on the field but the way he acts in the clubhouse, the respect he gives everybody. He works his tail off, too. The sky is the limit for him. And him getting this experience and playing on this stage, it's only going to help him down the road. He's going to take over a leadership role, too, soon. This guy has it all and we're happy to have him here."

• Pedroia on whether the accusation that Jon Lester cheated had validity: "I don't know what that word is, man. Arizona State education, bro." He later said that he saw nothing unusual in the action on Lester's pitches.

• Pedroia also discussed the torn ligament in his left thumb he has been playing with since Opening Day: "It was a little difficult. Actually in the end, I'm going to look back and it helped me because I kind of take huge swings in the past trying to hit home runs, and sometimes I get a longer swing than what I normally have, when I just use my hands and stuff like that.

"So that kind of helped me being short to the ball, making sure I go the other way, not try and pull everything. But it's one of those things, I did it to myself, I slid headfirst into first. I don't think I'll ever do that again."

Lester denies cheating in Game 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 05:51 PM

Jon Lester saw the image of what looks like green goo on his glove in Game 1 of the World Series.

"It looks bad,” he said Thursday. “But I can honestly tell you that all I use is rosin.”

In a since-deleted message on Twitter, a Cardinals minor league pitcher named Tyler Melling questioned whether Lester was hiding Vaseline in his glove to use on the ball. But Lester said the substance is rosin, which is legal.

"I sweat a lot," said Lester. "My hat's got sweat dripping off the brim sometimes. I've put rosin on my hat before to try to stop it. You do a lot of different things to try to contain it.

"Even on a cold night like last night, I'm still sweating. You've got to do certain things to get a grip on the ball and not let it slip. Rosin is one of those things that seemed to help me."

Lester, who threw 7.2 scoreless innings in Game 1 Wednesday, allowing five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts, patiently answered questions about the situation Thursday. That Melling, a 25-year-old Single A pitcher, questioned his integrity seemed to amuse Lester more than anything.

"I guess it's a compliment," Lester said. "I know what I do day in and day out to prepare to pitch for big league games. I know not once I've cheated, won't cheat, and I'll continue to hold that as part of who I am.

"[Melling] has his opinion, he has his right to hold his opinion on it. The picture, like I said, does look bad, but it's rosin."

Red Sox manager John Farrell suggested the image Melling posted was manipulated electronically.

"I did see the picture," said Farrell. "Someone sent me the picture. How it's lime green, I don't know. Maybe somebody has the ability to Photoshop. It seems pretty unique."

Lester said the material "looked like a big booger" on his glove.

"I don't know how it looked like that," he said.

Farrell said it's a matter of Lester getting a grip on the ball.

"If you know Jon Lester, he sweats like a pig and needs rosin, like every other pitcher," Farrell said. "He chooses to keep it in his glove. You'll see [John] Lackey tonight, he keeps it on his arm."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny distanced the team from Melling's accusations.

"This was not instigated by us," said Matheny. "The way that we approach this is we just play the game. We don't deny that some things have been acknowledged and if that's what [Lester] claims, then that's what it is. That's all there is to it and right now it's pretty much a dead issue."

Lester said the controversy, such as it is, would not change how he approached his next start.

"No. I think MLB and St. Louis and the GM of the Cardinals [John Mozeliak], everybody handled it professionally," he said. "I don't see why I would [change]."

Beltran in lineup for Cardinals

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 05:46 PM

The Cardinals have not yet posted their lineup for Game 2. Manager Mike Matheny was waiting to get a read on the condition of Carlos Beltram and his bruised ribs.

Beltran is in the lineup but that is contingent on his getting through batting practice.

World Series Game 2: Cardinals at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 03:50 PM

bunting.jpg

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:
2013_ws_logo.jpg
RED SOX (1-0, 97-65 regular season)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (2-0, 3.00 postseason; 10-13, 3.52 regular season).

CARDINALS (0-1, 97-65 regular season)
Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltrán RF
Matt Holliday LF
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
Allen Craig DH
David Freese 3B
John Jay CF
Daniel Descalso
Pitching: RHP Michael Wacha (3-0, 0.43 postseason; 4-1, 2.78 regular season).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/radio: Fox / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Wacha: No history.

Cardinals vs. Lackey: Beltran 0-9, Holliday 0-7.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox have outscored the Cardinals, 32-13, in their last five World Series games, 15-2 in the last three.

Nap time: Mike Napoli's 13 World Series RBIs are the most ever in a player's first eight World Series games. The last player with 13 RBIs in any eight-game span was Reggie Jackson.

Key matchup: Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .372 with a .449 OBP in the postseason and has scored 11 runs in 11 games. The Cardinals need to start this game well after Wednesday's debacle, and that will mean Wacha has to keep Ellsbury off the bases.

Notes: Since 1993, every home team that has won Game 1 of the Series has gone on to win the Fall Classic. The winner of the first game, home or away, has won the Series 62 percent of the time ... The Red Sox have won nine consecutive World Series games, matching the fourth-longest streak in history. The last team to win 10 straight was the Yankees, who won 14 straight from 1996-2000 ... Lackey is facing the Cardinals for the first time in his career. He is 5-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 14 postseason games. This is his first World Series game since he won Game 7 for the Angels against the Giants in 2002. Lackey has allowed four earned runs in 12 postseason innings this season. Lackey had a 3.09 ERA against NL teams this season in six starts. He also had a 2.47 ERA in 13 starts at Fenway ... Wacha has been Koufaxian in the postseason in three starts: 21 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 22 K. The 22-year-old was drafted in 2012 out of Texas A&M. His fastball has been located on the corners and he throws a changeup and curveball for strikes ...The Red Sox are 42-26-1 (.618) in 69 World Series games, the second-best win percentage by any team in World Series play behind Toronto (.667, 8-4) ... The Sox are 7-3-1 overall in the second game of a World Series, winning their last three since a loss against the Reds in 1975.

Song of the Day: "I Second That Emotion" by Smokey Robinson.

World Series Game 2 chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 02:08 PM

Game 1 went about as well as the most optimistic Red Sox fan could have hoped, with Jon Lester pitching a gem, David Ortiz homering, and the Cardinals committing a comedy of errors. John Lackey gets the ball tonight against Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha as the Red Sox try to secure a 2-0 lead heading to St. Louis. Chad Finn of the Globe and Boston.com will moderate our conversation about all of that and more right here at 7 p.m. Check in below to join in.

 

MLB refutes accusation about Lester made by St. Louis minor leaguer

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 11:35 AM

A Cardinals minor leaguer has accused Jon Lester of doctoring the ball in Game 1 of the World Series.

Tyler Melling, a 25-year-old Single A pitcher, questioned on Twitter whether Lester was using Vaseline in his glove.

The web site Deadspin published the accusation and linked to a brief video produced by a Cardinals fan.

Said an MLB spokesman: “We cannot draw any conclusions from this video. There were no complaints from the Cardinals, and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game.”

The Cardinals had 40 or so people in their dugout for the game. There also were six umpires on the field.

Lester also threw predominantly fastballs during the game. A review of pitch charts showed no pitches with unusual breaking action that a foreign substance would produce.

It is common in baseball, especially in cold weather, for pitchers to use pine tar or resin to improve their grip on the ball. This is allowed by Major League Baseball.

It also seems unlikely that Lester would put a substance that was not allowed on his glove in full view of the Cardinals, the umpires and television cameras.

Earlier this season, several Toronto broadcasters accused Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz of putting a substance on the ball. MLB dismissed that charge as lacking in credence. One of the broadcasters, former major leaguer Jack Morris, later apologized to Buchholz.

UPDATE, 12:18 p.m.: "As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue," Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It's something that arose in social media and not from our players or manager or our coaching staff. To me it does not represent a concern."

World Series Today: Quick turnaround for Game 2

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 24, 2013 08:18 AM



By the time you're done raving about the Red Sox' Game 1 victory it'll be time to focus on Game 2, although something tells us the guys in the video above might extend the party right up until gametime.

Here's some details on tonight's game and a brief directory of some good content.

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

Weather: Cold again with some wind, but doesn't look like any rain in the forecast.

Live coverage today on Boston.com:
-- Boston Sports Live at noon features Chris Gasper and John Powers recapping Game 1 and looking ahead to Game 2 (with a little Patriots-Dolphins talk mixed in there).

-- Live Pregame Today from Fenway Park at 5 p.m.

-- Chad Finn hosts a pregame chat at 7 p.m.

-- Live in-game blog at 8 p.m. for updates and commentary. For the mobile version, click here.

Pregame/in-game details:
-- First pitch honors go to members of the 2004 Red Sox World Series team.

-- James Taylor will sing the national anthem before the game and America the Beautiful in the 7th inning.

-- There will be a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings during the game.

Worthwhile links:
-- Peter Abraham has a complete report on Game 1 on BostonGlobe.com, where you can also find analysis in Nick Cafardo's On Baseball, columns by Christopher L. Gasper and Dan Shaughnessy, and plenty more from this morning's special section in the Globe.

-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz says Game 1 was the Cardinals' "comedic tribute to the 2004 World Series, 10 years after," along with plenty of other jabs at the hapless performance by St. Louis in Game 1.

300pumpkins.jpg-- With the possibility of a Game 7 falling on Halloween, both the Red Sox and Cardinals have made pumpkin-carving templates available on their websites. Gotta love the beard design for the Sox. (Many other teams have these as well in the fan sections of their websites)

-- The Globe staff photographers created an excellent gallery of shots from Game 1.

-- Boston.com's Emily Wright has been sent ahead to scout out St. Louis and connect with Red Sox Nation there ahead of the series shifting there for Game 3 on Saturday. Here's her live blog about her experiences.

-- Last, colleagues at MLB Network shared the video below, a particularly compelling feature about the impact the Red Sox have had on Boston following the Boston Marathon bombings.

Wrapping up Game 1 from Fenway Park

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 01:56 AM

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Jim Davis / Globe Staff
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A few notes, quotes and observations from Game 1:

• The Cardinals had three errors, a dropped pop-up and a wild pitch that led to a run. A fundamentally sound team was inept tonight and the Red Sox attacked every mistake.

"That's the way we have played all season. When the opposition makes mistakes we take advantage of them,” David Ortiz said.

Was Game 1 a fluke or are the Red Sox that much better? We'll learn more in Game 2. There's a lot riding on the shoulders of young Cardinals starter Michael Wacha.

“We had a wake-up call,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “That’s not the kind of team we’ve been all season and they’re frustrated. I’m sure embarrassed to a point.”

• Thanks to Jon Lester, the Red Sox now have a 2.86 ERA in 11 postseason games. Lester is 3-1 with a 1.67 in his four starts.

Lester is often criticized for not being a true ace. But he has been just that since the All-Star break and even better in the postseason. Lester dominated the Cardinals with his four-seam fastball and cut fastball.

"We wanted to set the tone and get them swinging. That's important for my game as far as getting that fastball and cutter involved, and make sure that they're not able to just lock in and key on certain areas on me," Lester said.

• The impact David Ross is having on this postseason is significant. The Red Sox are 3-1 in games he has started. His knowledge of the Cardinals (from his time in the National League) is going to be a great assistance to the Sox even when he's not catching.

• The umpires did the right thing in changing that call in the first inning. Much will be made about it, especially in St. Louis, but it's really about doing the right thing in the end.

“As a crew we want to get everything right,” crew chief John Hirschbeck said. “We want to be perfect at our job. … Sometimes that doesn’t happen but the ultimate thing is you want to get the play right.”

DeMuth admitted he blew the ball and that Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma never caught the ball. "It's an awful feeling," he said.

• Ortiz has 16 career postseason home runs, four coming this season. He is tied for eighth-most in postseason history. Ortiz has 57 career postseason RBIs. Only Bernie Williams (80), Manny Ramirez (78), David Justice (63) and Derek Jeter (61) have more.

• Not sure how much of a correlation there is here. But the Red Sox are 7-0 in the postseason when Jonny Gomes starts. That he is 5 for 28 (.179) seems almost secondary to his magic powers of winning and beard growing. Gomes did make a nice catch in the fifth inning.

• Mike Napoli has 16 RBIs and nine extra-base hits in his last 19 postseason games. "I love this stage. It's in the spotlight. I really enjoy this time of year, I guess," he said. "It's just going out there and getting the job done."

• The Clay Buchholz situation is far from being settled. Buchholz have himself an out tonight, saying he would not pitch if he thought he would hurt the team. The Red Sox are clearly preparing Felix Doubront for a possible start.

• Ryan Dempster gave up a run in the ninth inning. But he was smiling wide as he talked about pitching in the World Series for the first time in his long career. "I'm going to have trouble getting to sleep," he said.

• James Taylor will perform the National Anthem before Game 2. Several members of the 2004 Red Sox will throw out first pitches. Tim Wakefield. Mike Timlin, Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar were among the ’04 Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday. Curt Schilling was there, too, working for ESPN. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for Colleen Ritzer, the Danvers High teacher who was murdered, allegedly by a student. … Retired Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will receive the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award before Game 2. He will be honored on the field as well. ... Game 1 brought out the celebrities. Local products Ken Casey, Matt Damon, John King, Mike O’Malley, John Slattery and Micky Ward were at Fenway along with Patriots players Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Rob Ninkovich and Matthew Slater and owner Robert Kraft. Actors Jon Hamm, Timothy Hutton and Rob Lowe took in the game as did singers Kenny Chesney and Nick Jonas.

Beltran's status for Game 2 is uncertain

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 01:35 AM

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By Julian Benbow, Globe staff

Carlos Beltran's status for Game 2 is uncertain. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in the middle of the Cardinals 8-1 World Series Game 1 loss the Red Sox, after crashing into the short fence in right field, robbing a David Ortiz home run.

X-rays and CT scans were negative, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.

“I hate speculating,” Mozeliak said. “Obviously, we'll see how he looks tomorrow and at point, I probably can add more color to it. But at this point, hopefully he can play tomorrow.”

The play saved what would have been Ortiz's second grand slam of the postseason, turning it into a sacrifice fly that plated David Ross.

“I was thinking it was a great play,” Molina said. “I never thought that he was going to be hurt on the play. When we got the three outs, we got back to the dugout, I got the news that Carlos was hurt. It's sad. It's too bad.”

In his 16 years in the league, Beltran had never reached the World Series. His first taste of the Fall Classic lasted just two innings. He did return to the ballpark to speak with team trainers.

“It's tough,” Molina said. “It's tough when you see a guy like that wait for so long for a game to go down in the second inning. It's too bad. Too bad."

• In his first action since September, Allen Craig went 1 for 4 with a single in the fourth inning and said even though he let some good pitches get by him, he felt good overall.

"I thought I saw the ball pretty well today,” Craig said. “I definitely missed some pitches to hit. Lester pitched really tough today. He did a good job not leaving too many balls over the plate. Obviously, he's tough.

He had a pair of six-pitch battles with Lester. In the first one, he managed to shoot one of Lester’s cutters through the left side of the infield.

In the second one, he got caught staring at the same pitch for strike three

“I felt pretty good,” Craig said. “I felt maybe I missed a few pitches that I fouled off, but who's to say I wouldn't have missed those pitches two-and-a-half months ago. I felt good in the box and saw the ball decent. So just build from that.”

• Matheny used five relievers to finish out the final three innings, looking to get his young arms in the bullpen acclimated to the World Series environment.

It was only two months ago that 21-year-old Carlos Martinez was in Triple A Memphis, blowing his 98-mile-per-hour fastball by the New Orleans Zephyrs.

He faced four batters in the eighth inning.

Matheny split the seventh inning three ways, using veteran lefty Randy Choate to get Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out, giving his 25-year-old righty Seth Maness a crack at Shane Victorino (lined out) and Dustin Pedroia (reached on an error), and throwing his 23-year-old lefty Kevin Siegrist at David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.

Siegrest gave up a two-run blast to Ortiz.

“I think it's important for them to be out there,” Matheny said. “It's been a long wait, too; we've had quite a few days off, too. It was good to get them out to feel a World Series mound and feel the energy. So next time we get them out there, it's hopefully in a different situation and they'll feel a little more comfortable.”

Buchholz hoping to start Game 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 24, 2013 01:34 AM

Clay Buchholz said Wednesday night that he has been dealing with tightness in his right arm since his last start. But he hopes to be able to start in Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday in St. Louis.

Buchholz said a series of tests earlier this week showed no specific injury..

“I couldn’t really get loose. … It was a constant tightness that I felt. That’s all there is. I’m going to go. That’s my only goal, to be prepared to start on Sunday.”

Jake Peavy confirmed that he would start Game 3 on Saturday.

Buchholz, while confident he will be able to pitch, opened to the door to being scratched.

“That’s our goal, for me to be out there on Sunday. I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen and be well enough to go out there and give the team a chance to win,” he said. “If that’s me going out there at 90 percent, I’ll go out there at 90 percent.

“But if it does come down to the wire and I’m going to run out there and not help the team win, there’s no reason for me to run out there. The last couple of days have been the rehab and working with the trainers.”

If Buchholz cannot start, lefthander Felix Doubront could move into the rotation.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said the team would look to give Buchholz all the time off it could.

“That would point to Sunday,” he said after the Sox won Game 1 of the Series, 8-1.

Buchholz struggled after throwing 74 pitches over four innings in his first postseason start. In his second start, Buchholz wore down after throwing 62 pitches over five innings. In his third start, on Saturday, the problems popped up after 74 pitches and five innings.

In all three cases he lost command and some velocity. Buchholz missed three months this season with a shoulder injury before returning in September and making four starts.

“I’ve got maybe one start left. This is where you want to throw it all on the line. That’s sort of how I’m looking at it right now,” Buchholz said. “I haven’t been 100 percent in a long time now.”

Mobile users unable to see the video, click here.

Lester delivers ace performance in Game 1

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 24, 2013 01:13 AM

The Red Sox were looking for an ace performance in Game 1 of the World Series, and Jon Lester delivered Wednesday night, allowing no runs while striking out eight in 7 2/3 innings.

"He's been doing it all year," said Mike Napoli. "He's a big time pitcher. We have all the confidence in the world when he's out there throwing the baseball."

Working with catcher David Ross, Lester received plenty of run support early and settled into a groove. He threw 10 of 12 pitches for strikes in the first inning and threw 35 pitches through the first three innings.

"We know how aggressive they can be at times," said Lester. "And late in the game they tried to slow some things down and take some pitches after that. So we wanted to set the tone and get them swinging. That's important for my game as far as getting that fastball and cutter involved, and make sure that they're not able to just lock in and key on certain areas on me."

There was potential for trouble in the 4th inning when Lester loaded the bases, but the lefthander induced David Freese into a comebacker to the mound, which the Sox turned into a 1-2-3 double-play. Lester threw 112 pitches; the eight strikeouts were a playoff career high.

Recently, Lester has been on a roll with battery mate David Ross.

"The last probably six times Jon has gone to the mound, David has caught him," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "They've really developed, I think, a really good rapport. Their ability to read swings and make some adjustments from at‑bat to at‑bat or each time through the lineup. And we did it in the two games that Jon pitched against Detroit. So everything right now would point to that same tandem."

Lester agreed with his manager.

"For whatever reason right now me and Rossy are clicking," said Lester. "That's nothing against what Salty does behind the plate, and we've had plenty of good games together. So for whatever reason it is, things are just working out right now."

In five career postseason Game 1 starts Lester has an ERA of 1.56, walking 10 batters while striking out 31. In two World Series starts he has not allowed a run.

Momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher, and the Sox have already used their most reliable one. Still, Farrell said the tone of the series was set with a win in Game 1.

"Whether we view this as three different series inside of one -- a two game set here, three over there, and possibly two back here -- always getting that first one out of the way is a good feeling, to continue to try and build some momentum," said Farrell. "I thought we played a very good game all the way around tonight."

Farrell also chimed in on reversal of an out call in the first inning that loaded the bases for Napoli, who promptly cleared them with a double.

"From the dugout view I thought it was pretty clear that ball tipped off the fingertips of his glove," said Farrell. "We're fully accepting the neighborhood play, but my view is it wasn't even that. There was no entry into the glove with the ball. And to their credit they did confer. The one thing is we just strive to get the call correct. Based on their group conversation, surprisingly to a certain extent, they overturned it and I think got the call right."

On how often his argument with an umpire usually works, Farrell said, "I can't say it's too often."

Cardinals 'embarrassed to a point' after Game 1

Posted by Staff October 24, 2013 12:48 AM

The St. Louis Cardinals had four days off from the end of the NLCS, and it looked like they had accumulated a little rust in the early innings of Game 1 of the World Series.

The normally sound Cardinals defense looked off, as St. Louis recorded as many errors – three – in the game than they had all postseason, with everything adding up in the end to a 8-1 loss to the Red Sox.

“We had a wake-up call [tonight],” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. “That is not the kind of team we’ve been all season. And they’re frustrated. I’m sure embarrassed to a point. We get an opportunity to show the kind of baseball we played all season long and it didn’t look anything like what we saw tonight.

“Right now everybody is kind of gathering themselves and putting things together on what they need to do to get back, not anything more, but certainly not anything less than what they’ve done all season.”

The trouble started on a David Ortiz ground ball to second base in the bottom of the first, Matt Carpenter flipped the ball to Pete Kozma covering second base, who missed the catch allowing Dustin Pedroia to slide in safe. The umpire originally called Pedroia out, but an argument by John Farrell and a meeting of the umpires resulted in an overturned call.

"That's not a play I have ever seen before," Matheny said. "And I'm pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that have never seen that play before either. It's a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. Now, I get that they're trying to get the right call, I get that. [But it's a] tough one to swallow."

The play was ruled an error, which immediately opened the door for a three-run double by Mike Napoli that gave the Red Sox an early lead.

The next inning, Stephen Drew led off with a pop up in front of the pitcher’s mound, but Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina both expected the other to catch it and the ball dropped in for a hit, a play that technically did not result in an error, but was one to everyone but the scorekeeper. Another Kozma error later in the second inning allowed the Red Sox to load the bases again and tack on two more runs, giving the Cardinals a five-run deficit after just two innings.

“[I’m not] singling any one particular guy out. They understand [what went wrong] and they know the caliber of players that they are and how they’ve played all season,” Matheny said. “We’ve really had a nice tight defense, especially in our infield: guys making plays and doing it on a consistent basis. And there’s no reason to accept anything less and there’s no reason to expect anything less.”

Wainwright also looked shaky early on, allowing the five runs over the first two innings with three of them earned. Wainwright settled down later in the game, however, even recording back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth innings.

“I thought he got better as he went. I thought he threw better than what his line showed,” said Matheny. “We absolutely gave too many bases, gave too many opportunities. And extra outs in situations like this against teams like this, they’re going to kill you.

“Adam made some good pitches, had a couple of balls hit hard, but a lot of them just found the right spots, but again he did get better as he went, and I know he can’t wait to get back out there.”

Wainwright finished the day pitching five innings and allowing five runs on six hits, with one walk and four strikeouts.

The Cardinals had plenty of chances to get back into the game, loading the bases with one out in the fourth inning and having runners on second and third in the fifth.

But Jon Lester and the Red Sox defense shut down any chance of a Cardinals rally, with Lester, David Ross, and Mike Napoli turning a huge 1-2-3 double play to end the fourth and forcing Jon Jay to ground out to shortstop to end the fifth.

“[Lester] did everything he had to do,” Matheny said. “He kept us off balance and made pitches all night. And so that’s kind of what we expected and we just expected for us to, one, obviously put some runs on the board, but also keep them off. We had a tough time doing the latter.”

Matt Holiday hit a home run into the Green Monster seats in the top of the ninth, but it was too little, too late, as the solo shot produced the only run the Cardinals could score all night.

Another issue the Cardinals may have to deal with is the status of right fielder Carlos Beltran. Beltran made a sensational catch over the bullpen wall on what could have been a grand slam by David Ortiz in the bottom of the second, but was forced to leave the game after suffering a rib injury making the play.

“Carlos was taken out of the game with an injury to his ribs,” said Matheny. “[He] went in to have X-rays and [a] CT scan done here locally and everything came back negative. He’s going to be day-to-day.”

The Cardinals will turn to rookie starter Michael Wacha Thursday night to try and even this series heading back to St. Louis. The NLCS MVP is 3-0 over 21 innings in three postseason starts, allowing just eight hits and one run with 22 strikeouts and just four walks over that span.

Farrell praises offensive approach in Game 1 win

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 24, 2013 12:09 AM

Red Sox manager John Farrell was pleased with his team's patience in an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night.

"I think once again we were able to go into the game with our approach," Farrell said of his offense. "I thought we had a lot of quality at bats that we were able to build some pitch counts against [Adam] Wainwright."

Wainwright walked just 35 batters vs. 219 strikeouts on the season, but he walked Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the bottom of the first inning Wednesday. The Cardinals starter threw 31 pitches in the first inning, in part because the defense behind him wasn't sharp and in part because his stuff wasn't sharp, either.

"Everything I threw tonight was pretty garbage," said Wainwright.

The Sox scored three runs in the first inning and two in the second inning to set the tone for the game, and, as has been the case lately, first baseman Mike Napoli was at the center of it. Napoli's three-run double got the scoring started.

"I had the bases loaded," said Napoli. "I'm just trying to get a ball up into the air in the outfield in that situation.Got myself into a good hitter's count and got a pitch I could handle to drive out there."

Farrell praised the play of his first baseman.

"His extra-base power is clear," said Farrell. "I think of the nine hits he's got, six have come of the extra base variety. He got on top of a fastball in that situation. He's come up big for us. In Game 3 in Detroit and every game since he's been right in the middle of a lot of our multi-run innings.

"We talked about it even coming out of the Tampa series. We ride the peaks and valleys with him. He's got some streakiness to his career path.When he's in the good side of those streaks he's had the ability to carry us. He's doing that right now."

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Final: Red Sox 8, Cardinals 1

Posted by Staff October 23, 2013 09:30 PM


Final, 8-1 Red Sox: Ryan Dempster came in to pitch the ninth inning for the Red Sox, with Nava staying in to play left field. Matt Holliday led off the inning with a home run into the Green Monster seats, but Dempster got Allen Craig to fly out to right for the first out and got Molina to fly out to second base for the second out. Freese lined a hit to right field that Victorino fired back in to first, but Freese just beat the throw to the bag. Dempster then struck out Adams to end the game and secure the win for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox finished the game with eight runs on eight hits and recorded just one error. The Cardinals scored just one run on seven hits while committing three errors. Jon Lester picked up the win, while Adam Wainwright took the loss. The Red Sox lead the series 1-0, with John Lackey getting the start tomorrow against the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha.

End of the 8th, 8-0 Red Sox: With the Sox now up 7-0, John Farrell let Jon Lester come back out for the eighth inning. He got Kozma to ground out to shortstop to start the inning, and then got Ellsbury to fly out to center. Farrell then came out of the inning to lift his starter, who left the field to a standing ovation after throwing 7.2 innings and allowing no runs on 5 hits with eight strikeouts and just one walk. He threw 111 pitches; 76 of them were strikes. Junichi Tazawa came in to finish the inning, who got Jay to strike out looking to end the inning.

Carlos Martinez came in pitch for the Cardinals in the bottom of the inning and gave up a double to pinch-hitter Daniel Nava, who later advanced to third on a wild pitch to Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts hit a sac fly to left that scored Nava to give the Sox their eighth run of the game. Drew then grounded out to first base for the second out and Ross flew out to right to end the inning.

End of the 7th, 7-0 Red Sox: Lester came back out for the seventh and struck out Freese to start the inning and then got Adams to ground out to Bogaerts for a quick second out. Lester struck out Robinson to end the frame with another 1-2-3 inning.

Randy Choate came in to pitch for the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh, who promptly got Ellsbury to ground out to second base. He was the removed from the game in favor of Seth Maness, who got Victorino to line out to first base on a leaping grab by Adams. Pedroia then laced a grounder to third base that Freese skipped over to first and Adams could not handle the throw and Pedroia was safe. Maness was then taken out and Kevin Siegrist became the third Cardinal pitcher of the inning. Ortiz then launched a bomb to right field for a two-run homer to put the Red Sox up 7-0. Napoli lined out to center, but the Red Sox headed into the eighth now up seven runs.

End of the 6th, 5-0 Red Sox: Holliday flew out to right field to start the sixth inning and Lester got a quick second out with a strikeout of Craig. Molina then popped out to first base for the final out of the frame; Lester had thrown 91 pitches through a full six inning.

John Axford came in to pitch for the Cardinals before the start of the inning, who got his night off to a great start by striking out the side of Bogaerts, Drew, and Ross.

End of the 5th, 5-0 Red Sox: Adams led off the inning with a rocket to left field, but Jonny Gomes made a diving catch to save extra bases and get the out. Robinson then singled to left to get a runner on base, but Kozma then flew out to Victorino for the second out. Carpenter then singled to left to move Robinson to second and both were able to move up on an error by Gomes. Lester got Jay to ground to shortstop and Drew made a running throw to first to get the final out and strand the runners on second and third.

Pedroia led off the inning with a shot to right that looked like it would fall, but Robinson made a running catch into the wall for the out. Ortiz singled to center for the first Red Sox hit since the second inning, but was put out at second on a fielder’s choice grounded into by Napoli. Gomes then grounded to the shortstop who threw to second base for the final out of the inning.

End of the 4th, 5-0 Red Sox: Jon Jay, who had just come into the game for Beltran, drew a walk to start the inning, but Lester got Holliday swinging for the first out. Craig singled to centerfield to move Jay to second, followed by another single by Molina to load the bases. Lester stuck in though, getting Freese to ground the ball right back to him; Lester threw the ball to home and Ross’ throw then beat Freese to first for a 1-2-3 double play to kill the Cardinals rally and get the Red Sox out of the bases loaded jam.

Ross struck out to start the bottom of the inning, and Ellsbury struck out looking for the second out. Victorino flew out to center for Wainwright’s second straight 1-2-3 inning.

End of the 3d, 5-0 Red Sox: Shane Robinson grounded the shortstop for the first out and Kozma popped out to Napoli for the second out. Lester then struck out Carpenter looking to end the inning, having through just 35 pitches through the game.

Before the start of the bottom of the inning, Beltran was removed from the game; Jon Jay took over in centerfield and Robinson moved over to right field. Jonny Gomes popped out to first base to begin the frame and Bogaerts grounded out to shortstop for a quick two outs. Drew then struck out for a 1-2-3 inning for Wainwright, his first of the game.

End of the 2d, 5-0 Red Sox: Yadier Molina struck out looking to begin the second inning and David Freese did the same for the second out. Matt Adams grounded out to second base for a quick 1-2-3 inning for Lester, having thrown just 10 pitches in the inning.

Stephen Drew popped up to the pitcher’s mound to start the bottom of the inning, but Wainwright an Molina both thought the other one had the ball and it fell to the ground for a hit. David Ross then hit a soft single to centerfield, but Ellsbury flew out to left for the first out of the inning. Victorino bounced a grounder to deep short, forcing Kozma to attempt a glove flip that he couldn’t handle and everyone was safe. Dustin Pedroia then singled to left to score Drew and extend the Red Sox lead to four runs. David Ortiz launched a deep fly ball to right that looked like it was going to be a grand slam, but Carlos Beltran made a great catch reaching into the bullpen; Ross was still able to score from third to make it 5-0 Red Sox. Napoli then grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning with the Sox now holding a five run lead.

End of the 1st, 3-0 Red Sox: Matt Carpenter grounded out to shortstop to start the game and Lester struck out Carlos Beltran swinging for the second out of the inning. Matt Holliday singled to centerfield for the first hit of the ballgame, but Allen Craig popped out to second base for the third out. Lester threw just 12 pitches in the inning, 10 of them were strikes.

Jacoby Ellsbury worked a walk to start the bottom of the first, but Shane Victorino then lined out to left for the first out. Dustin Pedroia singled to center to move Ellsbury to second. Ortiz grounded to the Carpenter at second base, who flipped it to the shortstop Kozma, but Kozma missed the catch. The umpire still called Pedroia out, which brought John Farrell out to argue as the Fenway crowd screamed at the missed call. The umpires conferred and reversed the call, bringing Pedroia back to second base, loading the bases for Mike Napoli. Napoli promptly laced a double to deep left center, scoring Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Ortiz to give the Sox a 3-0 lead. Jonny Gomes grounded out to second base for the second out, advancing Napoli to third base, but Xander Bogaerts struck out to end the inning. Wainwright threw 31 pitches in the inning.

Pregame: Starting tonight the Red Sox and Cardinals will square off in the 109th World Series. The Red Sox are coming off a 3-2 ALCS win over the Detroit Tigers, while the Cardinals won the NLCS over the Los Angeles Dodgers, also 3-2.

This is the Red Sox third World Series appearance in the past decade. The Cardinals are the only other baseball team to reach the Fall Classic that many times in that span, with this being their fourth appearance.

The Red Sox are currently holding a eight-game World Series winning streak, having defeated the Cardinals and Colorado Rockies each four straight times to win the World Series in 2004 and 2007, respectively.

MLB is dedicating Game 1 to honoring veterans and military families. Their will be a pregame ceremony in which living Medal of Honor recipients Salvatore Giunta, Clinton Romesha, and Williams Swenson will be honored.

Hall of famer Carl Yastrzemski will join these men on the field to throw out the first pitch. Mary J. Blige will sing the National Anthem tonight; the first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m.

The Red Sox also plan to hold a moment of silence before the game in honor of Colleen Ritzer, the 24-year-old Danvers High School teacher who was found dead earlier today.

Beltran leaves Game 1 with injury

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 23, 2013 09:17 PM

Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran left Game 1 of the World Series vs. the Red Sox with a right rib contusion. Beltran was injured while making a catch up against the bullpen wall to rob David Ortiz of a grand slam in the second inning.

Shane Robinson replaced Beltran in right field and Jon Jay entered the game in center field. Beltran was taken to a local hospital for further examination. He struck out in his only at bat.

Losing Beltran would be big for the Cardinals. Coming into his first World Series, the outfielder had six RBIs and a .423 OBP for St. Louis this postseason. His postseason slugging percentage and home run rate are among the highest in baseball history.

World Series Game 1 chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 06:56 PM

The Red Sox begin the final leg of their quest for their third World Series title in a decade tonight, and they'll do it against the same franchise they defeated nine years ago to end their 86-year drought. Jon Lester takes the ball for the Red Sox against Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals in Game 1. Let's talk about it all here during our pregame chat an hour before the first pitch is thrown. Check in below to join the fun.

 

Red Sox acquire OF Castellanos from Dodgers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 05:34 PM

The Red Sox today obtained outfielder Alex Castellanos from the Dodgers for Triple A outfielder Jeremy Hazelbacker and cash.

Castellanos appeared in eight games for Los Angeles this season, going 3 for 18 with a home run. The 27-year-old has 24 games of major league experience. He hit .257/.347/.468 for Triple A Albuquerque this season with 19 home runs and 19 stolen bases.

Castellanos had been designated for assignment by the Dodgers. He is a former 10th round draft pick of the Cardinals.

Righthander Pedro Beato was designated for assignment to make room for Castellanos on the 40-man roster.

Hazelbaker, 26, is an athletic outfielder who appeared to have plateaued as a prospect after an interesting first few seasons. He hit .257/.313/.374 with 11 homers and 37 steals for Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox would have had to place Hazelbaker on the 40-man roster this winter or expose him to the Rule 5 Draft.

Farrell: Buchholz will make his start

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 04:18 PM

When he met with beat writers this afternoon, Red Sox manager John Farrell did not deny that Clay Buchholz has a physical issue. But Buchholz, he said, will start either Game 3 or Game 4 in St. Louis.

"Not to the point of keeping him out of starting," Farrell said when asked if Buchholz was dealing with some kind of problem.

So there is an issue?

"Not to the point where he's not going to pitch," Farrell said.

But the Sox still have not decided on a Game 3 starter. Buchholz and Jake Peavy will start Games 3 and 4 in an order to be decided.

"If we feel that an additional day of rest for either is beneficial, we're certainly going to take advantage of that," Farrell said.

Peavy has not pitched since going three innings Oct. 16. It's highly unlikely that he would need extra rest. Buchholz pitched Saturday.

The Game 3 starter would be able to come back on normal rest to start a possible Game 7. Farrell acknowledged that part of the decision being made is whether Buchholz would be physically capable of doing that.

"That's being factored in," the manager said. "We have to stay conscious of that, given the last two starts when he's hit the wall, it's happened pretty quick. All that is being factored in."

Buchholz struggled after throwing 74 pitches over four innings in his first postseason start. In his second start, his problem came after throwing 62 pitches over five innings. In his third start, on Saturday, the problems popped up after 74 pitches and five innings.

In all three cases he lost command and some velocity. Buchholz missed three months this season with a shoulder injury before returning in September and making four starts.

Buchholz also worked at an extraordinarily slow pace in Game 6 of the ALCS and made repeated pickoff throws with runners on first. That is often a sign a pitcher is in some discomfort.

"I think just the intensity of each pitch ... you combine that with the high number of pickoffs and you're starting to add to the total number of throws," Farrell said. "What it shows is the intensity. Whether there's also a mental fatigue part that's coming into that because there's so much energy spent on controlling that side of it. We're working through those things to try to make that a little bit more at ease."

Farrell said the Red Sox want to watch John Lackey pitch Game 2 before deciding on a Game 3 starter.

"We're going to take a look at tomorrow, going to see how it goes with a righthander, because there's different styles between Peavy and Buchholz and that's where we'll adjust," Farrell said.

Farrell also claimed that the three-inning simulated game Felix Doubront threw Tuesday was scheduled. Doubront will not be available out of the bullpen until Game 2 as a result. The Red Sox also had lefthander Matt Thornton, who is not on the playoff roster, throw Tuesday.

It appeared that the Red Sox were preparing Doubront in case he is needed to make a start. It would be unusual for a team to purposely make a reliever unavailable for a game.

Doubront has thrown only 3.2 innings in the last month, counting the postseason. Farrell said it's uncertain how much the lefthander could pitch if he made a start at this point.

World Series Game 1: Cardinals at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 03:45 PM

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Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:
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RED SOX (0-0, 97-65 regular season)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Stephen Drew SS
David Ross C
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 2.33 postseason; 15-8, 3.75 regular season).

CARDINALS (0-0, 97-65 regular season)
Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Allen Craig DH
Yadier Molina C
David Freese 3B
Matt Adams 1B
Shane Robinson CF
Pete Kozma SS
Pitching: RHP Adam Wainwright (2-1, 1.57 postseason; 19-9, 2.94 regular season).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Wainwright: Victorino 5-22, Drew 2-19, Ross 2-11. Gomes 2-10, Carp 0-3.

Cardinals vs. Lester: Holliday 2-6, Beltran 1-1, Molina 0-3.

Stat of the Day: The Sox have won eight consecutive World Series games, the fifth-longest streak in history. The Yankees have had streaks of 12 (1996-2000), 12 (1927-32) and 10 (1937-41) and the Reds had a nine-game streak from 1975-90).

Key matchup: Red Sox base-stealers (Ellsbury, Victorino and Pedroia) against Molina. The Sox were aggressive all season and during the postseason, too. Molina is the best in the business at stopping a running game. How bold will the Sox be?

Notes: The Red Sox are back in the World Series for the first time since 2007. They were 7-3 in the first two rounds of the playoffs. ... The Sox are facing the Cardinals for the fourth time in the Fall Classic (1946, 1967 and 2004). They are 10-8 against St. Louis in Series play. ... Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, who faced the Cardinals in 1967, will throw out the first pitch. ... Lester is 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA in the postseason in his career. He is facing the Cardinals for the first time since a regular season game in 2008. ... Wainwright has never faced the Red Sox before. He is 4-1, 2.10 in 16 career postseason games, seven of them starts. ... Red Sox pitchers have a 3.05 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in the postseason with the bullpen having allowed only three runs over 32 innings. ... St. Louis pitchers have a 2.34 ERA and an 0.99 WHIP in the postseason. ... The Red Sox have yet to hit much in the postseason (.236/.325/.365) thanks to slumping hitters like Drew (3 for 35), Ortiz (7 for 35) and Victorino (9 for 38). The Sox also are 13 of their last 72 with runners in scoring position. But they scored enough runs to win three one-run games in the ALCS. ... The Sox are 41-26-1 in the World Series, 22-12-1 at home (15-10-1 at Fenway Park). ... The Sox are 8-3 in Game 1 of the Series, winning the last four they have played.

Song of the Day: "Back In The High Life Again" by Steve Winwood.

Pitching matchups for the World Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 12:41 PM

Game 1 at Boston on Wednesday: LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 2.33 postseason; 15-8, 3.75 regular season) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (2-1, 1.57 postseason; 19-9, 2.94 regular season), 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 2 at Boston on Thursday: RHP John Lackey (2-0, 3.00 postseason; 10-13, 3.52 regular season) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (3-0, 0.43 postseason; 4-1, 2.78 regular season), 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 3 at St. Louis on Saturday: TBA vs. TBA, 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 4 at St.Louis on Sunday: TBA vs. TBA, 8:15 p.m., FOX.

Game 5 in St. Louis in Monday (if necessary): TBA vs. TBA, 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 6 in Boston on Oct. 30 (if necessary): TBA vs. TBA, 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 7 in Boston on Oct. 31 (if necessary): TBA vs. TBA, 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Red Sox in 6? A World Series breakdown

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 10:35 AM

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The Red Sox are back on track regardless of what happens in the World Series.

The payroll is under control, the minor leagues are producing talent again and the men running the team, Ben Cherington and John Farrell, know what they're doing. The Red Sox should be contenders for at least a few years to come.

This season has been a rousing success after the last-place embarrassment of 2012, nothing can change that at this point.

But this particular team, this unique group, will never be the same and that is what makes the next nine days so vital. Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Napoli will be free agents. Trades will be made, prospects will arrive and the vaunted chemistry that marked this team will change.

"I want to win with this team this year," backup catcher David Ross said. "This is a special group. We need to finish this off."

Here's a look at how the Series might break down:

Starting pitching: The Cardinals are led by Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, the respected veteran and super-talented rookie. Wacha has allowed one run on eight hits in 21 postseason innings. The Sox counter with playoff-tested Jon Lester and John Lackey. The problem here for the Sox is Clay Buchholz hasn't looked particularly good in the postseason and is dealing with enough of a physical issue that Felix Doubront was told to get ready just in case. Jake Peavy has started four postseason games in his career and been bad in three of them. Edge: Cardinals.

Offense: The Red Sox were the highest-scoring team in baseball. But they have hit only .236 with a .690 OPS in the postseason. A full series out of rookie third baseman Xander Bogaerts could spark the offense. Jacoby Ellsbury (16 of 40) has been on a postseason roll. David Ortiz (1 of his last 15) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (one extra-base in 26 at-bats) have been quiet

Look for the Red Sox to game plan against Carlos Beltran and make other hitters beat them. Matt Holliday (.705 OPS in the postseason) hasn't done much yet. The Cardinals hit .269 in the regular season but a record .330 with runners in scoring position thanks to a .377 batting average on balls in play. That kind of good fortune is hard to rely on.

Allen Craig, who hasn't played since Sept. 4 because of a sprained foot, will get a chance to DH. He's a talented hitter, but seven weeks off is a lot of to overcome. Edge: Red Sox.

Bullpens: The back end of the Red Sox bullpen (Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa) has been terrific in the postseason but has to be exhausted. Three days off should help.The Cardinals have a hard-throwing bullpen. But they rely heavily on four rookies, including closer Trevor Rosenthal. The Sox need to get into the second level of that bullpen by grinding down the St. Louis starters. Edge: Red Sox.

Defense: In strong-armed catcher Yadier Molina, the Cardinals have a game-changing defender. The Red Sox are 11 of 13 in stolen bases during the postseason, but Molina will give them pause. He caught 43 percent of runners this season. The Red Sox have a much better overall team defense, particularly in the outfield. But Molina is so good that he matches a group effort. Edge: Even.

Bench: The Sox have a deeper bench thanks to regular-season stalwart Daniel Nava now being on it. David Ross will get a few starts. Mike Napoli coming off the bench in St. Louis is a weapon. The Cardinals have some outfield depth and Daniel Descalso is a solid player. But that's about it. Edge: Red Sox.

Managing/intangibles: Home-field advantage could be significant. The Red Sox are 57-29 at home counting the season and the Cardinals are 45-41 on the road. The Sox will suffer on the road by having to play either Ortiz or Mike Napoli at first base when they lose the DH. But their selection of pinch hitters could come into play. The Sox did not play the Cardinals this season but whupped up on the National League, going 14-6. The Cardinals were 10-10 against the AL. Edge: Red Sox.

Prediction: The Sox can thank the AL All-Stars for beating the NL and giving them home field advantage. Ortiz will emerge and win Game 1 or Game 2. The Sox won't finish the persistent Cardinals in St. Louis, but will get the job done behind Lackey at Fenway. This season is about redemption and Lackey is the symbol of that.

This unexpectedly fun, last-to-first season has to end with a party. Red Sox in six games.

Pedroia will Stand Up To Cancer during Game 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 10:25 AM

This from Major League Baseball and Stand Up To Cancer:

A new smart phone app provides users everywhere with an easy way to honor loved ones affected by cancer through multiple social media channels.

With the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) app, available for iPhone through the App Store, users can create custom photo placards naming the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, siblings, spouses, and friends in whose honor they are taking a stand against cancer.

Users can also share their placards on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook directly from the SU2C app.

To raise awareness and encourage friends and families to honor those affected by cancer through the app, SU2C will debut a new Public Service Announcement campaign entitled “Stand Up. Anytime. Anywhere.” during television coverage of Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday.

The PSA will air in connection with an in-stadium “SU2C Moment,” when players, coaches and fans all stand up holding SU2C placards in honor of loved ones who have contended with cancer.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia appears in the PSA, using the app to create a placard for his wife, Kelli, who is a melanoma survivor.

Users can get a direct link to download the SU2C app by texting STAND to 31826. Message and data rates may apply.

Red Sox set roster for World Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 10:12 AM

The Red Sox made no changes to their roster for the World Series. But they do have the ability to drop an injured player from the roster and replace him.

The roster as of today:

PITCHERS (11)
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Ryan Dempster
LHP Felix Doubront
RHP John Lackey
LHP Jon Lester
LHP Franklin Morales
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Brandon Workman.

CATCHERS (2)
David Ross,
Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

INFIELDERS (6)
3B-SS Xander Bogaerts
SS Stephen Drew
3B Will Middlebrooks
1B Mike Napoli
1B David Ortiz
2B Dustin Pedroia.

OUTFIELDERS (6)
CF Quintin Berry
LF-1B Mike Carp
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Jonny Gomes
LF-RF-1B Daniel Nava
RF-CF Shane Victorino.

A new view of Victorino's slam

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 23, 2013 09:45 AM

Acton-based OYO Sportstoys recreated the best highlights from the ALCS and NLCS, including a pair of Red Sox grand slams. This is pretty fun to watch:

World Series Today: All eyes turn to Boston

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 23, 2013 08:27 AM



Detractors like to point out the World Series is a misnomer because the only teams eligible are from Major League Baseball.

To that we respond with the video above, created by a group of Massachusetts National Guardsmen – A Company 3/126 Aviation Unit based on Cape Cod – and shared with us by Jessica Razook, whose husband, Abraham Razook, is a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in the unit. They are serving in Afghanistan.

It's the World Series because the world turns its eyes toward Major League Baseball for a little over a week in the fall to be captivated by the world's best players competing for a championship.

Red Sox pride has been shown across the globe throughout the playoffs, but this particular instance captures the essence of it.

"People forget there are still troops fighting for our freedom. They need to be reminded that these soldiers miss home, their families, and the things we take for granted such as watching the World Series," Jessica wrote in an email.

A powerful message as the World Series begins.

Now on to some details about Game 1, coverage plans on Boston.com, and links to some worthwhile content.

Game details: Game 1 is at 8:07 p.m. on FOX.

Weather: It's going to be cold. Our Weather Wisdom blog has the latest details on the forecast.

Live coverage on Boston.com: We'll have a live pregame show at 5 p.m. before every game of the World Series, featuring Chad Finn and guests including Globe Red Sox reporters. Tonight's special guest will be MLB Network's John Smoltz.

Finn will also hold a fan chat from 7 p.m. to gametime before each game.

In our gameday live blog, Steve Silva and others will bring you to the park for the latest news, photos, and social media commentary. During the game, you can add your comments.

All our live events will be accessible through a special page here.

Pregame details: Yaz will throw out the first pitch, and MLB will honor the military in a pregame ceremony featuring three Medal of Honor recipients who will join Yaz for the first pitch. They are Salvatore Giunta, Clinton Romesha, and William Swenson.

Mary J. Blige will sing the national anthem and in the bottom of the 7th, God Bless America will be sung by retired Marine Sgt. Dan Clark. Bank of America is providing flags for each fan at the game, and asks they be waved in the 7th.

You should know: The Boston Police Department has sent an advisory warning about fake World Series tickets, saying authorized ticket agencies are the best way to avoid being burned, and it's buyer beware if you purchase tickets anywhere else.

Worthwhile links:
Today's Boston Globe features a special section previewing the World Series featuring news, analysis, profiles and commentary by Peter Abraham, Nick Cafardo, Kevin Paul Dupont, Dan Shaughnessy, John Powers, Christopher L. Gasper, Julian Benbow and Gary Wahsburn. It's all located in a special section on BostonGlobe.com.

On Boston.com, we review the sports rivalry between Boston and St. Louis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a lot of interesting stories about the Cardinals, but our favorite thing they've done is an interactive game that asks you to match the beard to the Red Sox player who sports it.

The man who choreographs events at Fenway Park not only defended the team's use of the song "Sweet Caroline," in response to commentary by the Globe's Geoff Edgers, but he played it on the piano for a video feature by Steve Silva. Watch it here.

Lastly: Can't beat a little trash talk from the symphony orchestras of each city. Enjoy the World Series.

Middlebrooks deals with ups and downs

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 07:12 PM

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Will Middlebrooks can look back on the season and see all the highs and lows.

He was the Red Sox opening day starter at third base, looking to establish himself in his first full season, and when he hit three home runs in Toronto in April, it seemed like a statement to his possible permanence in the lineup.

He sunk into a slump in May, hitting .211 with 22 strikeouts, and things only got worse when he separated his ribs running into a wall trying to chase down a fly ball.

He rode a bus with the Pawtucket Red Sox in July, soaking up a difficult and humbling experience, so that when he eventually returned it would motivate him.

He came back in August and hit .311, and when the Sox began the playoffs he was again the starter at third.

Then he went went 4 for 23, forcing Sox manager John Farrell to go a different direction, giving rookie Xander Bogaerts the start in Game 5 of the ALCS.

“It's been a ride,” Middlebrooks said. “I don't know if it was always a fun one. It's a year that I wouldn't wish on anybody, to be honest. It was kind of to hell and back, to be honest. But I learned so much from this year. It's been the best and worst year all in one.”

“Obviously, dealing with injuries and not playing well and losing the job, it's just tough, man. Especially up here.

“Like I said, I wouldn't wish it on anybody, but at the same time, I wouldn't trade it, the stuff I learned this year and everything I did gain from it.”

Whatever the World Series has in store for him, he said, he’ll be ready.

“It's been a crazy year, but I know I'm going to have an opportunity to play at some point whether it's in the seventh inning, whether it's starting, whatever it is,” he said. “[Bogaerts has] the hot hand right now. You've got to play the hot hand if you want to win. So if he's banging balls off the wall, put him in there man.

“You need Stephen Drew's defense. That guy, he's a leader on the defensive side of the ball. So it just kind of leaves me odd man out right now. But I'm going to be ready. They're going to need me when a lefty comes in for Stephen or maybe even Ells at some point.”

He can handle the ups and downs better in the postseason because he dealt with them in the regular season

“It's easy to get mad and get frustrated and say, 'I worked my [butt] off this year, I feel like I deserve this,’ but you can’t,” Middlebrooks said. “You can't go there. Because then you lose all concept of the team and ultimately that's what it's about. None of these stats count, none of these hits count, none of these RBIs count. You either win or you lose in the playoffs and we want to win. So if that means me coming in, running bases in the seventh inning or pinch hitting, drawing a walk or hitting a single, whatever I've got to do, that helps us win. So that's what it's about.”

Throughout the year, Middlebrooks got advice from Jonny Gomes.

“In this game, how my path has been -- I mean I've done everything from couldn't get kicked out of the big leagues fast enough because of my performance to hitting walkoffs, to three homer games to All-Star votes to single-handedly winning games, to single-handedly losing games -- I wouldn't say I'm well-decorated when you talk about decorations with All-Star games and Silver Sluggers, but I'm well-decorated with the ups and downs and the bumps and grinds that the game can give you.

“So I've seen some of the similarities in Will and I, as far as the success and failure and how much of a whirlwind it is when you're young. You go from three-homer game to 12 strikeouts in a row, it's like, 'Been there, buddy. First-hand.' There's a lot of people who've played this game a long time and haven't failed. There's been people to play this game that haven't succeeded either. So I think I'm able to help guys out with that stuff.”

As difficult as the year has been for him, Middlebrooks said one day hopefully he can do for another young player what Gomes did for him.

“Everything I've learned this year, it's not only going to help me but if I'm lucky enough to be around this game for 10 years, I can help somebody who will be in this position,” Middlebrooks said. “It just happens. It's part of the game. It's happened to a lot of guys here.”

Issues with the Red Sox rotation?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 06:56 PM

Lefthander Felix Doubront is on the mound at Fenway Park throwing to teammates in a simulated game with manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington watching.

Such activity the night before Game 1 suggests that Doubront is being prepared in case he is needed to start a game later in the series.

Farrell did not name his Game 3 starter today. "On the weekend we'll have that a little more clear as that gets closer," he said.

He also hedged a bit when asked about the roster for the Series.

"No roster changes as of today," Farrell said. "We're going to do with the same 25 we finished the last series with, so that hasn't been adjusted."

The Red Sox have until 10 a.m. on Wednesday to submit their roster.

Further adding to the curiosity is that Matt Thornton, who is not on the roster, also is throwing. The only reason he would throw would be to get ready to be added to the roster.

Farrell denied today that Clay Buchholz is having any health issues.

"Yeah, everything is OK," he said. "We fully expect he and Jake [Peavy] to be pitching on the weekend in St. Louis."

But Buchholz was removed from Game 5 of the ALCS on Saturday after only 85 pitches over five-plus innings. He has not looked particularly crisp in his two playoff starts.

Buchholz did not attend today's mandatory press conference for the players.

UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: Two baseball sources said that Buchholz remains in the rotation and is expected to pitch in St. Louis on Saturday or Sunday. But the Sox had enough concern to prepare Doubront.

Yaz will throw out the first pitch before Game 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 06:37 PM

Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski will throw out the first pitch before Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

Jacoby Miller, the 5-year-old son of U.S. Air Force Captain Garrett Miller, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan, will yell “Play Ball!” before the start of Game 1. The Millers are from Glastonbury, Conn.

Deon Singletary, 14, from the West End House Boys and Girls Club in Allston will deliver the ball to the mound. He will be joined by Luis Tiant.

There will be a pre-game ceremony recognizing three living Medal of Honor recipients: Salvatore Giunta, Clinton Romesha and William Swenson.

Retired United States Marine Corps Sgt. Dan Clark will sing “God Bless America” before the bottom of the 7th inning.

Governors place a bet on the World Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 06:33 PM

It wouldn't be the World Series without politicians making bets.

Governor Deval Patrick and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a friendly wager ion the Series.

If the Red Sox win, Governor Nixon will donate a four-pack of Cardinal Cream Soda from Fitz’s Bottling Company in the Delmar Loop; a box of chocolates from Bissinger’s Chocolates; and an assortment of Italian baked goods from Missouri Baking Company on the Hill.

If the Cardinal’s win, Governor Patrick will donate New England Clam Chowder from Legal Sea Foods; a variety of beverages from Polar Beverages; and a selection of baked goods from Dancing Deer Bakery Co. in Boston.

"I thank the producers of these fine Massachusetts products but I don't think my friend Governor Nixon will get to enjoy them," Patrick said. "The team, the fans and the Commonwealth are ready for a great series with St. Louis -- and a great victory.”

“After the aberration of 2004, I look forward to the world seeing our Cardinals putting things back in their rightful order with the Red Sox, just as they did in 1946 and 1967,” Nixon said. “Hoisting the trophy would be a fitting tribute to Baseball’s Perfect Knight, the late Stan Musial, and winning the wager with Governor Patrick will cap off a great week of baseball.”

Lackey will start Game 2 for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 05:53 PM

The Red Sox will start righthander John Lackey in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday. He will oppose Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha.

John Farrell, somewhat curiously, did not name his Game 3 starter. Presumably that would be Clay Buchholz but not necessarily. The Series goes seven games, the Game 3 starter would be lined up for Game on regular rest.

Farrell also said that "as of today" the Red Sox are not changing their roster for the Series.

Lackey has pitched two postseason games this season. He allowed four runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings in a Division Series game against the Rays. Lackey then threw 6.2 shutout innings against Detroit in Game 3 of the ALCS.

Lackey is 5-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 16 postseason appearances. He pitched three times for the Angels in the 2002 World Series, allowing six runs over 12.1 innings.

Cards line up Wainwright and Wacha for first two games

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 05:33 PM

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With the way Michael Wacha's been pitching in the postseason -- giving up just one run in three starts, shutting the Dodgers out of 6.2 innings in Game 2 of the NLDS and then giving up just two hits over seven innings in the decisive Game 6 -- it would have been reasonable to wonder if St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would give the 22-year-old rookie the nod as the World Series Game 1 starter.

But with 16 playoff starts on his resume (three in the World Series), no one's more trusted in this environment than Adam Wainwright.

It will be his fourth time starting a Game 1 and the first time he's done in it the World Series.

"I'm not surprised I'm pitching Game 1," Wainwright said. "I do think that for years and years to come, we're going to have -- those guys are going to push me, if I want to keep pitching Game 1s. They're incredibly talented, they're pitching great. And I couldn't ask for a better band of mates going forward."

Wacha will get the ball for Game 2, Matheny said. Things might seem like they've moved at warps speed for Wacha, who just last February was at Texas A&M pitching against Holy Cross, but Matheny said his path to being one of the Cardinals most dominant arms required a degree of patience.

"When I saw Michael early in spring, we had a couple of opportunities to put somebody in our pen, and I was ready to run with Michael right away," Matheny said. "But a kid at that point, not even a year out of college, we had to be careful. So it was a plan that we stuck to and John Mozeliak and the staff did a great job of allowing us at times.

"We would push him, and then back him off. He went into a six-man rotation, he was in the bullpen. Not to the point that we were being arrogant thinking that we would be right here right now, but we wanted to be prepared. If we did bring Michael up at the end and he threw the ball well, and he deserved get a start, we wouldn't be concerned with innings, and right now we're happy where we are."

More Tigers notes:

• Allen Craig will be on the active roster, Matheny said. Craig has been sidelined since Sept. 4 with a foot injury.

Having the ability to use a DH makes Craig's presence that much more valuable.

"That gives us more depth," Matheny said. "We have a couple of hitters that we'd love to have in the lineup, and actually all season long we were in that situation, where we had a Matt Adams and Allen Craig and sometimes a Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday, that we were switching around, trying to find playing time for all those bats.

"But right now we feel comfortable with Allen as a DH. Once we get back to St. Louis we'll reevaluate, but we anticipate him being able to pinch-hit. But if he continues to progress and things look differently, we could make that change. But right now we're pretty happy with Matt Adams at first base."

Adron Chambers will come off the roster to make room for Craig

• The Cardinals are actually staying in Boston this time around after being stuck in Quincy for the 2004 World Series.

"I think we were staying in Connecticut last time," Matheny said. "Boston is a beautiful city, especially this time of year, and I think we're all very happy to stay nice and close this time. It was about an $80 cab ride in '04."

Many of the young players were awestruck when they arrived at Fenway for their workout and media sessions.

"It's kind of fun watching a lot of these young players that have never seen Fenway Park," Matheny said. "So much nostalgia and history here. Watching them to go about it the first time. They all went out early, just like a bunch of kids, as soon as they got off the bus or the cab, they went straight out in the stands and looked around. It's a great experience.

"The atmosphere here, we know it's going to be wild and loud, and that's exactly what we want. That's exactly what you would hope for in a World Series setting. I know everybody is looking forward to it."

• Right-hander Shelby Miller threw a simulated game and looked good, Matheny said.

Miller went 15-9 in the regular season but has only made one appearance in the playoffs, throwing one inning (and giving up a run) in Game 2 of the NLDS against Pittsburgh.

Whether that will change in the World Series is still uncertain.

"We're able to use him as needed," Matheny said.

Per Buster Olney's Twitter account, the Cardinals' sidelined starter Chris Carpenter took batting practice during the team workout and shot a few over the Monster.

Magic Johnson won't be watching the Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 01:52 PM

Dodgers executive Magic Johnson, one of the architects of the 2013 Red Sox, is sad ...

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Hirschbeck named crew chief for Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 11:50 AM

Major League Baseball announced today that John Hirschbeck will serve as the crew chief for the World Series and will be behind the plate for Wednesday’s Game 1 between the Cardinals and Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Hirschbeck, who has more than 30 years of major league experience, will lead a crew that features fellow regular season crew chiefs Dana DeMuth and Jim Joyce along with Paul Emmel, Bill Miller, and Mark Wegner.

All six members of the crew worked the Division Series round of the postseason. Hirschbeck and DeMuth were crew chiefs.

This will be the fourth career World Series for Hirschbeck, who was assigned to the event in 1995, 2006 and 2010. It will be the fifth career Series for DeMuth, who will join Gerry Davis and Joe West for most World Series worked among the active staff.

Joyce has been assigned to his third career Series and Miller will be a part of his second. This will mark the first World Series duties for Emmel and Wegner.

The World Series crew will continue to wear patches with the initials “WB,” honoring the memory of 21-year major league umpire Wally Bell, who passed away on October 14.

For Wacha, a quick trip to the World Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 22, 2013 08:57 AM

Michael Wacha, who could start Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park on Thursday, has plenty of experience against baseball teams from New England.

Wacha pitched an excellent game for Texas A&M against Holy Cross, throwing seven shutout innings on Feb. 24, 2012.

That's right, Wacha is 20 months removed from facing Holy Cross. Maybe the Sox can ask Crusaders coach Greg DiCenzo for a scouting report.

(Thanks to Dick, a loyal reader, for the tip).

As was mentioned yesterday, Wacha grew up in Texarkana, Texas, the same town as Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Their high schools were rivals and the two played together on summer-league teams for two years. Middlebrooks is two years older.

Wacha, 22, was a first-round draft pick in 2012 out of A&M. He made his major league debut in May and was 4-1 with a 2.78 earned run average in the regular season. In three postseason starts he is 3-0, 0.43.

The Sox and Cardinals will be working out at Fenway Park later on today. Check back later for coverage.

Daniel Nava not discouraged by loss of playing time in postseason

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 21, 2013 10:11 PM

Daniel Nava started 121 games for the Red Sox during the regular season. But he has been in the lineup for only four of the 10 postseason games. Manager John Farrell now favors Jonny Gomes, even against righthanded pitchers.

It doesn’t sound like that will change, either.

“We haven’t made out Wednesday’s lineup yet. But can’t go away from maybe a little bit of momentum that a certain lineup has provided for us,” Farrell said. “Daniel Nava’s certainly not forgotten. Nor is any guy.”

Nava hit .303 in the regular season. His .831 OPS was third among all American League outfielders. Nava also hit .322 with an .894 OPS against righthanded pitchers.

The Cardinals have all righthanded starters. But if Farrell sticks with Gomes, Nava said he would understand.

“I knew that going into the playoffs anything could happen,” he said. “They made us very aware of that. They weren’t going off stats; they were starting fresh. I don’t know everything that goes into that decision.

“They said, ‘Hey, you’ll get your shot, so be ready.’ So I’ll be ready. I’ve tried to do what I could in my at-bats.”

Nava said the topic doesn’t come up in the clubhouse.

“There’s no bickering or backstabbing. We’re here to win. If not we wouldn’t be here, and there would be problems. You can’t get to the World Series with problems like that,” he said. I know the opportunities will come, I just don’t know when.

“We were in last place last season and now we’re in the World Series and I’m on the roster. I can’t complain about that.”

Farrell: Red Sox still mulling rotation

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 21, 2013 10:09 PM

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Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night for the Red Sox. But manager John Farrell held off on naming the rest of his rotation.

John Lackey is expected to start Game 2 Thursday, with Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy to follow when the series shifts to St. Louis.

“We’re still going through it,” Farrell said before the Sox worked out Monday at Fenway Park. “We’ve got a good portion of [Tuesday] to spend internally and go over the Cardinals and all the information that’s attached to that.”

David Ross caught the last two of Lester’s postseason starts.

“The approach we’ve taken with David Ross catching Jon Lester, I don’t want to assume anything down in the clubhouse yet. We’ll announce that after I have a chance to speak to those guys.”

The Cardinals will start Adam Wainwright. Manager Mike Matheny also is expected to name the rest of his rotation Tuesday.

Also:

• Farrell was quick to announce before the American League Championship Series that the 25-man roster wouldn’t change from the Division Series. But that was not the case this time.

“We haven’t gotten into that specifically,” Farrell said. “We’re still in the process of familiarizing ourselves when the Cardinals. If there’s any need to make an adjustment, we’ll take a look at that as we go forward.”

If there is a change, it could come in the bullpen. Lefthander Franklin Morales has faced nine batters in the postseason and put five of them on base. He has thrown 19 of 34 pitches for strikes. Lefthander Matt Thornton hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 29 but he has been throwing in the bullpen to stay sharp.

• David Ortiz started six games at first base this season in interleague play and will dust off his glove for the World Series. Games 3 and 4 will be in St. Louis along with a possible Game 5.

“How many days he’ll play in those three games there remains to be seen,” Farrell said. “It is different for us. Personally, when we go into National League ballparks I think we’re at a greater disadvantage than the reverse when the National League teams come in here.

Ortiz is 3 for 19 (.158) as a first baseman this season with two extra-base hits and three RBIs. He hit .314 as a designated hitter.

• The news that Detroit manager Jim Leyland was retiring caught Farrell by surprise.

“Very surprised,” he said. “I had sent him a text [Sunday] morning just to congratulate he and the organization on not only a great team [but] a great year. Expressed the respect that we have for him and certainly personally have for him for all the success he had in his career.

“To see the announcement and to listen to him [saying] that early September this was very clear in his mind, that was very surprising.”

• Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks and Cardinals righthander Michael Wacha grew up in Texarkana, Texas. Their high schools were rivals and the two played together on summer-league teams for two years.

“Our families know each other and we’ve kept in touch on and off during the season,” Middlebrooks said. “He’s a good guy and I’m happy for him.”

Wacha, 22, was a first-round draft pick in 2012 out of Texas A&M. He made his major league debut in May and was 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in the regular season. In three postseason starts he is 3-0, 0.43.

• Stephen Drew, 3 for 35 in the postseason, stayed on the field for extra batting practice after the workout. His son, Hank, was watching along with his father, David.

Some World Series odds

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 21, 2013 08:25 PM

Not that sports fans are interested in gambling. But just in case, Bovada sent this along:

Odds to win 2013 World Series

St. Louis Cardinals (Series prices) 6/5 (+120)
Boston Red Sox (Series prices) 5/7 (-140)

Odds to win the 2013 World Series MVP
David Ortiz (BOS) 15/2
Dustin Pedroia (BOS) 8/1
Carlos Beltran (STL) 9/1
Matt Holliday (STL) 10/1
Yadier Molina (STL) 12/1
Allen Craig (STL) 12/1
Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) 12/1
Jon Lester (BOS) 12/1
Adam Wainwright (STL) 14/1
Michael Wacha (STL) 15/1
Matt Carpenter (STL) 15/1
Mike Napoli (BOS) 15/1
Clay Buchholz (BOS) 15/1
Koji Uehara (BOS) 15/1
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) 16/1
David Freese (STL) 18/1
Trevor Rosenthal (STL) 18/1
Matt Adams (STL) 20/1
Shane Victorino (BOS) 20/1
Stephen Drew (BOS) 25/1

Exact Series Result
St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 12/1
St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 6/1
St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 5/1
St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 5/1
Boston Red Sox 4-0 10/1
Boston Red Sox 4-1 6/1
Boston Red Sox 4-2 7/2
Boston Red Sox 4-3 4/1

Total Games in Series
4 11/2
5 13/5
6 7/4
7 7/4

Miscellaneous Props
Which team will hit more home runs in the Series?
St. Louis Cardinals +150 (3/2)
Boston Red Sox -200 (1/2)

Which team will record more errors in the Series?
St. Louis Cardinals -110
Boston Red Sox -110

How many times will Shane Victorino be hit by pitch in the Series?
Over 1 (EVEN, 1/1)
Under 1 (-140, 5/7)

Will any player or manager be ejected during a game in the Series?
Yes +150 (3/2)
No -200 (1/2)

Will any team pitch a shutout in the Series?
Yes EVEN (1/1)
No -140 (5/7)

Will there be a grand slam in the Series?
Yes +300 (3/1)
No -500 (1/5)

Watch: Red Sox begin preparing for World Series

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 21, 2013 06:15 PM

NESN's Tom Caron joined Boston.com's Steve Silva to talk about a St. Louis Cardinals team that's quite different from the 2004 version that was swept by the Red Sox the last time these two teams met in the World Series.

Lester is the Game 1 starter

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 21, 2013 03:39 PM

Red Sox manager John Farrell named Jon Lester the starter for Game 1 of the World Series.

Lester started Game 1 in the Division Series and the ALCS. In three postseason starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.33 earned run average.

The Game 2 starter has not been named. Farrell said the team is having internal discussions and will have their rotation set tomorrow. It seems likely that John Lackey and Clay Buchholz will follow Lester in some order with Jake Peavy starting Game 4.

Mary J. Blige set for Game 1 anthem

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 21, 2013 11:06 AM

Mary J. Blige, a native of the Bronx, will perform the National Anthem before Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park on Wednesday according to Major League Baseball.

Blige previously performed the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium during the 2009 World Series.

Based on this clip, Blige is not much of a baseball fan but does like the Yankees:

The two best teams meet in the Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 21, 2013 09:30 AM

Baseball players like to say that the best team doesn't always win the World Series. It's the team that is playing the best.

In this World Series, however, the best team will win. Consider:

• The Red Sox and Cardinals were 97-65 in the regular season, tied for the best record in baseball.

• The Red Sox lead the majors with a run differential of +197. The Cardinals were second at +187.

• The Red Sox are 7-3 in the postseason, the Cardinals 7-4.

There are no flukes in this Fall Classic. The Sox are 104-68 this year and the Cardinals 104-69. The team that wins this Series will indeed be the best team.

A few other tidbits:

• Saturday's crowd of 38,823 was the largest at Fenway Park since 39,067 caught a Division Series game against the Angels on Oct. 5, 2008.

• Koji Uehara has appeared in eight games in the postseason. His line: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K. He has thrown 115 pitches, 91 strikes. Uehara has appeared in 81 games and thrown 83.1 innings this season. What an incredible bargain he proved to be.

• The Sox are 24 of 100 with runners in scoring position in the postseason, 13 of their last 72 (.181). So much for that statistic being telling.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is 16 of 40 (.400) in the postseason with 10 runs scored, five RBIs and six steals. That will make a nice few pages in the Boras Co. free-agent portfolio.

His success for the Red Sox now is going to make it tougher for the Red Sox to retain him. Some team out there (Seattle?) is going all-in on Ellsbury now.

• Franklin Morales has faced nine batters in the postseason and put five of them on base. He has thrown 19 of 34 pitches for strikes. Matt Thornton hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 29 but he has been throwing in the bullpen to stay sharp. Could the Sox make a roster change?

• Red Sox pitchers have a 3.05 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in the postseason. The Cardinals have a 2.34 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Does that mean a low-scoring series.

• John Farrell's fealty to Stephen Drew is about to be tested. Drew is 3 for 35 in the postseason with one hit in his last 28 at-bats. He also is 2 for 19 in his carer against Cardinals Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright. If Drew starts Game 1, he's bulletproof.

The guess here is he does start. Farrell values Drew's defense and any offense at this point is gravy. Xander Bogaerts has started six MLB games at shortstop in his career. The rookie looks just fine at third base, so why mess with that?

• David Ortiz is 1 for 15 since that grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS.

• Steve Horgan, the now-famous Fenway bullpen cop, was doing crowd control on the field after Game 6 on Saturday. People were asking him to pose for photographs every few minutes.

• The Sox and Cardinals did not meet in the regular season. But the Sox were 14-6 in interleague play with a +64 run differential. The Cardinals were 10-10 in interleague games with a +25 run differential. Is that significant? Seems so.

For Ortiz and Molina, it's a rematch

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 20, 2013 10:03 PM

The World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals, which starts on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, will be a rematch from 2004. But only two players are still with the teams.

David Ortiz is the last Red Sox player remaining from curse-busting 2004 Red Sox who swept St. Louis in four games.

“It’s kind of crazy but nobody else is left,” the 37-year-old Ortiz said on Saturday night. “I’m glad I’m still here for this team. This is a great group of guys.”

For the Cardinals, only catcher Yadier Molina is left. Molina was a 22-year-old rookie in 2004. He played in only 51 regular season games that year but started twice in the postseason including Game 4 of the Series.

The primary catcher for St. Louis that season was Mike Matheny, now their manager.

The Sox and Cardinals will be meeting for the fourth time in the World Series. The Cardinals won seven-game Series in 1946 and 1967 before losing in 2004.

A few other updates:

• The Cardinals will start Adam Wainwright in Game 1. He has a 1.57 ERA in 23 postseason innings this season. Wainwright will be facing the Red Sox for the first time in his career.

Shane Victorino (5 of 22), Stephen Drew (2 of 19), David Ross (2 of 11), Jonny Gomes (2 for 10) and Mike Carp (0 for 3) are the only Red Sox to face Wainwright.

• The Red Sox have not named their starters yet but it's almost certain Jon Lester will start Game 1. Lester faced the Cardinals once in his career, in 2008. Only Matt Holliday (2 for 6), Carlos Beltran (1 for 1) and Molina (0 for 3) have faced him before.

• The Red Sox had Sunday off. The team will have a workout at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon. Both teams will work out at the park on Tuesday.

• The Red Sox, counting the postseason, are 57-29 at Fenway. The Cardinals, counting the postseason, are 45-41 on the road.

• The Red Sox did not play the Cardinals this season. But they were 14-6 in interleague games, outscoring their National League opponents by 64 runs in the 20 games.

Victorino's joyous trip around the bases

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 20, 2013 02:15 AM

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John Tlumacki / Globe Staff

Shane Victorino was so happy that he apologized.

When Jose Veras hung a curveball and Victorino lined it over the wall and into the history books for a pennant-winning grand slam in the seventh inning, his journey around the bases was an ode to joy.

Victorino watched the ball soar into the seats and raised his arms before leaping in the air. Then he pointed at first base coach Arnie Beyeler before smacking his own chest so hard it's a wonder he didn't leave a bruise.

By the time he arrived at the plate, Victorino hopped into the arms of teammate Jacoby Ellsbury. He pointed into the stands at his family and thumped his chest five more times before he reached the dugout.

"All the emotions went through my mind," said Victorino, who was 2 for 23 in the series before his blast. "No disrespect and I would never be one of those guys if [the Tigers] took it wrong. It was definitely excited running around the bases, the pounding in my chest. I don't like when teams show that kind of emotion and I hope they understand it was a special moment for me, for the city."

Clay Buchholz, in the clubhouse icing his arm, jumped up and ran back to the dugout. General manager Ben Cherington was in his office, too anxious to watch the game from his usual box. John Farrell pounded bench coach Torey Lovullo on the back.

The Sox had six outs still to get. But Craig Breslow and Koji Uehera did not fail.

"I'm never going to forget watching that," Daniel Nava said. "Vic was delirious. I think we all were."

Please read the Globe of BostonGlobe.com for full coverage. But a few notes and observations:

• When the Red Sox turned that unusual double play in the sixth inning, Dustin Pedroia threw the ball so close to Brandon Workman that the pitcher had to duck out of the way.

"I thought Pedey was going to drill me in the chest," said Workman, whose 1.2 innings of shutout relief were crucial. "I hit the deck. I thought he was going to get a regular double play and then he went to the plate."

• Xander Bogaerts was 2 for 4 with two doubles, three walks and three runs scored in the last two games. His double in the fifth inning off Max Scherzer was one of the hardest-hit balls at Fenway this season, slamming high off the wall in center field.

"That [bleeping] kid is [bleeping] unbelievable. You see that?" David Ortiz said.

Said Craig Breslow: "It seems like he's just unflappable. No stage is too big. No lights are too bright."

Bogaerts is going to be starting for the Red Sox for years to come. This is only the beginning for a player who looks very special. The Sox were trying to break him in slowly but that's over with now.

• The Sox scored 19 runs in the series and the Tigers 18. But outside of their stellar starting pitching, it was a poor performance by Detroit. Miguel Cabrera was 6 of 22 with one extra-base hit. Prince Fielder was 4 of 22 without an RBI.

The Tigers ran the bases poorly, made several key defensive mistakes and their bullpen was atrocious, giving up nine runs.

• Red Sox relievers pitched 21 innings in the ALCS and allowed one run on 16 hits with nine walks and 16 strikeouts. For the postseason, they have allowed three runs over 32 innings. MVP Koji Uehara threw six scoreless innings. He had three saves and a win.

• The Sox, counting the postseason, are 57-29 at Fenway. Home field advantage couldbe crucial in the Series.

• The Sox struck out 73 times in the series, the most ever by a team in a postseason series. The old record was 70 by the Diamondbacks in the seven-game 2001 World Series against the Yankees.

• Victorino’s grand slam was his second in the postseason. He joined Jim Thome as the only players to accomplish that.

• The Sox are 6-0 in sixth games of the ALCS, 3-0 at home.

• With St. Louis clinching on Friday, it was big for the Sox to wrap up their series in six games, too. Now this gives them three days to rest up and get their pitching in order. They leaned heavily on Uehera, Breslow and Junichi Tazawa in the LCS.

• Wonder if Matt Thornton will replace Franklin Morales on the roster?

• Game 1 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals will be Wednesday night at Fenway Park. The Sox will workout at Fenway on Monday and Tuesday and we'll have full coverage.

As always, thanks for reading.

Season comes full circle for Iglesias

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 20, 2013 02:09 AM

Looking at where his first major league season took him – from Yankee Stadium on opening day to Pawtucket in the middle of the season to Detroit at the deadline to Oakland for the ALDS and back to Fenway for a Game 6 loss to the Red Sox that would send his Detroit Tigers into the offseason – Jose Iglesias knew his year had been a journey.

"Long year," Iglesias said. "I was blessed to be in the playoffs and get here. It's been a really good year for me, unfortunately, it couldn't finish the way I wanted it to, but hopefully we'll get it next year."

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AP

Jose Iglesias's season started and ended in Boston.


The baseball gods loving irony they way they do, it was Iglesias who swung hopelessly at a Koji Uehara splitter to end the game, slowing stepping out of the scene as his former teammates stormed the field to celebrate, and it was Iglesias who made the unlikely error that allowed the Sox to mount yet another come-from-behind victory.

In the seventh inning with one out and two on, Jacoby Ellsbury sent a bouncer up the middle. Iglesias was immediately thinking of turning a double play to get the Tigers out of the inning.

But things sped up on him. He chased it down, just on the right side of the bag, but found himself in an awkward position. When he went to make the toss to second baseman Omar Infante, he realized he didn't have a baseball to throw.

"I felt it in my glove and then after that, I didn't feel it no more," Iglesias said.

The error, his second of the series and the postseason, loaded the bases and Shane Victorino took care of the rest, shooting a grand slam over the Monster, a blast that would give the Sox a 5-2 victory.

"I want to make that play so bad, but unfortunately, I couldn't get it done," Iglesias said. "You turn that double play the inning would be completely different," Iglesias said. "It was over. They just got some momentum and Shane hit a grand slam. So that was huge."

His glove was the reason he was so coveted by the Tigers, and throughout the series he showed why, putting together a reel worth of highlights, including running from second base to shallow left field to chase down a fly ball in Game 5, making the grab at his shins.

The play wouldn't haunt him in the offseason he said. Instead, he would use the entire playoff experience, error and all, to learn for next year.

"I'll take this experience and come back next year stronger," he said.

Final: Red Sox 5, Tigers 2

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 19, 2013 06:44 PM

The Red Sox are headed to the World Series, their remarkable worst-to-first story adding another unforgettable chapter Saturday night.

Shane Victorino hit two-strike grand slam off Tigers reliever Jose Veras in the seventh inning, and the Red Sox clinched their first pennant since 2007 with a 5-2 victory over the Tigers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

The Red Sox win the series 4-2 and will face the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series beginning Wednesday night.

Junichi Tazawa earned the win in relief of starter Clay Buchholz, while Koji Uehara closed it out in the ninth inning.

Victorino hit an 0-2 curveball from reliever Jose Veras into the Monster seats for a grand slam, a thrilling turn of events that gave the Red Sox a three-run lead and put them six outs from the World Series.

Victorino connected with the third straight curveball Veras threw him, then pumped his arm twice and pounded his chest as he rounded first base.

The rally started when Jonny Gomes double high off the Monster. Stephen Drew struck out, but Xander Bogaerts, again showing patience beyond his 21 years, worked a six-pitch walk off Max Scherzer.

The Tigers starter, who was victimized by his bullpen in Game 2, gave way to Drew Smyly. He got Jacoby Ellsbury to hit a grounder up the middle, but Jose Iglesias, the defensive wizard, bobbled the ball and every runner was safe.

That set the stage for Victorino, who hit a home run that won't soon be forgotten.

End of the eighth, Red Sox 5, Tigers 2: Al Alburquerque strikes out the side, getting Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes swinging. It's like they're in hurry to get to a party or something.

Craig Breslow replaces Tazawa, and retires the Tigers in order. Three outs away.


FULL ENTRY

Farrell endorses Lovullo as a manager

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 19, 2013 06:40 PM

The success of the Red Sox could advance the career of bench coach Torey Lovullo. The Cubs are considering him for an interview according to reports out of Chicago.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has a history with Lovullo. When Epstein was the general manager of the Red Sox, he hired Lovullo to manage Triple A Pawtucket in 2010.

“To me, he’s a manager in waiting,” Farrell said. “I think he’s going to have opportunities until he ends up securing one of the jobs. He’s been integral to the success that we’ve had here. He’s a great baseball mind. The conversations and the feedback and just the insights that he gives; he’s going to be very good. He’s going to be very good.”

The Cubs have not yet officially contacted the Red Sox. While Lovullo could theoretically interview on a day off, Farrell hopes the process would wait until the season is over.

“We’d like everyone to remain focused on what we have here first, this being the priority,” Farrell said. “We don’t want to get in the way of potential opportunities for someone, either. Hopefully if those requests come in that they would be sensitive to what we’re going through as well.”

Gomes or Nava? A difficult call for Farrell

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 19, 2013 06:31 PM

Daniel Nava has been out of the starting lineup for six of 10 postseason games, a major reduction from his playing time in the regular season.

Jonny Gomes is back in left field for the Red Sox for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. It will be his fourth start in the series.

Nava hit .303 in the regular season and started 108 games in the outfield, the third most on the team. His .831 OPS was third among all American League outfielders thanks to a .385 on-base percentage.

Nava hit .322 with an .894 OPS against righthanded pitchers. Yet he is on the bench against Detroit righthander Max Scherzer.

Manager John Farrell said before the game on Saturday that “it’s been very difficult” to sit Nava down.

“He’s a good hitter and he’s been an important part of this team throughout the course of the year,” Farrell said. “We’re also at a time of the year where the environment is different. That’s not to say he doesn’t perform in this environment. But we have a different feel and a different personality on the field when Jonny’s in the lineup.

“Call it a hunch, call it whatever you might. That’s what it boils down to. It’s not easy to leave that lefthanded bat [of Nava] out of the lineup.”

Nava is 3 for 11 in the four games he has played. Gomes is 4 for 21. But the Red Sox are 5-0 in games Gomes had started and he had contributed in some way in those games, if not always with hits.

“You’ve got to be candid, you’ve got to be truthful and honest,” Farrell said. “As is [Nava] with himself.”

The Red Sox used a fairly strict platoon for much of the season with Nava starting against righthanded pitchers and Gomes against lefthanders. But Gomes hit righthanded starters better than expected [.265 with an .889 OPS in 145 plate appearances] during the regular season.

Gomes also is a better base runner than Nava, something Farrell values.

“The smaller things, defense and base running, the way this series has unfolded, are integral and have a huge impact in the outcomes,” Farrell said.

ALCS Game 6 pregame chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 19, 2013 05:34 PM

Max Scherzer, the likely Cy Young Award winner, gets the ball for the Tigers in Game 6 at Fenway Park, while the Red Sox counter with Clay Buchholz, who was one of the premier pitchers in the league when healthy this season. The stakes? For the Red Sox, a trip to the World Series. For the Tigers, a chance to force Game 7. We'll talk about all of the possibilities during our pregame chat right here at 7 p.m. Check in below to join in.

 

Alex Avila will start for Tigers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 19, 2013 04:12 PM

Catcher Alex Avila (left knee strain) is in the Detroit lineup. He left Game 5 in the fourth inning.

"I just left him in the trainer's room ten minutes ago. He's ready to go," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "He feels pretty good. I don't think that will be any kind of a drawback where you're going. The main thing from a manager's standpoint the one thing you don't want to happen is when you're dealing with an injury ... the one thing you don't want to happen is start the game and take him out in the second or third inning. That's one thing I try to guard against as a manager."

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AP

Alex Avila will be behind the plate for Game 6


Leyland also spoke about third baseman Miguel Cabrera playing with physical limitations.

"It kind of breaks your heart, to be honest with you, to see him out there the way he has to be out there and the way he is right now because you know he's hurting," he said.

"He's tough as nails. I have so much respect for him. Everybody is conscientious these days about people earning their money. You talk about somebody who is earning their money, this guy feels like he owes it to the Detroit Tigers and our fans to be out there, he owes it to the team.

"He's out there, he's doing the best he can. It breaks your heart as a manager. It's really a shame, to be honest with you, for the whole baseball world because they're not getting a chance to see him at his best. This time of year, people are turning on the TV, they love to see these guys. Obviously I think he's the best player in the league. To not be able to see him at his best because of a physical ailment, it hurts a little bit, but that's just the way it is, and you live with those things."

ALCS Game 6: Tigers at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 19, 2013 03:20 PM

2013_alcs.jpgGood afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (3-2)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Jonny Gomes LF
Stephen Drew SS
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74; 0-0, 6.17 in the postseason).

TIGERS (2-3)
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Jhonny Peralta LF
Alex Avila C
Omar Infante 2B
Austin Jackson CF
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90; 2-0, 2.25 postseason).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Scherzer: Ortiz 7-17, Pedroia 5-20, Ellsbury 5-11, Saltalamacchia 5-15, Drew 2-13, Napoli 1-13, Victorino 3-12, Carp 2-11, Nava 1-9, Gomes 2-9, Middlebrooks 1-8, Ross 1-4.

Tigers vs. Buchholz: Hunter 4-27, Cabrera 6-24, Jackson 5-22, Peralta 6-20, Avila 5-11, Infante 3-11, Fielder 2-9, Martinez 2-8, Dirks 2-5, Kelly 1-5, Santiago 0-5.

Stat of the Day: The Sox are 5-0 in sixth games of the ALCS, 2-0 at home.

Key matchup: The Sox have done a good job of containing Cabrera, who is 5 of 18 in the series with one extra-base hits and four RBIs. Cabrera was 1 for 3 against Buchholz in Game 2 with a solo home run that started a four-run inning.

Bullpen dominance: Red Sox relievers have allowed three runs over 28 innings in the postseason. In the ALCS they have given up one run on 12 hits over 17 innings with eight walks and 12 strikeouts. Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow have allowed one run over 9.2 innings in the series. Rookie Brandon Workman has thrown 3.2 scoreless innings in three postseason appearances.

Notes: The Sox are a win away from the World Series and have two chances at home to win one game. ... Buchholz and Scherzer met in Game 2 at Fenway. Buchholz allowed five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings. Scherzer gave up one run on two hits over seven innings and struck out 13. Scherzer left with a 5-1 lead that the Detroit bullpen lost. ... The Sox are 6-3 in the postseason, outscoring the Rays and Tigers 40-28. ... Fielder is 9 for 37 in the postseason with one extra-base hit and no RBIs. He has gone 17 postseason games without driving in a run. ... Detroit's starters have a 1.64 ERA in the first five games, allowing six earned runs over 33 innings. ... The Red Sox offense is 22 of 75 (.293) in the last two games with seven runs and nine extra-base hits. The Sox were 12 of 90 (.133) in the first three games of the series with seven runs and four extra-base hits. They also struck out 43 times. ... Napoli is 6 of his last 10 with two doubles and two homers. ... Drew is 1 of his last 25.

Red Sox in the postseason: Ellsbury 15-37, Victorino 8-35, Pedroia 9-36, Ortiz 7-32, Napoli 8-29, Nava 3-11, Gomes 4-21, Salty 6-22, Drew 3-32, Middlebrooks 4-23, Ross 3-9, Bogaerts 2-5, Carp 0-6.

Song of the Day: "Future Days" by Pearl Jam.

Game 6 will be at 8:07 p.m. on Saturday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 18, 2013 11:36 PM

The National League Championship Series is over as the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, 9-0. So Game 6 of the American League Championship Series will be Saturday at 8:07 p.m. at Fenway Park.

If the Red Sox are able to advance, the World Series would be a rematch of 2004 (and 1967 and 1946 for that matter).

Game 1 of the Series is Wednesday at the either Fenway Park or Comerica Park in Detroit.

Red Sox sign Cuban pitcher

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 18, 2013 09:35 PM

The Red Sox signed 27-year-old Cuban righthander Dalier Hinojosa to a minor league contract according to Baseball America.

Hinojosa pitched for Guantanamo in the Cuban League from 2005-12 and in a series of international tournaments. He struck out 115 over 121.2 innings during the 2011-12 season. Hinojosa projects as a relief pitcher and could start next season with Triple A Pawtucket.

Status of Avila (strained tendon) uncertain for Game 6

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 18, 2013 06:29 PM

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Alex Avila and Jim Leyland boarded the Tigers' flight to Boston this morning at almost the exact same time, Leyland said.

Leyland had no idea what he was going to do with Avila after the catcher found himself on the wrong end of a collision at the plate with Red Sox catcher David Ross in Game 5 Thursday night and ended up with a tendon strain in his left knee.

With the Tigers facing elimination, Leyland said he would wait until Saturday to decide on Avila's status for Game 6 at Fenway Park.

"He's a little sore, but we'll have to just wait and see tomorrow how it is," Leyland said.

Leyland has tinkered with his lineup the past two games, and what he does with it Saturday will depend on Avila, he said.

"It will be a big factor, whether he plays or not, it will obviously affect us some," Leyland said. "I don't think there will be anything tricky. It will pretty much be using what we've used the last couple of days, depending on Alex's health. I don't look for any major changes or anything, any major surprises."

In Game 5, Leyland replaced Avila with Brayan Pena, but he has considered going with Victor Martinez behind the plate, sliding Miguel Cabrera (who is also banged up) from third base to designated hitter, and putting either Ramon Santiago or Don Kelly at third.

"That has been thought about," he said. "This time of year, with the significance of everything and then so much media, once you mention something like that, it's all over the wires that Martinez might catch. That's not true. I hope nobody starts writing that, because it's not true.

"But it would be an option, let me put it that way. It would be an option."

Farrell comes to defense of Drew

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 18, 2013 04:30 PM
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AP

Though Drew is 1 for 17 in the ALCS, Farrell values his defense.


Red Sox manager John Farrell did not read off his lineup for Game 6 of the ALCS. But he did say that Xander Bogaerts would stay at third base.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia will return to catch Clay Buchholz. He's also sticking with slumping Stephen Drew and Shane Victorino.

Drew is 3 for 32 in the postseason and 1 for 17 in the ALCS. But with so many close games in the series, Farrell values what Drew brings defensively.

"I know there's been a lot calling for Stephen's head, seemingly. But this is a very good player and in these games, defense is a premium. When a defensive play hasn't been made and you give a team an extra out, as good as these two teams are you're likely going to pay for that," Farrell said.

"I'm not saying that we don't have good defenders otherwise. But Stephen's taking good swings. We all recognize the struggles that are there. But he shores up the middle of our infield so well that I'm certainly going to preserve that. Yes, Stephen will be in the lineup tomorrow."

Red Sox will work out at Fenway today

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 18, 2013 02:10 PM

A few items for you:

• The Sox are working out at Fenway Park late this afternoon. The team arrived back at Fenway Park close to 4:30 a.m. Check back later for coverage.

• Here's another reason home-field advantage could be big in the ALCS. The Sox have lost on back-to-back days at home just once since mid-May -- on Sept. 17-18 against the Orioles.

Granted, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander weren't pitching for Baltimore. But the Sox are 56-29 (.659) at home, counting the postseason.

• Here is the World Series schedule. All games are on Fox:

Oct. 23: at American League city, 8:07 p.m.

Oct. 24: at American League city, 8:07 p.m.

Oct. 26: at National League city, 8:07 p.m.

Oct. 27: at National League city, 8:15 p.m.

Oct. 28 at National League city, 8:07 p.m. (if necessary)

Oct. 30 at American League city, 8:07 p.m. (if necessary)

Oct. 31 at American League city, 8:07 p.m. (if necessary)

Red Sox bullpen the postseason MVP

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 18, 2013 01:53 AM

DETROIT — A few notes from another compelling game in the ALCS:

• Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have pitched 18.2 innings in the postseason and allowed two runs. In the ALCS, the Red Sox bullpen as a unit has given up one run over 17 innings.

• Uehara’s five-out save was the first for the Red Sox in the postseason since Jonathan Papelbon in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series and the third in team history. Dick Drago did it in Game 3 of the 1975 ALCS.

• Four of the five games in the series have been decided by one run, the Sox winning three of those games.

• Mike Napoli's home run in the second inning was 460 feet according to the folks who figure out such things. What was amazing is that Napoli hit a ball that far on a 51-degree night with the wind blowing in and a light rain falling. And it was to dead center.

"That thing is still going," Dustin Pedroia said.

Napoli is 6 of his last 10 with two homers and two doubles after starting the series 0 for 6. His getting hot could have major implications in the days to come. Napoli had a good all-round game, scoring on a wild pitch in the third inning after moving up on a tapper back to the mound. He also had a strong game at first base.

• When Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base in the second inning, it gave him five for the postseason. That tied Johnny Damon [in 2004] for the most by a Red Sox player in a single postseason. The Sox have 10 steals in the postseason, a franchise record.

• Shane Victorino, who has batted almost exclusively righthanded since early August because of a left hamstring strain, batted lefthanded against Anibal Sanchez three times and was 0 for 3, hitting three ground balls. He said later he was uncomfortable at the plate lefthanded and wouldn't try it again this season.

Victorino batted righthanded against Jose Veras in the seventh inning and against Al Albuquerque in the ninth, striking out both times. Victorino was 0 for 5 and is 2 for 21 in the series.

• Jim Leyland called Alex Avila's knee injury "pretty rough, pretty bad" and said he hopeful of his catcher playing in Game 6.

Avila was injured when David Ross tried to score on a contact play in the second inning and ran him over. Ross was out but Avila took the brunt of the collision. Leyland had no problem with the play. Ross said didn't have much of a choice with the plate blocked.

Both of the catchers missed time with concussions this season, too.

"Going hard. He understood, I think," Ross said "We both actually just talked the other day about our concussions. I know what he's been through, and he knows what I've been through. It's one of those things."

It makes you wonder when baseball will ban such plays at the plate and mandate sliding.

What time is Game 6? It all depends

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 18, 2013 01:46 AM

DETROIT — Game 6 of the American League Championship Series is on Saturday at Fenway Park.

But the time of the game has not been decided.

The game will start at 4:37 p.m. if there is a seventh game of the National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Dodgers. If the NLCS is over, the Sox and Tigers will play at 8:07 p.m.

Now here's the tricky part: Game 6 of the NLCS is Friday night at 8:30 p.m. in St. Louis. So the time of the ALCS on Saturday may not be determined until sometime approaching midnight the night before.

Final: Red Sox 4, Tigers 3

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 07:59 PM

DETROIT -- Jon Lester pitched six workmanlike innings, Mike Napoli had a home run among his three hits, and Koji Uehara recorded the final five outs with a one-run lead as the Red Sox took a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series with a 4-3 victory over the Tigers tonight.

Lester earned the first ALCS victory of his career with 5.1 innings of two-run ball. He departed with a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning and runners on first and second. That's when the Red Sox bullpen took over.

Junichi Tazawa relieved Lester and allowed an RBI single to Brayan Pena, who entered the game in the fourth inning for injured Tigers catcher Alex Avila. But Tazawa got Austin Jackson to hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

After putting two runners on in the sixth, Tazawa turned another double play -- this time with Miguel Cabrera at the plate. Tazawa struck out Cabrera in a huge moment in Game 3, and this time he got him to turn a first-and-third, no-out situation into a two-out, nobody-on scenario, though the double play scored a run.

Craig Breslow came on the bridge the seventh into the eighth, and then manager John Farrell called on closer Koji Uehara to get five outs. He got them in order, with Jose Iglesias popping to second for the final out.

The Red Sox took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. The Red Sox got their first run of the game -- and their first run off Anibal Sanchez in this series -- on a mammoth Mike Napoli home run to dead center field leading off the inning.

Jonny Gomes reached on an error by Miguel Cabrera at third base, who may still have been marveling at Napoli's drive. Stephen Drew struck out swinging, which brought up Bogaerts. After taking a ball and missing badly on a slider away, he turned on a second slider from Sanchez and roped it into left field for a double, moving Gomes to third.

David Ross, starting in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to catch Jon Lester, lined a ball over left fielder Jhonny Peralta's head for a double. Gomes scored, but Bogaerts misread the play and had to stop at third, where he quickly grabbed his helmet with both hands in frustration at his mistake.

But Jacoby Ellsbury took Bogaerts off the hook with hard single off Sanchez's glove, scoring Bogaerts and making it 3-0.

Napoli scored the Red Sox' fourth and final run on a Sanchez wild pitch in the third.

Middle of the ninth: The Red Sox waste their best scoring opportunity since the early innings, leaving runners stranded at second and third.

Xander Bogaerts led off with a walk. Will Middlebrooks pinch-ran for Bogaerts, and it immediately paid dividends.

Middlebrooks alertly went from first to third on David Ross's bunt to Miguel Cabrera. Middlebrooks barely hesitated rounding second, and slid into third safely with catcher Brayan Pena covering. Pena appeared to tag the umpire rather than Middlebrooks on the play.

Alburquerque intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury, who stole second.

But Shane Victorino failed to put down a safety squeeze, then swung at a pair of breaking balls in the dirt to strikeout after falling behind 1-2.

That brought up Dustin Pedroia, who hit Alburquerque's first pitch to center for a routine third out.

End of the eighth, Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: And so John Farrell turns to Koji Uehara to get five outs.

He gets two in the eighth, striking out Jhonny Peralta after falling behind 3-1 (Peralta swung at least two balls). He then got Omar Infante on three pitches -- two foul balls and a no-chance hack at a splitter.

Breslow got the first out of the inning, retiring Victor Martinez on a hard grounder to Mike Napoli at first. Napoli, who has been a pleasant surprise as a defensive first baseman, juggled the ball but kept it in front of him.

Al Alburquerque coming in to start the ninth for Detroit. Don Kelly goes to left for Peralta.

Middle of the eighth: Sox go in order against Veras, who is dealing. Mike Napoli strikes out, Jonny Gomes grounds to Fielder, and Stephen Drew, who right now looks like he may never get another hit again, pops to Iglesias in shallow left.

Koji Uehara getting loose in the Sox pen ...

End of the seventh, Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: The Tigers knock another run off what was once a four-run Red Sox lead. Yet considering what it could have been, the inning worked out OK for the Red Sox.

The Tigers had runners at first and third with no one out and reining and future MVP Miguel Cabrera at the plate. On the mound for the Sox? Junichi Tazawa, who whiffed Cabrera on four pitches in a pivotal spot in Game 3.

It was the perfect spot for payback for Cabrera. He did get the run home, but it wasn't what the Tigers were looking for -- he grounded to Dustin Pedroia, who turned an easy 4-3 double play.

Jose Iglesias, who led off with a single to center, came home for the Tigers' third run. But the bases were empty, and Prince Fielder grounded softly to Pedroia against new pitcher Craig Breslow to end the inning.

The Sox went quietly against two Tigers relievers in their half. Phil Coke replaced Anibal Sanchez and got Jacoby Ellsbury to fly to center.

Jose Veras then replaced Coke and struck out Shane Victorino. Dustin Pedroia followed with a single and stole second, but David Ortiz made the third out, flying to Torii Hunter.

The final line on Sanchez: 6 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), no walks, 5 Ks.

End of the sixth, Red Sox 4, Tigers 2: The Tigers keep hanging around, chipping another run off the Red Sox' lead in the bottom half.

Brayan Pena, who entered the game as a replacement for the injured Alex Avila in the fourth inning, singled in Victor Martinez with one out off reliever Junichi Tazawa to plate the Tigers' second run.

Tazawa relieved Jon Lester after his one-out walk to Omar Infante. Tazawa got out of the inning with a 5-4-3 double play.

Lester finishes his second start of the series with this line: 5.1 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. He threw 98 pitches.

In the top half, Sanchez set the Red Sox down in order.

Stephen Drew struck out swinging, Bogaerts popped to Iglesias, and David Ross whiffed on what looked like a hanging slider. Sanchez is now at 107 pitches.

End of the fifth, Red Sox 4, Tigers 1: The Tigers get one back on Miguel Cabrera's two-out RBI single to left-center.

That scored Austin Jackson, who singled to center -- his sixth straight time on base -- and advanced to third on Jose Iglesias's bunt.

Torii Hunter popped out before Cabrera put the Tigers on the scoreboard. Prince Fielder ended the inning with a grounder to second.


David Ortiz collects his second hit of the series, a two-out looper to left that Iglesias somehow did not run 100 yards to haul in, and Mike Napoli followed with his third hit of the night, a single to center.

But Johnny Gomes ended the inning with a grounder to Iglesias, ending the threat.

Officially word on Avila, by the way, is that he has a strained patella tendon and is day to day.

End of the fourth, Red Sox 4, Tigers 0: Jon Lester pitches out of a jam of his own making ... though he nearly threw away his chance to get out of it.

The Sox lefty allowed a single to Victor Martinez to open the inning. One out later, he walked Omar Infante on seven pitches, then threw three straight balls to Brayan Pena, who was pinch-hitting for the battered and bruised Alex Avila.

Lester threw a 3-0 strike, then got Pena to hit the next pitch on a one-hopper to the mound. Lester fielded it cleanly but nearly airmailed shortstop Stephen Drew. Drew reached to his right to catch the throw, stepped on second, then threw to first, where Mike Napoli made a nice scoop to complete the double play and end the inning.

Stop me if you've heard this before: Iglesias makes another fine defensive play, turning a quick 4-6-3 double play on speedy Jacoby Ellsbury to end the top half of the inning.

Prince Fielder also deserves a tip of the cap for a George Scott-like scoop on the throw.

David Ross had a one-out single for the Sox -- after fouling a ball off Alex Avila, who is taking a pounding. Looks like he's coming out after the inning, with Brayan Pena coming in.

End of the third, Red Sox 4, Tigers 0: The top of the Tigers' order went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.

Torii Hunter grounded to third, Miguel Cabrera struck out looking, and Prince Fielder grounded to shortstop.

The highlight so far for the Tigers came in the top of the inning.

Jose Iglesias made a play you'll be seeing on highlight reels for a long time. Yet the Red Sox managed to build their lead to four against Sanchez.

David Ortiz led off with a flare to left-center that looked like it was going to drop for his second hit of the series. But Iglesias, sprinting full speed from his spot to the left of second base, flicked his glove at the last possible second and snagged the ball as the crowd roared.

Related to that, the debate about that Iglesias/Peavy/Avisail Garcia trade is going to rage forever, isn't it?

The Red Sox added another run when Mike Napoli doubled, moved to third on Jonny Gomes's groundout, and scored on a wild pitch with Stephen Drew at the plate.

End of the second, Red Sox 3, Tigers 0: After the Red Sox put up three runs in the top half, Jon Lester shuts down the Tigers in the bottom half.

Austin Jackson singled with two outs -- his fifth straight time reaching base -- and moved to second on a passed ball by Ross. But Jose Iglesias went down swinging to end the inning.

Middle of the second, Red Sox 3, Tigers 0: What's that crooked number there? Is that a 3? Some actually runs and a big inning for the Red Sox?

Indeed it's true, and Xander Bogaerts, inserted into the lineup tonight, was right there in was in the middle of it.

The Red Sox got their first run of the game -- and their first run off Anibal Sanchez in this series -- on a mammoth Mike Napoli home run to dead center field leading off the inning.

Jonny Gomes reached on an error by Miguel Cabrera at third base, who may still have been marveling at Napoli's drive. Stephen Drew struck out swinging, which brought up Bogaerts. After taking a ball and missing badly on a slider away, he turned on a second slider from Sanchez and roped it into left field for a double, moving Gomes to third.

David Ross, starting in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to catch Jon Lester, lined a ball over left fielder Jhonny Peralta's head for a double. Gomes scored, but Bogaerts misread the play and had to stop at third, where he quickly grabbed his helmet with both hands in frustration at his mistake.

But Jacoby Ellsbury took Bogaerts off the hook with hard single off Sanchez's glove, scoring Bogaerts and making it 3-0.

Sanchez escaped further damage, getting Shane Victorino hit into a fielder's choice, with Omar Infante throwing out David Ross at the plate. Ross crashed into catcher Alex Avila, who appeared to have his bell rung. Dustin Pedroia grounded to second to end the inning.

End of the first, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: Jon Lester escaped a developing jam thanks to some curious baserunning by the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.

With two outs, Cabrera on second and Prince Fielder on first, Jhonny Peralta hit a hard single past a lunging Stephen Drew into left field.

But as Jonny Gomes fielded the ball quickly and cleanly, Cabrera chugged through a stop sign at third -- third-base coach Tom Brookens appeared to initially wave him around -- and was out by 10 feet at home plate as David Ross applied the tag.

Hard to figure what the plodding Cabrera was thinking there. Maybe he was overconfident in his speed after stealing a base last night?

Middle of the first: In Game 1, the Red Sox couldn't manage a hit through six innings against Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez.

Tonight, they got one in the first inning when Dustin Pedroia hit a two-out single to left.

That counts as some progress, right?

Unfortunately, the Red Sox couldn't turn the hit into a run. David Ortiz grounded to first baseman Prince Fielder to end the inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off by working the count to 3-2 before striking out. Then came a surprise: Shane Victorino, a switch hitter who had been batting exclusively righthanded since mid-August, dug into the box from the left side. The result wasn't what he was hoping for, however: a broken-bat grounder to first base.

The Sox did make Sanchez throw 17 pitches in the first.

Pregame: We're about five minutes away from the first pitch of Game 5 here at Comerica Park. Anibal Sanchez, who whiffed 12, walked 6, and did not allow a hit through his 6 innings in Game 1, takes the mound for the Tigers. Jon Lester, who allowed just one run in Game 1, gets the call for the Sox.

The big news for the Sox is the insertion of 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts at third base. Bogaerts replaces Will Middlebrooks, who is hitting just .100 in this series and has just 1 RBI in the postseason. Stephen Drew, who has played steady defense at shortstop despite significant struggles at the plate, remains in the lineup.

Red Sox manager John Farrell hinted last night that Bogaerts, who doubled in the ninth inning off Joaquin Benoit Wednesday night, would get a chance in Game 5. Thursday afternoon, he confirmed it while explaining why.

"We talked about last night the need for the potential for increased production from the left side of the infield,'' Farrell said. "And then the brief number of at‑bats that Xander has had for us, he's been very much under control, puts a good swing on the ball last night against Benoit, has not expanded the strike zone. And I think more than anything just the maturity that he shows and the offensive potential that he has, I felt like it was time to make a change."

Farrell suggested that Sanchez, with his vicious slider, isn't the best matchup for Middlebrooks.

"The one thing over ‑‑ from time to time in these two series, he's been a little susceptible to off‑speed and certainly some breaking balls that have run away from him.'' Farrell said. "I wouldn't expect him to be pleased with not being in the lineup today. That's just who he is.

"But for us to continue through this series and advance it's going to take everyone on our roster to contribute in some form or fashion, and I would expect that Will would find his way back in the field in these remaining games, particularly in this series."

Jack Morris threw out the first pitch, and we're ready to go.

Farrell: Bogaerts 'in the fire' for Game 5

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 07:15 PM

DETROIT — Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't need much time to make up his mind regarding whether to start Xander Bogaerts in Game 5 of the ALCS. The rookie got the news before he left Comerica Park on Wednesday night.

The Red Sox needed help offensively and Bogaerts was the logical choice.

“The one thing that Xander has shown in the brief opportunities that he has had is a consistent approach and it’s time to throw him in the fire,” Farrell said.

Farrell is open to the idea of Bogaerts staying in the lineup.

“We’re going to see how we go,” he said. “To me, it’s going to take everybody on our team to advance. That doesn’t mean Will won’t appear somewhere else in these final three games. I think it’s going to take contributions from everybody on this team.”

Middlebrooks is 4 for 23 in the postseason and 1 for 10 in the ALCS with five strikeouts. Shortstop Stephen Drew was even worse, going 3 for 28 in the postseason and 1 for 13 in the ALCS through Wednesday.

But Farrell wanted to keep Drew’s lefthanded bat in the lineup against Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez.

“I’m still seeing a consistent approach from Stephen. Yet the results haven’t been there,” Farrell said. “It’s not like he’s pulling off pitches and becoming susceptible to any one thing.”

Farrell was less charitable to Middlebrooks.

“He’s becoming a little susceptible to off-speed, changeup in and breaking ball that’s running away from him,” he said.

Middlebrooks was not told until Thursday that he was out of the lineup and was disappointed.

“I wouldn't expect him to be pleased with not being in the lineup today. That's just who he is,” Farrell said. “And that's the overriding attitude in our clubhouse.”

Also:

• The Red Sox are out of the running for free agent Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu. The 26-year-old, who defected two months ago, was an accomplished power hitter in Cuba. The Red Sox, major league sources said, were willing to sign him to a $40 million deal but dropped out when the bidding approached $70 million.

Signing Abreu would not have eliminated the possibility of the Red Sox retaining first baseman Mike Napoli, who will be a free agent. There is mutual interest from both sides for Napoli to return.

“I’m not worried about that right now and I don’t think they are right now,” Napoli said. “We’re trying to win a championship and once everything ends [negotiations will start].

“I want to be here. I love it here. It’s a great situation, a great city; fans are awesome. It’s been awesome. We’ll worry about that later.”

• Dan Butler, a catching prospect on the 40-man roster, will start play in the Dominican Winter League on Friday. Butler played in 84 games for Triple A Pawtucket this season, hitting .262 with an .829 OPS. The Sox also are planning to send righthander Allen Webster to winter ball along with outfielders Alex Hassan and Bryce Brentz. Injuries limited Hassan to 258 plate appearances this season and Brentz 368.

• Jake Peavy, who threw only 62 pitches over three-plus innings on Wednesday, will be available in the bullpen for Game 6 on Saturday at Fenway Park. Peavy has one game of relief experience in the majors, that coming in 2011 with the White Sox. He threw four scoreless innings against the Nationals, allowing one hit and striking out seven.

ALCS Game 5 pregame chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 04:40 PM

Xander Bogaerts is in the Red Sox lineup tonight. Will Middlebrooks is not. Meanwhile, David Ross gets the start behind the plate as Jon Lester takes the hill against Anibal Sanchez in a rematch of Game 1 starters. We'll talk about all this and more in our pregame chat. Check in below to have your say.


 

Leyland flip-flops Infante and Avila

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 04:10 PM

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DETROIT -- The lineup tweaks worked out so well in Game 4 that Jim Leyland said he would likely stick with the same one for Game 5.

But he couldn't help himself.

With the Red Sox sending lefthander Jon Lester to the mound, the Tigers manager moved the righthanded-hitting Omar Infante up a spot in the order to the 6-hole and slid lefty Alex Avila down to No. 7.

Infante is hitting just .143 in the series, but he hit .301 this year against lefties. Avila is 3 for 11 in the series and hit just .139 against lefties this season, despite going 4 for 9 against Lester.

Even though the Tigers were able to sprint out to a big lead in Game 4, Leyland said he didn't think shaking up the lineup was as big a deal as it was made out to be.

"I don't think the lineup was a big factor at all," Leyland said. "I don't think it had anything to do with us necessarily winning the game.

"It did do one thing. I think by his own admission, I think it did relax Austin Jackson a little bit, so that was mission accomplished. The lineup wasn't really a drastic change as much as people are making a big deal about it.

"We moved some guys up, but it wasn't a drastic lineup change in my opinion. The one mission was to try to get Austin maybe away from it a little bit and have him relax a little bit and he did a terrific job and had a terrific game. So from that standpoint, the mission was accomplished."

Bogaerts in the lineup for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 04:01 PM
DETROIT — This is not what the Red Sox intended, starting Xander Bogaerts at third base in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

The 21-year-old has had four plate appearances in the postseason, all off the bench. He started only 12 of 36 games the Red Sox played after he was called up Aug. 19. The plan was for him to become a starter next season, not in the middle of the playoffs. This month was supposed to fall under the "good experience" category for him.

But postseason crises have a way of changing plans. The Red Sox were the best offensive team in the majors all season but are 24 of 129 (.186) in four games against the Tigers, with 10 runs. If Bogaerts can do anything — get a hit, draw a walk — it'll be an upgrade.

Bogaerts will be the youngest player to start a postseason game for the Red Sox since a lefty pitcher named Babe Ruth in 1916. Ruth also was 21.

The easy comparison to draw is with Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007. Then a 23-year-old rookie, Ellsbury was a pinch runner and defensive replacement in the Division Series against Cleveland that season. But when Coco Crisp started to struggle, Terry Francona started Ellsbury in center field in Game 6. The Sox were down, 3-2, in the series.

Ellsbury went 1 for 5 with a run and an RBI in a 12-2 victory. The Red Sox didn't lose again in the postseason, and he started every game, going 9 for 24 with seven runs, four doubles, four RBIs and a stolen base.

John Farrell was the pitching coach on that team and remembers the impact Ellsbury had. Surely he hopes Bogaerts can do the same.

The difference is that Ellsbury started 28 games in that regular season and had 127 plate appearances. Bogaerts had 50 plate appearances.

It'll be interesting to see where this leads. Bogaerts could play his way into the lineup for the rest of the postseason and for years to come. The Red Sox see him as one of their cornerstones, a middle-of-the-order hitter they can build around.

Or maybe Will Middlebrooks is back at third base Saturday. In the postseason, managers often find that plans can change quickly.

ALCS Game 5: Red Sox at Tigers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 03:30 PM

2013_alcs.jpgGood afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (2-2)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Stephen Drew SS
Xander Bogaerts 3B
David Ross C
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75; 1-1, 1.93 postseason).

TIGERS (2-2)
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Jhonny Peralta LF
Omar Infante 2B
Alex Avila C
Austin Jackson CF
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57; 1-1, 4.35 postseason).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/radio: Fox / WEEI (93.7), ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Sanchez: Victorino 10-46, Drew 5-22, Ross 2-12, Ortiz 3-6, Gomes 1-4, Ellsbury 0-3, Napoli 0-2, Nava 0-2, Pedroia 0-1, Middlebrooks 0-2.

Tigers vs. Lester: Hunter 13-33, Peralta 10-30, Cabrera 11-21, Fielder 5-17, Martinez 6-17, Jackson 5-17, Pena 7-17, Avila 4-9, Infante 2-9, Iglesias 1-5, Santiago 0-3, Dirks 1-2.

Stat of the Day: Take out Jacoby Ellsbury (14 of 33) and the Red Sox are 48 of 229 (.210) in the postseason.

Key matchup: The Red Sox need to get more out of many players. But David Ortiz is 1 for 15 in this series. He has two career home runs against Sanchez, and some early runs could do wonders for the Red Sox.

Notes: The series is 2-2 and this is the final game in Detroit. It's a rainy day here, but MLB hopes to get the game in ... Lester and Sanchez met in Game 1, a 1-0 Detroit victory. Sanchez did not allow a hit over six innings. He walked six and struck out 12. His slider dominated the Red Sox. Lester allowed one run on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts over 6.1 innings ... Lester is 3-4, 2.41 in 10 postseason games in his career ... The Sox are hitting .186 in the series (24 of 129) with only 10 runs. They have struck out 53 times. Detroit's starters have allowed three earned runs over 27 innings and struck out 42 ... The Sox have had the lead for four innings in the series ... The Red Sox bullpen has thrown 13.1 scoreless innings in the series.

Song of the Day: "Swing, Swing" by The All-American Rejects.

X marks the spot. But which one?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 11:23 AM

DETROIT — The Red Sox are a methodical bunch, that much we know. GM Ben Cherington does not rush into making moves and that patience helped him build a strong, economical roster last winter.

Manager John Farrell has generally stayed with the same lineup and makes predictable, well-reasoned moves, He generally uses his bullpen in the same way, pinch-hits by script and doesn't make decisions based on emotion or small sample sizes.

Even the players follow that approach. The Red Sox led the majors in pitches per plate appearance and won 97 games by showing up every day and relentlessly grinding down other teams.

But the playoffs have no patience for patience.

Few would make an issue of Stephen Drew being 1 for 13 over a four-game stretch of the regular season, especially if the Red Sox won two of the games. But in the playoffs it becomes magnified. The same is true for Will Middlebrooks (1 for 10), David Ortiz (1 for 15) and Dustin Pedroia (3 for 14).

With talented 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts on the bench, Farrell has one card he can play. He acknowledged last night that Bogaerts was under consideration but didn't say for what position.

It's an interesting question. Bogaerts is a shortstop and has the most experience there, so perhaps he should play shortstop in place of Drew. But Drew is a better defensive shortstop at this moment and that's a key defensive position.

Then the question is which player to bench, Drew or Middlebrooks? Drew is 3 for 28 in the postseason and Middlebrooks 4 for 23. Facing Anibal Sanchez, Drew is 5 for 22 and Middlebrooks 0 for 2. Neither one of them did much against him in Game 1, although Drew did walk. Middlebrooks has more power but Drew is more likely to get on base. Drew also hits lefthanded and lefties have fared better against Sanchez this season.

The guess here is that Drew plays and Middlebrooks sits. Drew has more experience against Sanchez and the change defensively would be less. Bogaerts should be able to handle third base and his bat could provide a lift.

If David Ross catches, which seems likely, could Bogaerts hit seventh in the lineup?

Jacoby Ellsbury gave the Red Sox a lift in the 2007 playoffs, starting Game 6 of the ALCS, and then became a force in the World Series. Now Bogaerts will likely get that same opportunity.

Live from Detroit: Today's coverage plan

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 17, 2013 10:34 AM
Game 5 between the Red Sox and Tigers is tonight at 8:07 p.m., but before then we have plenty of coverage planned to keep you up to date on the latest from Detroit.

Here's a look:

At noon, Chris Gasper and Peter Abraham will have some final thoughts on Game 4 and look ahead to Game 5 on live video from Detroit on Boston Sports Live.

At 7 p.m., Chad Finn hosts a pregame chat on his Touching All The Bases blog.

At 8 p.m., Steve Silva has live updates and running commentary in our live blog (mobile version here), and we'll also have traditional game updates and comments in our Extra Bases game blog post.

Update: Due to rain in Detroit and some technical difficulties, we will not be able to have a live Pregame Today show at 5 p.m. Instead, we'll have a recorded version available on Boston.com by mid-afternoon.

Bobbleheads: Red Sox give away Game 4

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 01:31 AM

There are no predetermined outcomes in baseball. The Red Sox could have escaped the second inning trailing only 1-0 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series if Dustin Pedroia didn't bobble a double-play ball with one out. But that doesn't mean the result of the game would have changed.

The way Jake Peavy was pitching, without command of his fastball to either side of the plate, the Tigers might have scored anyway.

Still, it was surprising to see Pedroia make such a crucial mistake. With the bases loaded and a run in, Jose Iglesias hit a sharp grounder to second. But instead of a quick double play, Pedroia dropped the ball. By the time he recovered, the Sox were only able to get one out.

Frankly, they didn't even get that out. Shortstop Stephen Drew was well off second base by the time Pedroia got the ball to him. Regardless, a run scored and it was 2-0.

“It was hit hard. It’s one of those things, he kind of backspun it and I thought it was going to hop up and it stayed down,” Pedroia said. “It landed in the web of my glove and we got one out instead of two. It’s my responsibility to turn double plays. We got a ground ball and I didn’t field it clean.”

Said manager John Farrell: “He squares it up and that’s a routine double play. We’ve seen it many times over.”

The mistake opened the door for a big inning that took the Red Sox out of the game.

Torii Hunter followed with a two-run double down the line in left and Miguel Cabrera with an RBI single. Peavy was down, 5-0, after a 31-pitch inning.

"We dug ourselves a hole,” Peavy said. “We had our chances to get out of that inning and minimize the damage …That’s a tough play. Pedey, that’s not on him. I’ve got to do a better job.”

The series is 2-2 and is now a best-of-three for a spot in the World Series. The Red Sox have home-field advantage for Games 6 and 7 but Detroit has Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander lined up to pitch. That trio held the Sox to two runs on six hits over 21 innings in the first three games of the series and struck out 35.

Game 5 is Thursday night back at Comerica Park with Sanchez facing Jon Lester.

“Even stevens right now; nobody’s up,” David Ortiz said. “We’ve two more games to go; we’re going to try to win it. I’ve got my money on Lester.”

A few notes:

• Changes could be coming for the Red Sox. Drew was 0 for 4 and is 1 for 13 in the series. Will Middlebrooks was 0 for 2 and is 1 for 10. They are a combined 7 of 51 in the postseason.

Rookie Xander Bogaerts, who doubled in the ninth inning for his first postseason hit and later scored, could start Game 5 at one of those positions.

“Haven’t made a decision on tomorrow’s lineup,” Farrell said. “But we’re struggling a little bit to get some production out of that side. So, it’s something that’s being considered, for sure.”

• The Sox outhit the Tigers, 12-9, but 10 of the hits came after they were down, 5-0, and they were 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position. The Sox never really threatened Detroit starter Doug Fister, who cruised through six innings.

• Peavy allowed seven runs on five hits and three walks over three innings. He became only the fifth Red Sox starter to allow at least seven earned runs in a postseason game, the first since Josh Beckett in the 2008 ALCS against Tampa Bay.

It was the shortest playoff start for a Red Sox pitcher since Tim Wakefield lasted 2.2 innings against Tampa Bay, also in the 2008 ALCS.

Peavy is now 0-3 with a 10.31 earned run average in four career postseason starts.

• Brandon Workman, Ryan Dempster, Franklin Morales, and Felix Doubront combined for five innings of scoreless relief. The Red Sox bullpen has allowed two runs in 24.1 innings in the postseason.

• The 21-year-old Bogaerts is the youngest player to get a postseason hit for the Red Sox.

• The Red Sox have led for only four of the 36 innings in the series. The Sox have scored only nine runs in the first four games of the series and are hitting .186.

• Ortiz is 1 for 15 in the series, although the one hit was his tying grand slam in Game 2.

• Jacoby Ellsbury was 4 for 5 with a double and a triple and is 14 of 33 (.424) in the postseason.

Leyland's shakeup gives Tigers new life

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 17, 2013 01:30 AM

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DETROIT -- Before he decided to shake up his lineup, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he gave it plenty of thought.

He considered everyone. Reporters, players, fans, his coaches. In one form or another, they all said something had to change with the top of the order struggling and the Tigers hitting just .220 as a team in the first three games. Leyland figured he couldn't argue with them.

"I was laying on my couch at home last night watching the Dodgers and the Cardinals, and I kept thinking, because I didn't disagree with anybody saying we needed something" Leyland said. "I felt like fans, members of the media, myself, probably the players, if the truth be known, I think something had to be done. I don't want to say this had anything to do with it.

"I thought about it long and hard, some people thought it would be maybe [Don] Kelly playing centerfield. But I didn't think that was the answer, I thought long and hard about it and this is what I came up with."

He took Austin Jackson out of the spotlight and scrutiny that came with being a leadoff hitter that couldn't get on base in the postseason, dropping him into the eighth spot in the order and moving everyone else up a spot. It meant Torii Hunter would hit leadoff for the first time since 2000 and Miguel Cabrera would hit in the two hole for just the third time in his career.

There was no guaranteeing the tinkering would work, but seeing his team finally turn the bats on in a 7-3 win over the Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS, it was clear the Tigers were at a point where they needed to reshuffle the deck.

"This has nothing to do with Jim Leyland," the manager said. "This is about the players. They executed, they came out, they played well. It was really a good game for us."

"So we were very fortunate. And the series is tied. The only thing we know for sure is that we're going back to Boston."

Leyland knew that when players saw the new lineup, the changes would get their attention.

"I called my hitting coach Lloyd McClendon real early in the morning and I had him text the guys, so there would be no real shock when they came in," Leyland said. "But I'm sure when they looked at it, they might not have believed when he texted them, but they believed it when they saw it. I don't know if they went whoa. And maybe sometimes just a jolt like that gets you back in sync a little bit."

With the exception of Prince Fielder, ever Tigers starter reached base.

Jackson, who came in 1 for 13 in the first three games, reached base in all four of his plate appearances going 2 for 2 with a pair of walks, including one in the second inning with the bases loaded that gave him his first RBI since Game 3 of the ALDS.

“That started everything,” said Hunter. “You're hoping that it creates something different in our thought process and it did. For Austin it worked and if he had stayed in the leadoff spot we don't know what would have happened. But he's in the eight hole and what Jim Leyland did makes him a brilliant man.”

Leyland said he would throw the lineup card from Game 4 away (he's not into memorabilia), but when he fills one out for tomorrow, it'll be the same order.

"I really think you have to," Leyland said. "I will go with that same lineup tomorrow. A lot of people contributed tonight and that was a good thing."

Final: Tigers 7, Red Sox 3

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 16, 2013 07:57 PM

DETROIT -- The Tigers scored five times off Red Sox starter Jake Peavy in the second inning, and Doug Fister pitched six innings of one-run ball as the Tigers evened the American League Championship Series at two games apiece with a 7-3 victory Wednesday night.

Peavy put the Red Sox in a deep hole almost immediately, loading the bases without recording an out in the second.

After a diving catch by Jacoby Ellsbury, Peavy walked Austin Jackson on four pitches, plating the game's first run.

That's when it all fell apart. Dustin Pedroia, who has had a Gold Glove-caliber season, bobbled a Jose Iglesias grounder that could have been an inning-ending double play.

Instead, they settled for a force out at second, with a second run crossing the plate.

The Tigers took advantage, making it 4-0 on Torii Hunter's rocket down the third base line in which Iglesias scored all the way from first. Miguel Cabrera plated Hunter with a flare to center for a 5-0 lead.

Peavy finally escaped by retiring Prince Fielder on a grounder to Pedroia. But the damage was done.

Detroit built its lead to 6-0 when Jackson singled off Pedroia's glove in the fourth. Miguel Cabrera brought Jackson around with another single to make it 7-0.

The Red Sox tried to chip away, but each rally fizzled; the Sox ultimately left 10 runners stranded.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in the Red Sox' first run in the sixth. They added one more in the seventh on a Shane Victorino double, and Jacoby Ellsbury plated the final run in the ninth.

End of the eighth: Felix Doubront extends the Red Sox bullpen's streak of scoreless innings to five, which is nice if you're into consolation prizes. After hitting Alex Avila, Doubront got Omar Infante to hit into a double play.

Austin Jackson walked, reaching base for the fourth time from the No. 8 slot. Jose Iglesias followed with a single to right, but Torii Hunter struck out to end the inning.

Drew Smyly breezed through the top of the inning, getting pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes on a popup, striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia, then retiring Stephen Drew on a foul pop to left fielder Don Kelly.

End of the seventh, Tigers 7, Red Sox 2: The highlight of the bottom of the seventh if you're watching from home is Tim McCarver nearly setting himself on fire with a 72-candle birthday cake.

Otherwise, no drama. Franklin Morales, the fourth Red Sox pitcher, allowed a hit to Victor Martinez but sailed through the rest of the inning unscathed.

The Red Sox chipped another run off the Tigers' lead in their half after Fister departed, but a chance for a bigger inning again went by the wayside.

Jacoby Ellsbury singled off reliever Phil Coke. Jim Leyland summoned Al Alburquerque, who immediate gave up a run-scoring double to Shane Victorino.

But the heart of the Red Sox order -- Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Drew Smyly -- went down in order, leaving Victorino stranded at second.

End of the sixth, Tigers 7, Red Sox 1: Ryan Dempster makes his first appearance of the series and retires the Tigers with little suspense.

Austin Jackson led off with a single. But he was erased on a Jose Iglesias fielder's choice, and Torii Hunter grounded into a double play to end the inning.

In their half, the Red Sox got on the scoreboard, but the inning goes down as a missed opportunity.

With one out, Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia strung together consecutive hits against Fister, with Saltalamacchia's hard single up the middle scoring Napoli.

But Stephen Drew, in the midst of a miserable series, struck out on a 3-2 pitch, and Mike Carp, pinch-hitting for Will Middlebrooks, grounded to second for the 4-6 force.

End of the fifth, Tigers 7, Red Sox 0: The Tigers go down 1-2-3 against Workman, who has done a nice job in relief of Peavy, for what that's worth.

Meanwhile, still nothing going on for the Sox against Fister.

Will Middlebrooks led off with a K, and here is my question: Should Bogaerts play for Drew tomorrow, or for Middlebrooks, who is also struggling? Or will Farrell stick with the status quo.

Yes, we're already talking about tomorrow. Anyway, after Middlebrooks's whiff, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to deep left. But that left him with a nice view from second base after Shane Victorino popped to short and Dustin Pedroia grounded to second.

End of the fourth, Tigers 7, Red Sox 0: Not exactly what Jake Peavy was looking for, huh?

The righthander delivered a brutal start, lasting just three innings, departing after 65 pitches with Austin Jackson on first base after a rocketed single that Dustin Pedroia couldn't corral.

Jackson's hit scored Omar Infante, who led off the inning with a groundrule double.

Brandon Workman replaced Peavy and nearly wriggled out of further trouble. After Jackson stole second, Jose Iglesias sacrificed him to third, with Workman making a fine play on the bunt.

Workman then stabbed a Torii Hunter one-hopper up the middle to hold Jackson at third. But Cabrera singled past Pedroia to drive in the seventh run. Cabrera stole second, but Prince Fielder whiffed to leave him stranded at second.

Middle of the fourth: Still nothing doing for the Sox against Fister. Jarrod Saltalamacchia looped a two-out single to right, but Stephen Drew's routine fly out to Torii Hunter ended any hope of a threat.

Drew is now 3 for 26 in the playoffs. Might be time to give the kid a game.

End of the third, Tigers 5, Red Sox 0: Peavy goes 1-2-3 the inning after his disaster, retiring Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta on groundouts and Alex Avila on a can of corn to left. Small victories or something like that.

The Sox are getting on base. Let's see if they can get a few runners across the plate against Fister, who is at 45 pitches.

Middle of the third: The Red Sox got a couple of runners on and had the hitter they wanted at the plate, but they couldn't cut into the Tigers' lead.

With two on and two outs, David Ortiz grounded to second base to end the inning.

It ended a potential rally that began when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out rocket to right field. Torii Hunter played it perfectly off the wall, and Ellsbury had to retreat to second.

After Shane Victorino was called out on strikes -- he had a brief beef with home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after strike three -- Dustin Pedroia walked.

But on a 3-2 count, Fister retired Ortiz on a routine grounder to second.

End of the second, Tigers 5, Red Sox 0: Well, that was a terrible half-inning for the Red Sox in just about a half-dozen ways. At least five, anyway.

Start with Peavy, who walked three batters in the frame. He allowed just 2.2 walks per 9 innings this season. After Victor Martinez's leadoff single, he walked Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila (on eight pitches, after a 1-2 count).

Jacoby Ellsbury went a long way to haul in a soft Omar Infante fly ball to center, and though he had to dive to make the play, Martinez couldn't tag up.

It didn't much matter. Peavy walked Austin Jackson, demoted to the eighth spot, on four pitches, scoring the game's first run. Jackson walked just 52 times during the regular season.

That's when the defense let him down. Dustin Pedroia deserves a Gold Glove for his defense this season, but his bobble of a Jose Iglesias grounder prevented the Sox from turning an inning-ending double play. Instead, they settled for a force out at second, with a second run crossing the plate.

The Tigers took advantage, making it 4-0 on Torii Hunter's rocket down the third base line in which Iglesias scored all the way from first. Miguel Cabrera plated Hunter with a flare to center for a 5-0 lead.

Peavy finally escaped by retiring Prince Fielder on a grounder to Pedroia. But the damage was done.

Middle of the second: The Red Sox wasted the first legitimate scoring opportunity of the game.

Mike Napoli led off with a double that ricocheted off Miguel Cabrera's glove at third, and Daniel Nava followed with a grounder to second to move him to third.

But Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who entered the game 5 for 11 in his career against Fister, popped up to Cabrera in foul ground. Stephen Drew, just 1 for 9 in the series, struck out to leave the Napoli stranded.

End of the first inning, Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: The Tigers' reshuffled top of the order produced familiar results on its first time around tonight.

Jake Peavy sandwiched a pair of groundouts to third baseman Will Middlebrooks around a strikeout of new No. 2 hitter Miguel Cabrera, requiring just 12 pitches to get through the first.

Peavy rallied back from a 3-1 count against Cabrera to get him looking on a sharp 83 mph slider. Fielder followed with a much quicker at-bat -- he grounded out on the first pitch he saw.

Middle of the first: Well, there will be no no-hit drama with the Red Sox tonight. Dustin Pedroia's sharp single with two outs snapped the Tigers' streak of four straight starts of taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning or beyond.

Unfortunately for the visitors, the Sox couldn't turn Pedroia's hit into anything else on the scoreboard. David Ortiz grounded to Omar Infante (and into the shift) to end their half of the inning. Doug Fister needed just 11 pitches to get through the first frame.

Pregame: You know the big news: Tigers manager Jim Leyland shuffled his lineup after John Lackey and a trio of relievers held his team scoreless in Game 3.

Leadoff hitter Austin Jackson, who is 3 for 33 with 18 strikeouts this postseason, was dropped to the No. 8 spot. Everyone else save for No. 9 hitter Jose Iglesias moved up a spot, meaning Torii Hunter is leading off for the first time since 1999, while ailing slugger Miguel Cabrera is hitting second for the first time since 2004.

"Basically I just moved everybody up," said Leyland during his afternoon press conference. "And that means in the first inning we'll have Hunter, who's had some success. And you know he's tough, he's had some success against [Jake] Peavy.

"And follow it up with two guys that could hit a ball out of the ballpark. Miguel, who is always up in the first inning, obviously, Miguel and Prince will come up in the first inning, Victor behind him. I played Victor behind instead of third because Victor can score Prince. But if you put Miggy and Victor right back-to-back, you're talking about two guys who have to pinch run for them."

For the Red Sox, Daniel Nava makes his first start since Game 1, replacing Jonny Gomes.

"Daniel has had some decent success against Doug,'' said Farrell. "And as we've mixed and matched for the better part of this year, except for the last couple of times against righthanders in Scherzer and Verlander when we've gone with Gomes, Nava has been a fixture in left field for us against right‑handed pitcher. So those things combined, Daniel is back out there tonight."

Former Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker will throw out the first pitch.

ALCS Game 4 pregame chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 16, 2013 06:00 PM

Big changes for the Tigers Wednesday in advance of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series: Miguel Cabrera has been moved up to the second spot in the lineup, with Torii Hunter hitting leadoff for the first time since 1999. Austin Jackson drops from first to eighth. For the Red Sox, who lead the series 2-1 after Tuesday's 1-0 thriller, Daniel Nava is back in the lineup for Jonny Gomes against sinkerballing righty Doug Fister. Jake Peavy, who was excellent in Game 4 of the ALDS, gets the ball for the Sox. We'll talk about this and more in our pregame chat. Check in below to chime in.

 

Leyland shuffles the Detroit lineup

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 16, 2013 04:32 PM

DETROIT — Detroit manager Jim Leyland is as old school as they come. But his lineup for Game 4 reflects a very modern approach.

Sabermetricians have long advocated that a team should put its best hitters at the top of the lineup regardless of their physical skills. The idea is to get the best players the most plate appearances, not to put a "speed guy" hitting first and a "contact hitter" second and so on.

The Tigers are doing that Wednesday night with Torii Hunter hitting first, Miguel Cabrera hitting second, and Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, and Jhonny Peralta following from there. Based on OPS, Cabrera, Fielder, Peralta, and Hunter are the four best hitters on the team.

Hunter is 7 of 16 against Red Sox starter Jake Peavy.

"Basically I just moved everybody up," Leyland said. "That means in the first inning we'll have Hunter, who's had some success. And you know he's tough, he's had some success against Peavy. And follow it up with two guys that could hit a ball out of the ballpark.

"Miguel, who is always up in the first inning, obviously. Miguel and Prince will come up in the first inning, Victor behind him. I played Victor behind instead of third because Victor can score Prince. But if you put Miggy and Victor right back-to-back, you're talking about two guys, you have to pinch run for them."

Hunter has not hit leadoff since July 4, 1999, when he was with the Twins. Cabrera has not hit second outside of two games with the Marlins in 2004.

"You can say I'm nuts, you can say I'm dumb, you can say whatever you want," said Leyland. "It does give you something to write about."

The lineup should not affect the Red Sox and Peavy very much. One way or another, he was going to deal with Cabrera in the first inning.

ALCS Game 4: Red Sox at Tigers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 16, 2013 02:55 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:
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RED SOX (2-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Daniel Nava LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17).

TIGERS (1-2)
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Jhonny Peralta LF
Alex Avila C
Omar Infante 2B
Austin Jackson CF
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Doug Fister (14-9. 3.67).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/radio: Fox / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Fister: Ortiz 5-20, Napoli 2-14, Nava 5-12, Pedroia 3-13, Ellsbury 3-8, Salty 5-11, Drew 1-9, Middlebrooks 2-5, Victorino 4-5, Gomes 1-3, Carp 0-2.

Tigers vs. Peavy: Cabrera 13-45 (3 HRs), Fielder 10-36, Peralta 7-34, Jackson 9-28, Avila 4-21, Dirks 4-18, Hunter 7-16, Santiago 2-13, Kelly 1-9, Pena 2-8, Martinez 2-7, Infante 1-5.

Stat of the Day: There have been four 1-0 games in this year's postseason, two in the ALCS. That is tied with 1991 for the most ever.

Key matchup: Jacoby Ellsbury has been little factor in the series, going 1 for 10 and scoring one run. He has been on base three times and has yet to steal a base. If the Sox are going to generate some offense, it has to come from the top. How Fister handles Ellsbury early in the game will be significant.

Notes: The Sox lead the series, two games to one, despite scoring seven runs and going 12 for 90 (.133) at the plate with 43 strikeouts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the lowest batting average for any team through the first three games of an ALCS or NLCS. The Red Sox have not recorded a hit prior to the fifth inning in any of the first three games ... Red Sox pitchers have allowed six runs over 27 innings and struck out 25. The Tigers are 5 for 27 with runners in scoring position ... All three games have been decided by one run ... Peavy is 4-5, 4.83 in 12 career starts against Detroit, 2-4, 6.18 in nine starts over the last three years. He faced the Tigers July 25 and allowed four runs over seven innings ... Fister is 2-4, 4.36 in eight career starts against the Sox. The sinkerballer faced them twice this season and allowed six runs on 15 hits over 10.1 innings. In his last four starts against the Sox, Fister has given up 12 earned runs on 29 hits over 19 innings. But Fister did shut out the Red Sox for seven innings on Sept. 2, allowing four hits. Three double plays helped him that day ... The Sox have had the lead in only four of 27 innings in the series ... Prince Fielder is 8 for 29 in the postseason without an RBI. Going back to 2012, he does not have an RBI in his last 15 postseason games ... Austin Jackson is 3 for 33 in the postseason with 18 strikeouts and is out of the leadoff spot. He is 1 for 13 in the ALCS ... Jhonny Peralta is 10 for 24 in the postseason and Jose Iglesias 2 for 16.

Red Sox in the postseason: Ellsbury 10-28, Victorino 7-25, Pedroia 6-27, Ortiz 6-23, Napoli 3-21, Nava 2-8, Gomes 4-16, Salty 4-18, Drew 3-24, Middlebrooks 4-21, Ross 1-6, Bogaerts 0-1, Carp 0-4.

Song of the Day: "The Fourth Man In The Fire" by Johnny Cash.

Today in Detroit: Live video at 5, pregame chat at 7 and more

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff October 16, 2013 01:15 PM

Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Tigers takes place Wednesday night at 8:07 p.m., and Boston.com has you covered. Here's a look at some of our planned coverage:

-- Steve Silva and Dan Shaughnessy checked in with the first of two live video hits from Detroit in the video clip above. There will be another live look-in at 5 p.m. on the front page of Boston.com featuring Chad Finn and Nick Cafardo.

-- Chad Finn will chat with readers starting at 7 p.m. up to game time.

-- We'll have a live blog of running commentary and social media during Game 4, as well as the traditional Extra Bases game updates and comments.

-- During tonight's game, check out Soxcaster, an interactive game developed by the Boston.com product team. Predict the outcome of game situations and be entered to win prizes.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the game.

The power of pitching

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 16, 2013 12:42 PM

DETROIT — The Red Sox are 12 of 90 (.133) in the ALCS with seven runs, four extra-base hits and 43 strikeouts in three games. That's right, 43 strikeouts in 90 at-bats.

Yet they lead the series 2-1.

The Cardinals are hitting .148 in the NLCS with a .465 OPS. They lead the Dodgers 3-1 in that series.

Red Sox pitchers have a 2.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in the ALCS. The relievers have not allowed a run over 8.1 innings. Take away Clay Buchholz's rough sixth inning in Game 2 and the Red Sox have allowed two runs.

A team that won with relentless offense and solid pitching all season is now winning with no offense and relentless pitching.

"It doesn't matter how you win as long as you win," Dustin Pedroia said Tuesday.

Especially in October. Game 4 is at 8:07 p.m. tonight. Check back later for the lineups and preview.

Verlander's 10 Ks go to waste

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 10:26 PM

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DETROIT – Justin Verlander's run of 34 scoreless innings came to an end in the worst possible way.

After taking boxing-fail swings at Verlander's fastball in his first two at-bats, Mike Napoli ultimately caught up to one in the seventh inning on a full count, launching it into left-center for a home run that ended up being the difference in the Red Sox's 1-0 ALCS Game 3 win over the Tigers.

Before that at-bat, Napoli had stuck out twice (once on a slider and then on a fastball), and the combination had worked so well against Napoli all day that Verlander assumed things would work out the same way.

Until they didn't.

"I felt like he hadn't seen the fastball very well today, either, and he took those two sliders before that pitch," Verlander said. "The second one I threw was a really good slider that he didn't chase. So 3-2 there, and having faced him a couple of times already, I knew he wasn't seeing the fastball that great. I decided to challenge him. I made a little bit of a mistake. It was a little bit up and over the middle. You have to give him credit."

It was, by Tigers catcher Alex Avila's estimation, perhaps Verlander's only true mistake of the night.

He struck out 10, his fifth straight double-digit strikeout game going back to Sept. 23 against the Minnesota Twins, and the Tigers couldn't help but think the dominant performance was squandered.

“It's obvious,” said Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter. “Everybody, the fans are frustrated, we're frustrated, coaching staff, everybody's frustrated that we couldn't get any runs support for JV after that pitching performance. Lackey pitched a great job himself. Yeah, it's frustrating, but we're not going to dwell on it. We've got to have amnesia.”

• A complete absence of production at the top of the order may force Tigers manager Jim Leyland to tinker with things.

Austin Jackson is 1 for 13 in the ALCS. With a walk in the eighth inning, Jackson reached base for the first time in 10 plate appearances. With Jackson going 3 for 30 overall in the postseason, Leyland said he might consider a change.

"The only thing you could think about would be possibly play [Don Kelly] in center field," Leyland said. "I would think that would be the only move you could think about. Thought about that one time in the series.

"But I'm not really sure that's the answer. I'll have to think about that one, sleep on it tonight."

• The lights at Comerica Park went out in the second inning after, as Major League Baseball standards and on-field operations senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr. explained, an electrical sub-station went offline.

DTE Energy chief operating officer Steve Kurmas issued a statement on the power outage that cause a 17-minute delay.

“We’ve identified the cause of the disturbance and we worked with officials at Comerica Park to resolve the issue quickly,” said Kurmas. “We regret the interruption.”

Lackey burnishes his Red Sox legacy

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 10:17 PM

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Jim Davis/Globe Staff

DETROIT — John Lackey has been an acquired taste for Red Sox fans. For some, it will never happen.

The Red Sox paid a premium for Lackey before the 2010 season and did not get the return expected. He had a 5.26 earned run average in his first two seasons pitching for teams that did not make the playoffs.

That he gutted out the second half of the 2011 season with a torn elbow ligament was a litigating factor only in some minds.

Lackey also lost points by refusing to play nice. He said what was on his mind to the media, not the usual happy-talk cliches. His behavior on the mound reflected that same lack of filter. Lackey argued with managers when they came to take him out or threw up his arms in disgust when something went wrong.

When Tom Brady barks at teammates, he's a leader of men. When Lackey did it he was showing them up.

That Lackey actually had the support of his teammates and was a popular figure in the clubhouse didn't matter. He was an easy target for fans and some in the media, the classic overpaid out-of-towner Boston loves to bury.

By the end of the 2011 season, Lackey's postgame media sessions were painful and to this day he does not tip his cap to a crowd that once savaged him just for walking out to the mound.

Tuesday's 1-0 victory against Detroit in Game 3 of the ALCS should change Lackey's legacy. This was the kind of game that made him so popular with the Angels.

Lackey went pitch for pitch, zero for zero, against Justin Verlander on the road in a playoff game and never blinked. He was so good that when John Farrell came to take him out in the seventh inning, Twitter exploded with calls to leave him in.

Lackey allowed four hits and struck out eight without a walk. He left the game grudgingly with two outs in the seventh inning, shaking his head when Farrell came to the mound and muttering a curse.

Farrell, a former pitcher, understood the emotions.

“If you poll any starting pitcher they want that moment,” he said. “They want the importance of every pitch to be on it, particularly this late in the season. They want that responsibility. John is no different.”

Lackey and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked smoothly all game, mixing in an effective curveball to complement good command of his fastball.

Lackey's best work came in the fifth inning. Biogenesis All-Star Jhonny Peralta led off with a double and took third when Alex Avila grounded out. Lackey struck out Omar Infante then got Andy Dirks to ground to second. Lackey pumped his fist as he walked off the field.

Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez were 2 for 9 against Lackey. In every way that he could pitch well, he did.

Lackey dropped his postseason ERA to 3.10 in 16 appearances. October has long been one of his best months and here he is again, pitching a team into a series lead. The Red Sox have won both games he has started in the postseason. His next start could be in the World Series.

Lackey, frustrated so often in his four seasons with the Sox, couldn’t stop smiling after the game.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I knew I was going to have to pitch pretty good today.”

Lackey was at the podium with Mike Napoli, whose home run provided all the run support he needed.

"I got to see John when he was really good in Anaheim. Coming up as a rookie I looked up to him. He was a veteran to me, showed me the way on the field, off the field, how to carry myself," Napoli said.

"So to see what he's gone through and to bounce back like this, it's awesome. It's a good feeling just to see a friend be able to overcome some stuff and get healthy and be who he is."

Also:

• For the postseason, Red Sox pitchers have a 2.59 earned run average over seven games. A team that led baseball in scoring is now leaning on its pitching. Tuesday was the first 1-0 game the Sox have won this season.

• Detroit’s three starters have allowed two runs and struck out 35 over 21 innings in the series. But the Tigers are down a game. “The runs are pretty stingy,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “This is what it’s about in the postseason, good pitching.”

• David Ortiz played in his 64th postseason game for the Sox, a franchise record. He had been tied with Jason Varitek.

• The Red Sox had several young players working out at their complex in Florida in case they were needed but they were allowed to go home.

• The win was the third 1-0 postseason victory for the Sox, the first since Game 1 of the 1986 World Series.

• The first three games of the series have been decided by one run.

• Jake Peavy is still excited about the grand slam Ortiz hit Sunday night. “David Ortiz, what can you say? They just inducted him in the Hall of Fame. I thought we should have an induction ceremony yesterday after that, that just solidifies this guy's legacy,” Peavy said. “He's a stud and has a flair for the dramatic and wants to be in that situation.”

Game 3 delayed when lights go out

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 05:03 PM

DETROIT -- Game 3 of the American League Championship Series was delayed for 17 minutes when the lights went out at Comerica Field.

Joe Garagiola Jr., a senior vice president for MLB Standards and On-Field Operations,said in a statement that an electrical sub-station went offline, causing the power outage, which began at 4:42 p.m.

The delay in the game may not have been necessary: it's still light enough to play.

The lights went out after Tigers starter Justin Verlander struck out Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jonny Gomes in his 26-pitch second inning following a David Ortiz walk.

Red Sox starter John Lackey paced in the dugout for much of the delay, then had to wait for right fielder Shane Victorino to return to the field before the game resumed.

The delay did not affect Lackey, who breezed through a 1-2-3 bottom of the second in 15 pitches.

The game remains scoreless.

Final: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 03:55 PM

DETROIT -- John Lackey pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings and three relievers made the lone run hold up as the Red Sox defeated the Tigers, 1-0, in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

The Red Sox now lead the series, 2-1.

Lackey, bumped from the second to third spot in the Red Sox rotation for this series, was exceptional, matching the Tigers' Justin Verlander out for out.

The Red Sox posted the game's lone run when Mike Napoli hit a 96-mph Verlander fastball into the left field seats in the top of the seventh inning.

Koji Uehara recorded the save with 1.1 innings of one-hit baseball. He struck out Alex Avila to end it.

But the most crucial out of the night came in the eighth inning -- and it wasn't the exceptional Uehara who recorded it.

In the biggest moment of his career so far, Junichi Tazawa struck out Miguel Cabrera on four pitches -- all fastballs -- with runners at the corners and no outs.

Then closer Uehara came on to record a three-pitch strikeout of Prince Fielder as the Sox escaped the threat.

The inning began innocently -- and strangely -- enough, as light-hitting Jose Iglesias pinch-hit for Andy Dirks against Breslow. Iglesias struck out on three pitches.

But Austin Jackson, who walked just 52 times in 614 plate appearances this season, worked a five-pitch free-pass, and Torii Hunter moved him to third with a sharp single to right, setting the stage for the Tigers' two thumpers to try to tie the score or put Detroit ahead.

With Tazawa and Uehara warming, Farrell turned to the former, and Tazawa delivered. Cabrera had been having trouble with fastballs against Lackey earlier in the game, and Tazawa threw nothing but heat away to record the crucial strikeout.

With the lefthanded Fielder coming to the plate, Farrell summed Uehara, who needed just three pitches to put away the Tigers' first baseman.

Middle of the eighth, Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: Stephen Drew leads off with a single to right and moves to second on Torii Hunter's misplay, but Verlander is Verlander, and the Sox can't add a second run. Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury fly out, and Shane Victorino ends the threat by lining softly to Jhonny Peralta.

End of the seventh, Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: John Lackey's night is done after just 97 pitches and against his will, but he departs with the lead and knowing he pitched an extraordinary game.

John Farrell removed Lackey after Jhonny Peralta flew to right field for the second out of the innings. That at-bat followed Victor Martinez's sharp single, and Lackey did go to a 3-0 count on Peralta before retiring him, so perhaps Farrell saw signs that he was slipping.

Craig Breslow came in for Lackey and walked Alex Avila, which sparked the Comerica Park crowd. But he got Omar Infante to ground routinely to second for the final out.

The final line on Lackey: 6.2 innings 4 hits, no walks, 8 strikeouts, and a 1-0 lead after 97 pitches.

Middle of the seventh, Red Sox 1, Tigers 0: There was probably never any doubt about Mike Napoli returning to the Red Sox' starting lineup after sitting for Mike Carp in Game 2.

Still, John Farrell suddenly looks somewhat prescient for putting Napoli back in the No. 5 spot.

The Red Sox' streak-prone first baseman just did what often seems impossible: he caught up with a Justin Verlander 96-mph fastball and deposited it in the left field seats for the first run of the game.

Napoli, who entered the game hitting .118 this postseason, hit his first homer of the playoffs on a 3-2 pitch from Verlander.

Verlander retired the next two batters, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes, on strikeouts. But the first run of the game belongs to the Red Sox.

End of the sixth, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: How about this performance by John Lackey. He just keeps mowing 'em down.

The righthander needed nine pitches in the sixth to strikeout Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter, then retired Miguel Cabrera on a harmless pop to first base for the third out.

The Red Sox get their second hit and first real scoring threat in their half, but Verlander shut down any hopes they had of scoring the first run.

Lackey has allowed three hits through six innings with eight strikeouts. He hasn't walked a batter and has thrown 88 pitches. Exceptional.

With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a sharp single to center. Ellsbury, who led the majors with 52 stolen bases this season, had Verlander's attention, drawing five throws to first. Ellsbury didn't steal with Shane Victorino at-bat. But after the Sox' No. 2 hitter flew to Dirks in left, Ellsbury advanced to second on a wild pitch with Dustin Pedroia at the plate.

But Pedroia, who is now hitting just .250 this postseason, grounded to short to end the threat on Verlander's 90th pitch of the game.

End of the fifth, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: There's more than one exceptional pitching performance going on a Comerica Park right now.

John Lackey worked around a leadoff double to Jhonny Peralta -- which ended a stretch of 10 consecutive Tigers retired by the Red Sox starter -- to keep the game scoreless through five.

Alex Avila moved Peralta to third on a broken-bat groundout to second. But then he recorded a huge strikeout of Omar Infante, getting him to swing at a cutter to cap an eight-pitch battle. He then retired Andy Dirks on a soft grounder to Dustin Pedroia.

As for the top of the inning, go ahead and say it: Jose Iglesias would have had it.

The Red Sox got their first hit of the game off Verlander when Jonny Gomes hit slow roller up the middle.

Jhonny Peralta, starting a shortstop instead of the defensively superior Iglesias, was slow to field the ball, and Fielder could not handle his throw at the other end.

It wasn't a hard hit for Gomes, but it was a legitimate one. He was left stranded at first when Stephen Drew grounded to second.

This is fourth straight postseason game that the Tigers starter has taken a no-hitter into the fifth or beyond. Verlander did it twice, including during Game 5 of the ALDS against the Athletics.

End of the fourth, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: Hard to ask for more out of Lackey at this point.

He sailed through his third straight 1-2-3 inning, having retired 10 in a row. He hasn't allowed a baserunner since Prince Fielder's two-out single in the first.

He breezed through the heart of the Tigers' order in the fourth, striking out Cabrera swinging on a 92 mph fastball before getting Fielder and Martinez to ground out.

In the top half, David Ortiz gave the Comerica Park crowd a scare, driving a Verlander pitch deep to left with two outs in the inning.

But Andy Dirks tracked it down in front of the wall for the final out. The Sox remain without a hit.

The fourth was Verlander's second inning in which he did not record a strikeout. Victorino popped to Avila, and Pedroia flew to left before Ortiz's long but ultimately fruitless drive.

End of the third, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: John Lackey is holding up his end of the bargain for the Red Sox -- including piling up a few strikeouts of his own.

Lackey struck out the first two batters of the third -- Andy Dirks and the struggling Austin Jackson -- to bring his total of consecutive strikeouts. The streak ended when he got Torii Hunter to ground softly to second base.

Meanwhile, Verlander is on his game even by his high standards.

He's now struck out six consecutive Red Sox hitters, including Jacoby Ellsbury to end the top of the third on a curveball so vicious that it may be illegal in some states.

He got Stephen Drew swinging on a 94-mph fastball before striking out Will Middlebrooks and Ellsbury looking.

Stop me if this sounds familiar: The Red Sox are still looking for their first hit.

End of the second, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: Play resumes after a 17-minute delay.

Lackey looked a bit annoyed as he had to wait for Shane Victorino to return to the field, but it didn't affect his performance. He breezed through a 1-2-3 bottom of the second in 15 pitches, striking out Alex Avila and Omar Infante for the final two outs.

No explanation has been given so far for what caused the outage. And the delay in the game may not have been necessary: it's still light enough to play.

The lights went out after Tigers starter Justin Verlander struck out Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jonny Gomes in his 26-pitch second inning following a David Ortiz walk.

Lackey paced in the dugout for much of the delay, then had to wait for right fielder Shane Victorino to return to the field before the game resumed.

Middle of the second inning, delay: Well, get ready for lots of references to Justin Verlander's lights-out performance should the Tigers win this one.

After Verlander struck out Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jonny Gomes in the first following a David Ortiz walk, the lights went out at Comerica Park, which has led to what we hope is a brief delay.

Verlander was on his game in the top of the second, though Gomes gave him an entertaining battle, fouling off five pitches after falling behind 1-2 before finally succumbing on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. Verlander did need 26 pitches to get through the inning.

The lights are coming back on here, so they should be resuming play soon.

End of the first inning, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: One inning down, and one jam escaped by Red Sox starter John Lackey.

On the seventh pitch of his at-bat, Tigers No. 5 hitter and designated hitter Victor Martinez flew softly to Jacoby Ellsbury in center for the third out, leaving runners stranded on the corners.

Torii Hunter's one-out single went for the game's first hit, and after Miguel Cabrera -- it goes without saying that he's the "always-dangerous Miguel Cabrera,'' right? -- flew to Ellsbury, Prince Fielder followed with a hard single to center, moving Hunter to third.

But Lackey escaped by retiring his former batterymate with the 2010 Red Sox.

In Game 1, Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez struck four batters.

Tuesday, Tigers starter Justin Verlander didn't even throw enough pitches to strike out three -- he required just eight pitches to get through the first three batters.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off by grounding to third on the fourth pitch he saw. Shane Victorino saw three pitches before lining softly to second baseman Omar Infante. And Dustin Pedroia flew to right on the first pitch he saw.

All three out were recorded on four-seam fastballs by Verlander.

Pregame: Red Sox manager John Farrell made some interesting decisions for the Game 3 lineup. Righthanded-hitting Jonny Gomes gets the start against Tigers righthander Justin Verlander, with Daniel Nava, who had the Sox' lone hit in Game 3, starting the game on the bench.

One reason for Farrell's call is Verlander's reverse-split this year. No one hit him particularly well, but righthanders had better success (..275 batting average/.327 on-base percentage/.412 slugging) than did lefties (.237/.307/.351).

But Farrell said more than that went into his decision.

"With Jonny in left field today, I just felt like the ability to keep us right and left alternately pretty much through our entire lineup, and the one thing we discussed yesterday or mentioned yesterday was when we've done some things offensively Jonny has been in the middle of it,'' said Farrell. "I think he brings a little different personality to our team.
And that's not to be demeaning to Daniel Nava in any way, just felt like going up against Verlander today, if he's on, we can probably take those matchups and discard them somewhat. We're looking at a different lineup, different look today."

Mike Napoli is also back in the Sox lineup after beginning Game 2 on the bench. For the Tigers, Jhonny Peralta is back at shortstop -- Jose Iglesias started there in Game 2 -- while Andy Dirks is in left field.

"We're not getting a lot of production out of left field unless we start Peralta there,'' said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "[Dirks] has done a little bit off Lackey. I thought we'd change it up a little bit and run him out there, maybe get something, catch lightning in a bottle. That's the lineup. We'll see how it plays out."

There aren't many cities with the rich music history of Detroit, and the Tigers called upon those Motown roots by having The Four Tops sing the National Anthem ... Lance Parrish, the catcher on the Tigers' 1984 World Championship team, threw out the first pitch ... There was a moment of silence for Wally Bell, the respected umpire who died of a heart attack Monday at age 48.

Tributes paid to Wally Bell

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 03:45 PM

Players from both teams were saddened to hear of the passing of umpire Wally Bell on Monday. Bell, 48, died of a heart attack in Ohio. He was an umpire for 21 seasons.

Jake Peavy, who is starting Game 4 for the Red Sox, spoke emotionally about Bell before his press conference this afternoon.

"I just wanted to say on the record how deeply saddened everybody in our community obviously is with the passing of Wally Bell, and our thoughts and prayers are certainly with his family," Peavy said. "Wally was a tremendous, tremendous umpire, but a tremendous person, as well. We're here today, I think everybody, man for man in that clubhouse, I know I speak for our guys, we're devastated by the news last night and our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

There was a moment of silence before the game for Bell and the six umpires working the game left a space open in their ranks as they stood behind the plate with their heads bowed.

Why the Sox haven't bunted on Cabrera

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 03:16 PM

DETROIT -- When he's healthy, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera does not move around very well in the field. Now that he's dealing with assorted health issues, why aren't the Red Sox bunting on him?

It's a question asked by many fans and it's a reasonable one. But Sox manager John Farrell had a good answer Tuesday.

"That's why you see against the guys that are bunting types that he has been damn near even with the mound," Farrell said. "He's 45 feet from home plate. We're probably more willing to try and put a ball by him than bunt into his own self-imposed shift."

Beyond that, the Sox don't have many bunters. The Sox had 17 bunt hits in the regular season. Seven were by Shane Victorino and six by Jose Iglesias, now a member of the Tigers. Nobody else had more than one.

David Ross bunts for a hit on occasion and is adept at it. But that's pretty much it. Jacoby Ellsbury, who almost always fakes a bunt on the first pitch, has one bunt single since the start of the 2010 season.

"Outside of those guys, we're not going to ask somebody to come out of their game," Farrell said.

Then comes the problem of trying to bunt against pitchers throwing in the mid to upper 90s.

"To think, 'Hey, let's go ahead and bunt him,' well, it's not that [expletive] easy," Farrell said.

Justin Verlander clicking in the postseason

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 02:46 PM

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DETROIT -- The penalty of putting together a 24-win, 250-strikeout, 2.40 ERA, Cy Young, MVP season -- which Justin Verlander did in 2011 -- is the impossibly high bar it sets going forward.

After going 13-12 this year (his worst record since 2008), with a 3.46 ERA (his highest since 2009), and 217 strikeouts (his fewest since 2008), Verlander has had to answer time and again what's happened to him.

His response is sarcastic but also straightforward.

"We're not robots, we're athletes," Verlander said going into his ALCS Game 3 start against the Red Sox. "You can't just say you're going to go out and be perfect, everything is going to be right where you want every time. That's just the nature of this game, and specifically this game. Guys have up and down seasons.

"You can't just rely on athletic ability or whatever it may be. There's a lot of fine-tuned things that go into mechanics, not just pitching, hitting as well. You look at the back of Hall of Famers and bubble gum cards, there's seasons that are down. It's just kind of the way this game is. It was a grind for me all year."

During the regular season, Verlander said he was constantly trying to work out bugs in his delivery. In the final month, things began to click. He put in quality starts in five of his last six outings.

Things came together just as the postseason came around. In the playoffs, he has pitched 15 straight scoreless innings. His 10 strikeouts in the Tigers' clinching Game 5 Division Series win over Oakland marked the fifth time he had double-digit strikeouts in a postseason game, the most in Tigers history.

"I could probably sit here and name 50 adjustments that I tried to make that didn't quite work or did help," he said. "Who knows what helped along the way and what didn't? But I really felt like the last month of the season I started to kind of get it to click.

"With all the adjustments I've been making, when I'm out on the mound, I've still got those in my head a little bit. I try to shove them in the back of your mind -- you want to forget them and pitch.

"When I know things aren't right and I'm trying to get them right -- let's do this, let's do that -- I found the only thing is execution. I feel like my mechanics are where they need to be and I need to execute. Just forget about all that and just make my pitch."

The Red Sox have given Verlander a hard time over his career. Verlander is 3-4 with a 3.63 ERA all-time against the Sox, and David Ortiz is hitting .370 lifetime against him with two home runs. In his only start against the Sox this season back in June, Verlander gave up four runs on seven hits and didn't get the decision in the Tigers' 7-5 win.

He threw 112 pitches in those five innings. As transparent as the Red Sox are about wanting to drive up pitch counts, Verlander said he wants to continue to be aggressive.

"Obviously, most of the veteran lineups in baseball are guys that have professional at-bats and tend to extend pitch counts and do all the little things that they can to get the starting pitcher out of the game," Verlander said. "I think the only way you combat that is be aggressive, throw a lot of strikes, and pound the zone."

Gomes in left field against Verlander

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 02:15 PM

DETROIT — When Red Sox manager John Farrell suggests he will do something, he usually does. So Jonny Gomes is starting in left field Tuesday against a righthander. Oh, and it's Justin Verlander.

Gomes is 0 for 9 in his career against Verlander, but Daniel Nava is only 1 for 3, so it's not as if Farrell is going against convention all that much.

“You can make an argument that if [Verlander] is on, you can take all the matchups and throw them out the window,” Farrell said. “But we have seen that whether it’s coming off the bench or whether it’s in a starting role, Jonny’s in the middle of things when we’re getting things done.

“That’s not being demeaning or trying to not recognize what Daniel Nava’s done for us this year. But given how we anticipate the way Verlander is going to throw, I like this matchup.”

Righthanded batters have actually hit better against Verlander (.275/.327/.412) this season than lefthanded batters (.237/.307/.351).

"Whether it's the consistency of a breaking ball going away from a righthander, whether there have been pitches that have leaked back to the middle of the plate that haven't stayed true to his glove side away from a righthander, those could be all reasons for it," Farrell said. "I can't go back into every one of his games and pinpoint a reason why."

ALCS Game 3: Red Sox at Tigers

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 12:30 PM

Thumbnail image for 2013_alcs.jpgGood afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (1-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Jonny Gomes LF
Stephen Drew SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (10-13, 3.52; 1-0, 6.75 postseason).

TIGERS (1-1)
Austin Jackson CF
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Omar Infante 2B
Andy Dirks LF
Pitching: vs. RHP Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46; 1-0, 0.00 postseason).

Game time: 4:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Verlander: Ortiz 10-27 (2 HR), Napoli 7-23, Ellsbury 5-22, Pedroia 1-18, Drew 3-15 (10 K), Salty 2-15 (8 K), Gomes 0-9, Carp 0-5, Victorino 0-6, Nava 1-3, Middlebrooks 1-2.

Tigers vs. Lackey: Hunter 13-56, Martinez 11-29, Peralta 11-31, Infante 3-14, Cabrera 4-12, Avila 0-7, Fielder 4-9, Santiago 2-9, Jackson 3-8, Dirks 2-5, Kelly 2-6, Pena 3-6, Iglesias 1-3.

Stat of the Day: Red Sox pitchers have a 3.02 earned run average and 1.16 WHIP in six postseason games.

Papi power: Ortiz is tied for ninth in career postseason home runs with 15. He is fifth in RBIs with 61. The leader is Bernie Williams with 80.

Notes: The series is 1-1 and now shifts to Comerica Park for three games. ... Lackey faced the Tigers twice this season, allowing five runs over 14.1 innings. He is 6-3 with a 3.86 earned run average in 12 career starts against Detroit, 4-1 with a 3.83 ERA in six starts at Comerica Park. Lackey is 4-4, 3.35 in 15 postseason games, 13 of them starts. ... Verlander threw 15 scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics in the Division Series. Going back to the regular season, he is riding a streak of 28 scoreless innings. Verlander is 3-4, 3.63 in 11 career starts against the Sox. Verlander is 7-4, 3.48 in 11 postseason starts. ... The Red Sox bullpen in the postseason: 17 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 15 K.

Red Sox hitters in the postseason: Ellsbury 9-24, Victorino 7-21, Pedroia 6-23, Ortiz 6-20, Napoli 2-17, Nava 2-8, Gomes 3-13, Salty 4-15, Drew 2-21, Middlebrooks 4-18, Ross 1-6, Bogaerts 0-1, Carp 0-4.

Song of the Day: "I Just Want To Celebrate" by Rare Earth.

ALCS Game 3 pregame chat at 3 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 15, 2013 12:17 PM

Mike Napoli returns to the Red Sox' lineup for Game 3, while Jonny Gomes remains in place of Daniel Nava against Justin Verlander in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park. Verlander, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner, has been rolling lately, with 15 shutout innings in two postseason starts. But if you believe in momentum, it should belong to the Red Sox after their thrilling walkoff win in Game 2 at Fenway. Boston.com columnist Chad Finn, who is in Detroit, will discuss this and more in our pregame chat set for 3 p.m. Check in below to join in.

 

Napoli will return to first base in Game 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 14, 2013 08:34 PM

DETROIT — John Farrell said Mike Napoli would be back at first base for Game 3 of the ALCS. He also suggested that Jonny Gomes could start in left field.

Napoli is an obvious choice to return. He is 7 of 23 against Verlander with a home run, five walks and only five strikeouts. Mike Carp, who started Game 2 at first base, is 0 for 5 in his career against Verlander.

Napoli is 2 for 17 in the postseason with eight strikeouts but said he remains confident at the plate.

“I feel fine and I felt fine [Sunday], too. I want to get out there and compete,” Napoli said. “It’s the postseason. The spotlight is on every single little thing that you do. I feel good at the plate. I feel like I’ve just been missing some pitches.”

Gomes is 0 for 9 against Verlander with three walks and three strikeouts. Daniel Nava is 1 for 3 with a double. But Farrell believes in the intangibles Gomes adds to the mix.

“I think the one thing that might fly under the radar with Jonny is he's a smart player,” Farrell said. “He can bring an overall personality to a team when he's in the lineup versus when he's in the dugout. These are the things at this point in time in the year I think you have to consider strongly with the attitude and the makeup that we present on the field.”

Also:

• Lance Parrish, a member of Detroit’s 1984 World Series champions, will throw out the first pitch on Tuesday. Motown legends The Four Tops will perform the national anthem.

• Ortiz’s grand slam on Sunday was the first time in postseason play that four pitchers were charged with a run on the same play. It last happened in the regular season on Oct. 2, 3004 when Steve Finley of the Dodgers hit a walk-off grand slam against the Giants off the fourth pitcher of the inning, Wayne Franklin. The Dodgers scored seven runs in the ninth inning of that game. ... It was the fourth postseason grand slam for the Red Sox, the first since J.D. Drew in the 2007 ALCS. Johnny Damon (2004 ALCS) and Troy O’Leary (1999 Division Series) had the others. ... Ortiz now has three career postseason games with at least four RBIs. Only Yogi Berra and Jim Thome have also done that. Ortiz’s 54 career postseason RBIs are second along active players. Derek Jeter of the Yankees has 61. ... It also was only the third game-tying grand slam in postseason history. Ron Cey of the Dodgers had one against the Phillies and Steve Carlton in the 1977 NLCS. Vladimir Guerrero did it against the Red Sox and Mike Timlin in a Division Series game in 2004.

Verlander: Victorino sometimes is 'looking to get hit'

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 14, 2013 08:00 PM
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AP

Shane Victorino has been hit five times in the playoffs.


DETROIT -- Shane Victorino has been hit by a pitch five times in the playoffs, to go with the 18 times he was plunked in the regular season, and from the vantage point of Tigers ace Justin Verlander, some of the pitches that hit him weren’t the pitchers' fault.

“I’ve seen some pitches that he got hit on that were strikes,” Verlander said. “So, I mean, I don't think you can worry about that. I think just whoever is the home plate umpire needs to be aware that he's up there.”

In August, Victorino, a switch hitter, started hitting exclusively from the right side of the plate. In the last two months of the season, he was hit 15 times.

Verlander said sometimes it appears as if he’s eating pitches on purpose.

“Anything on the inner half, occasionally he's looking to get hit,” Verlander said. “He's up there, he's right on top of the plate. And his arms are over the batter's box and over part of the plate. If he doesn't get out of the way, there could be an occasion that it could be a strike and it actually hits him.”

Victorino was dotted in Game 2 by Max Scherzer by a first-pitch fastball that was well out of the zone, but Verlander said the umpires will have to keep an eye on Victorino hovering over the plate.

“That's something that I think that those guys are aware of,” Verlander said. “But you can't think about not hitting a guy. You've got to think about executing your pitches and not changing anything because of that. And hopefully if something like that happens, those guys are on top of it.”

Torii Hunter laughs off cartwheel and cop

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 14, 2013 04:51 PM

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DETROIT -- The sight of bullpen police officer Steve Horgan reaching for the sky in celebration and Torii Hunter flipping over the fence in futility chasing down David Ortiz’s game-tying grand slam is easily the most memorable image of the Red Sox' ALCS Game 2 walkoff win over the Tigers Sunday.

The shot landed everywhere, from social media to "SportsCenter," and Horgan ended up taking another photo with Sox owner John Henry.

Even Hunter himself was able to laugh about it when he spoke to reporters at Comerica Park Monday, poking fun at the situation as well as Horgan.

“It shows a good effort,” Hunter said. “You can make it whatever you want. You can say, 'Aw, look at the Tigers, face down, feet up.’

“The cop's supposed to be protect and serve -- this son of a gun got his hands up. I better not ever see him again. Help me, then cheer, fool.”

Hunter was sore, he said, and intended to spend the off day getting treatment, but he expects to play in Game 3 Tuesday.

As comical as Horgan’s enthusiasm might have been, Hunter was appreciative of the pitchers in the Red Sox bullpen who were immediately concerned, waving for trainers to come tend to the 17-year veteran.

“That says a lot,” Hunter said. “All those guys came over to check on me in the bullpen. I wanted to say thank you for that. I saw [Ryan] Dempster and everything and he was trying to wake me up. I think somebody smacked me, trying to wake me up, and just held me down so I wouldn't move.

“I didn't know if anything was broken or whatever. You can hear Ryan Dempster and a couple of the other guys say, 'Dude, that was a great effort. Are you all right?' So I thank the Red Sox bullpen for coming over to check on me, that was a great moment.

“They put that aside and tried to take care of human life -- unlike the cop," Hunter joked. "Terrible. Protect and serve, take that off his badge.”

Other Tigers notes:

• Andy Dirks will get the start in left field Tuesday, and Jhonny Peralta will play short. Dirks hit .353 (6 for 17) against the Sox this season with a homer, a triple, and two RBIs. The triple was off Game 3 starter John Lackey, against whom Dirks went 2 for 5 in two games this season.

• Even though Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter are a combined 2 for 20 at the top of the lineup, manager Jim Leyland says he has no intention of tinkering with things.

"Obviously, they've been struggling," Leyland said. "I don't know where you go at this point in time, this time of year. You play somebody else, I don't think that's the answer. How to adjust or tinker with your lineup, I don't really know who I would lead off in that case or who I would hit second.

"Those guys have been good all year for us and I think we just have to continue to go that way and hope they come out of it. I think they're both trying a little too hard."

• Looking back at the grand slam Joaquin Benoit gave up to Oritz, Leyland took the blame for not telling his closer to be especially careful.

"I should have reminded him that we didn't want Ortiz to beat us," Leyland said. "He tried to make a great pitch. He tried to get it low and away out of the strike zone, but he didn't get it there. We were going to try to get him to swing at a ball if we could. I should have reminded him about that and I did not."

The first-year closer saved 24 games for the Tigers in the regular season and three in the postseason, but after converting his first 22 save opportunities, he has blown three saves in his past nine appearances going back to Sept. 23 against the Twins.

Leyland acknowledged putting him in some tight spots. Including the playoffs, Benoit has entered the game with men on base 14 times. Sunday's Ortiz at-bat was the first time he came in with the bases loaded.

"In reality, I've been asking a lot out of him, probably a little too much in a couple situations," Leyland said.

Anatomy of an unlikely game-winning run

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 14, 2013 03:53 PM

DETROIT — Good afternoon from Comerica Park. The Tigers are working out on the field now and the Red Sox will take the field in an hour.

The Sox slept in their own beds after last night's 6-5 victory. The team flew here late this morning. This city, like Boston, is abuzz about Game 2.

"Slammed" said the headline on the front of the Detroit Free Press.

David Ortiz is the talk of baseball today thanks to his grand slam in the eighth inning. But have you stopped to consider the run that actually won the game?

Talk about a series of unusual events:

• Jonny Gomes broke his bat on a Rick Porcello fastball and reached on an infield single.

• Jose Iglesias, a defensive wizard, made an ill-advised throw to first base that handcuffed Prince Fielder and got by him for an error. The ball went out of play and Gomes was awarded second base.

Fielder clearly should have stopped the ball. The entire scope of the inning changes with Gomes on second.

(As a side note, Gomes is so well-regarded for his base running that the Sox did not run Quintin Berry for him.)

• Jarrod Saltalamacchia nearly fouled out to Fielder along the first base stands, but Fielder could not pull the ball out of the crowd. The Tigers briefly protested, believing fan interference should have been called. Jim Leyland came out of the dugout to argue, but the umpires stuck with the call.

"I was tagging up and going to third if he caught that ball," Gomes said. "No question about it."

• A wild pitch then pushed Gomes to third base. Now Saltalamacchia was ahead, 3-and-1, in the at-bat and everything had changed.

"At first, man on second, I was trying to get him over," said Saltalamacchia. "After he threw that first pitch down and away, I figured that's how they were going to pitch me. I tried bunting earlier in the year against them and it didn't work out so well. I figured I'd go ahead and swing the bat. And I felt good.

"Once the [wild pitch] happened, the approach changed a little bit, trying to hit the ball up the middle and take your chance."

• Saltalamacchia, who to that point was 3 for 14 in the postseason, didn't get the ball up the middle. But he did push it through a drawn-in Detroit infield for the game-winning single.

Stan Grossfeld explains how he got iconic photo in Game 2 of ALCS

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff October 14, 2013 03:30 PM

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Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Many are calling Sunday one of the great days in Boston sports history, and a photograph taken by the Globe's Stan Grossfeld will surely be one of the lasting images from it.

Grossfeld was one of several photographers at Fenway Park who captured Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter's plunge over the outfield wall as he tried to track down David Ortiz's grand slam in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS. The photo of Hunter's legs sticking straight up while a police officer stationed in the bullpen raised his arms to cheer the home run has been widely shared across social media and the subject of much praise.

"I knew he was going over," Grossfeld said. "It happened so quick, I was praying the focus was sharp."

Grossfeld was in the second level at Fenway Park, using an 800-millimeter lens. He'd been focusing on Ortiz's swing, but when he heard the crack of the bat, he knew it might be gone.

"I swung my camera around, and I thought it was going to go into the crowd at first," Grossfeld said. "Then I saw the cop standing there, and Hunter was running diagonally toward the bullpen, so I focused there. When I saw him leap, I started firing with the [camera's] motor drive."

Grossfeld knew he had a special shot the moment he began reviewing his camera's memory.

"When I saw it come up on the contact sheet, it just jumped out at me," he said. "What a relief it was that it was in focus."

Ortiz changes the ALCS with one swing

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 14, 2013 01:30 AM

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Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Fans streaming out of Fenway Park were chanting, "Let's Go Red Sox!" after a remarkable 6-5 victory against the Detroit Tigers.

"Wow," said owner John Henry, who stood off the side in the clubhouse in the postgame tumult.

Down by four runs, the Sox tied the game on a grand slam by David Ortiz in the eighth inning then won it when Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to drive in Jonny Gomes in the ninth.

“When you back us into a wall, you either do two things: cave or fight. We’re gonna fight,” Pedroia said.

The Sox now head for Detroit for Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon. On the verge of being down 0-2 and facing Justin Verlander, there is new life. John Lackey gets the start for the Sox.

The Sox had scored one run through the 16 innings in the series, going 3 for 51 at the plate with 30 strikeouts. Detroit starter Max Scherzer allowed one run on two hits over seven innings and struck out 13.

Then Detroit used four relievers in the eighth inning and each put a man on base. It was Joaquin Benoit who allowed Ortiz's slam.

Ortiz swung at the first pitch, a changeup away, and was strong enough to pull it into the Red Sox bullpen in right field for his first career grand slam and the fourth in Red Sox history.

Right fielder Torii Hunter tumbled over the wall trying to make the catch as Boston police officer Steve Horgan raised his arms in joy. Bullpen catcher Mani Martinez, who was warming up Ryan Dempster, casually turned and caught the ball.

It was bedlam at Fenway and the crowd kept cheering until Ortiz emerged from the dugout and tipped his helmet to them.

“My idea wasn’t to go out and hit a grand slam,” Ortiz said. “If I was telling you about thinking about hitting a grand slam, I’d be lying to you now.”

It was the 15th postseason home run for Ortiz, his first slam. It was the fourth postseason slam in Sox history, the first since J.D. Drew against Cleveland in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS.

Hunter compared Ortiz to a hot stove

"Your mom will let you touch it once, let you burn yourself so you won’t never do it again," he said.

There was still a game to win and it took only two batters in the ninth. Jonny Gomes, gain the catalyst, broke his bat and dove into first with an infield single. Jose Iglesias made an ill-advised throw that hopped past Prince Fielder and Gomes was awarded second base.

Salty nearly fouled out to Fielder near the stands but he missed the ball. A wild pitch moved Gomes up before Salty singled to left. It was bedlam at Fenway as the players burst from the dugout with their 12th walk-off win of the season.

Off to Detroit. Thanks to everybody for reading tonight.

Scherzer says he was at his limit

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 14, 2013 01:29 AM

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Sitting on 108 pitches after seven innings, Max Scherzer said he knew his night was coming to an end.

He took a no-hitter into the seventh, piled up 13 strikeouts and left the Tigers with a 5-1 lead that would ultimately go up in smoke after David Ortiz's grand slam in the eighth and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's walkoff single, which sealed the Sox 6-5 win in Game 2 of the ALCS.

But if there were any questions about whether Tigers manager Jim Leyland pulled Scherzer too soon, Scherzer put them to bed.

"I just knew I was at my limit," Scherzer said. "You have to be smart. It's still early in the series. You have to gauge your health, because my health is important to the team, and I reached my pitch count limit."

Scherzer, like Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander before him, flirted with a no-hitter, baffling the Red Sox lineup with his slider and holding them hitless through 6 2/3 innings.

"You're aware that it's going on, but I was just focused on pitching," he said. "When you're in the postseason, you can't get caught up in personal achievements. I'm out there trying to go as long as I can and minimize the damage, trying to prevent as many runs coming across. Regular season, yeah, you might get caught up in it, try to pitch for it. But postseason, nah, there's no chance."

But after pitching three scoreless innings to preserve a one-run lead in Game 1, the Tigers bullpen couldn't make a four-run lead hold up.

"It's playoff baseball," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "Looked like we had one in hand and we let one get away. There's no question about that. But there have been two great games, no question about it.

"Scherzer was terrific. He was spent. Last night our bullpen was flawless, and tonight it wasn't quite as good."

Jaoquin Benoit, who pitched a clean ninth to earn the save on Saturday, came in with the bases loaded in the eighth and gave up the game-tying grand slam to Ortiz.

"It's a tough situation," Benoit said. "Max pitched a great game and I tried to come in and tried to get him out and it didn't work for me."

Settling for a split at Fenway after having complete control of the series seemed to drain a clubhouse that at one point had every reason to be confident as the series swings back to Detroit for Game 3.

"The one guy you don't want to beat you and he beat us," said outfielder Torii Hunter, who went flying over the short fence in front of the Red Sox bullpen trying to chase down Ortiz's homer. "One of the best hitters in postseason history and this guy, he hits the ball out of the park and it ties the game up and they end up coming back and winning the game. I'm pissed. That's just the way it goes."

• The spill that Hunter took into the Red Sox bullpen left him breathless and aching, but the loss hurt more, he said.

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"My hip, it hit the top of the wall," Hunter said. "When I went up, I hit the top of the wall and it flipped me and it kind of just bruised it a little bit, but I mean, this is the postseason. I'll die on the field for this. So you're not going to take me off this field."

Hunter went cartwheeling over the wall trying make an impossible grab, showing the desperation of a player who's been to the postseason seven times in his 17-year career but has never reached the World Series.

"That's all you can do is keep fighting," he said. "Keep battling and I'll put some ice on it or some Robitussin on it or something later."

• Leyland was asked why he chose not to have Phil Coke pitch to David Ortiz instead of Benoit. Ortiz was 2 for 18 lifetime against Ortiz with no home runs allowed and 6 for 22 against Benoit.

"Coke hadn't pitched a big game for us in a while," Leyland said. "Benoit is our guy against the lefties and we felt he gave us the best chance to get the out."

Final: Red Sox 6, Tigers 5

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 08:23 PM

During David Ortiz's 11 seasons with the Red Sox, there have been many victories collected in an improbable fashion.

What occurred Sunday night at Fenway Park instantly belongs on the short list of the most memorable.

Ortiz's grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning tied the game at 5-5, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia won it with a single through a drawn-in infield in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Red Sox a shocking 6-5 victory over the Tigers in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series Sunday night.

The rally seemed so improbable because the Red Sox' offense had been shut down by Tigers pitching for the second straight night. Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and he departed after seven having allowed just two hits and a run while striking out 13.

The Tigers' bullpen was so effective in Game 1, combining with starter Anibal Sanchez for 17 strikeouts and just a single hit. But it could not duplicate the feat in relief of Scherzer.

Just as it appeared the Red Sox were on the verge of falling behind 2-0 in this series they rallied to life in the eighth.

After Stephen Drew grounded to short to open the inning against new pitcher Jose Veras, Will Middlebrooks doubled. Lefty Drew Smyly replaced Veras and walked Jacoby Ellsbury. Manager Jim Leyland turned to receiver Al Alburquerque, who struck out Shane Victorino on a 2-2 slider off the plate.

Dustin Pedroia kept the inning alive with a single to right, loading the bases for Ortiz, who hit .455 with the bases full this season

Leyland wasted no time turning to Benoit, and Ortiz wasted no time making him regret it, hammering the first pitch into the Red Sox bullpen. As if the moment wasn't dramatic enough, Torii Hunter, the Tigers right fielder, flipped over the wall while pursuing the ball and appeared to cut the back of his head.

Mike Napoli whiffed to end the inning, but the damage was done. Koji Uehara pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, setting the stage for Saltalamacchia's heroics.

Top of the eighth: Doubront got through his half of the inning with no harm, allowing just a walk to Infante. Six outs left for the Sox. Can they rally against Detroit's bullpen? Jose Veras is coming on for Scherzer.

End of the seventh, Tigers 5, Red Sox 1: Looks like Scherzer's night is done after mowing down Carp (strikeout), Gomes (strikeout) and Saltalamacchia (grounder to second) in the bottom half of the inning. He's getting the hugs and high-fives in the dugout. If this is it for him on the night, his final line is exceptional: 7 innings, 2 hits, 2 walks, 13 strikeouts, and a single run.

The Tigers go in order in the top half. Brandon Workman retires Hunter on a grounder to first and Cabrera on a deep fly ball Ellsbury tracks down in the triangle, then Felix Doubront comes on to retire Fielder on a grounder to Pedroia.

End of the sixth, Tigers 5, Red Sox 1: Stop the presses: The Red Sox not only have a hit, but they scored a run.

Shane Victorino broke up Max Scherzer's bid for a no-hitter with a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth, and the Red Sox scored their first run of the ALCS a batter later when Dustin Pedroia doubled him home.

But the opportunity to further cut into the Tigers' lead ended when David Ortiz struck out on a low, inside changeup, Scherzer's 11th strikeout of the game.

Top of the sixth, Tigers 5, Red Sox 0: When does a 5-0 deficit feel insurmountable?

When the team with zero runs still has just one hit in the series -- and none on this particular night.

And when arguably the trailing team's best starting pitcher, one who never allowed more than four runs in any start this season, is chased in a four-run sixth inning.

It all fell apart for Buchholz in the sixth, though it began harmlessly enough. Torii Hunter flew to center for the first out. But Miguel Cabrera, the best hitter in baseball when healthy, hammered a fat changeup that caromed off the light tower above the Monster for a 2-0 lead.

Prince Fielder followed with a double off the wall and came around to score on Victor Martinez's double. After Jhonny Peralta lined to center, Avila connected for a two-run homer to bump the lead to 5-0.

Buchholz faced one more batter -- Infante, who singled -- before manager John Farrell summoned Brandon Workman. After a walk to Don Kelly, he brought the inning to a merciful end by retiring Austin Jackson on a grounder to third.

End of the fifth, Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: in July, it's probably gone. Maybe even in September.

But Jarrod Saltalamacchia's long, high drive to right field -- which looked ticketed for the seats off his bat -- fell a few feet short of tying the game.

The drive died in the October nighttime air, falling into Torii Hunter's glove deep into the right field corner for the inning's second out.

Scherzer let out an exaggerated exhale on the mound, then retired Stephen Drew on a grounder to first for the third out.

Buchholz continues to hold up his end of the bargain, needing just 10 pitches to get through the top half of the inning. Through five innings, he's allowed three hits without a walk while striking out six.

End of the fourth, Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Buchholz wriggles out of a jam not entirely of his own making, getting Avila to pop to center field for the third out with runners at the corners.

Buccholz should have been out of the inning a batter earlier, but Stephen Drew couldn't handle Peralta's routine grounder. Martinez, who was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on the play.

The inning began with Buchholz whiffing Tigers sluggers Cabrera and Fielder in succession.

Still nothing doing for the Red Sox offense in the bottom half. Ortiz worked a one-out walk in the bottom half, but was promptly erased on Mike Carp's 4-6-3 double play.

To put it another way: The Red Sox have one hit in 13 innings in this series. And they've struck out 25 times, including eight tonight.

End of the third, Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Dustin Pedroia has made enough outstanding plays at second base this season that it would be shock if he doesn't win his third Gold Glove award.

And he may have just made his best play of the season.

With one out, Austin Jackson hit a hard grounder to Pedroia's left. Ranging far and lunging to the ground, he snagged the ball in the edge of the webbing of his glove, twisted toward first, and with little leverage threw a strike to get the speedy Jackson by a step.

Buchholz followed Pedroia's sensational play by striking out Hunter on a 92 mph fastball.

Any thought that Pedroia's play might give the Red Sox some momentum -- a dubious proposition in baseball as it is -- was quickly put to rest by Scherzer, who struck out Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks to start the inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch, but Scherzer mowed down Victorino on four pitches.

Scherzer has struck out seven in three innings. The Red Sox still do not have a hit.

End of the second, Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: The Tigers strike first in an inning in which their last four batters made hard contact against Buchholz, who was fortunate to escape having allowed just one run.

Prince Fielder began the inning inauspiciously, striking out swinging. But Victor Martinez followed by lining a hard double to left-center, and Jhonny Peralta moved him to third with a single to left, his fourth hit of the series.

Alex Avila, who had three hits in eight at-bats in his career against Buchholz entering the game, roped a single to center, scoring Martinez.

Buchholz escaped the inning by getting Alex Infante to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but it was one more hard-hit ball against the Sox' starter.

The Red Sox went quietly in their half. Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes, two new additions to the Game 2 lineup, didn't have any answers for Scherzer in their first plate appearances of the night. Both struck out looking. Scherzer wrapped up his 17-pitch inning by getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who also didn't start Game 1, to ground to second.

End of the first inning, Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: At this point, it's almost surprising when Shane Victorino gets through a plate appearance without getting hit by a pitch.

The Red Sox' No. 2 hitter followed Jacoby Ellsbury's leadoff ground-out to third by becoming the first batter to reach base when he was drilled by a Scherzer fastball on the first pitch he saw.

Victorino, who was hit for the ninth time in his postseason career, was stranded at first when Dustin Pedroia struck out on three pitches and David Ortiz followed by whiffing on a 96-mph fastball after working the count to 2-2.

Clay Buchholz sailed through the top of the first inning. Austin Jackson grounded out hard to shortstop Stephen Drew. Torii Hunter followed by striking out swinging, then the hobbled but always dangerous Miguel Cabrera lined to Jacoby Ellsbury in center. All told, it took Buchholz nine pitches to record his first three outs.

Pregame: The St. Ann’s Parish Children’s Choir of Dorchester performed the national anthem before the game led by 7-year-old Jane Richard.

Jane lost her left leg in the Marathon bombing. Her brother Martin was killed and her mother Denise also was wounded. Jane, who was wearing a Dustin Pedroia jersey, received a round of applause from the Red Sox players when she finished and walked off the field.

Dave Roberts, one of the heroes of the 2004 Red Sox, threw out the first pitch. Bill Mueller, whose single scored Roberts in Game 4 of the ALCS, also was in the park. He is an advance scout for the Dodgers and has been following the Red Sox for several weeks.

* After managing just one hit in a 1-0 Game 1 loss, the Red Sox have made some adjustments to their lineup as they prepare to take on 21-game-winner Max Scherzer in Game 2.

Red Sox manager John Farrell will give first baseman Mike Carp and left fielder Jonny Gomes their first starts of the series, with Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava -- who managed the lone hit Saturday, a ninth-inning single of Joaquin Benoit -- beginning Game 2 on the bench.

"You know, to me it's a matter of what the history of guys have been against an individual pitcher,'' said Farrell when asked how Carp and Gomes change the look of the lineup. "We've tried to find ways to put guys in a position of success. Nap has had some scuffles with Scherzer in the past over time."

Napoli has one hit in 13 career at-bats against Scherzer. Nava is 1 for 9. Carp and Gomes are a combined 4 for 15 without a home run against the Tigers starter.

"We make a couple of changes in our lineup, it's pretty consistent with the way we've approached certain pitchers or a series throughout the course of the year,'' said Farrell. "So in our clubhouse these changes are almost anticipated even before they happen."

While much of the discussion entering Game 2 surrounds how the Red Sox will deal with Scherzer, it's not as if they have a slouch on the mound themselves.

Clay Buchholz was one of the premier pitchers in the American League when healthy this season, winning 12 of 13 decisions with a 1.74 ERA.

"It seems like every time he's walked to the mound he's not only kept the game under control but certainly given us an opportunity to win,'' Farrell said. "And the fact that he's been so consistent, even coming out after the three‑month layoff, he still maintains the overall feel to all his secondary pitches and an uncanny ability to make key pitches in some tight spots after the long layoff. We'll certainly need him to keep the game under control tonight. This should be a very good pitching matchup once again."

Pre-game ceremony includes Jane Richard

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 08:12 PM

The St. Ann’s Parish Children’s Choir of Dorchester performed the national anthem before the game led by 7-year-old Jane Richard.

Jane lost her left leg in the Marathon bombing. Her brother Martin was killed and her mother Denise also was wounded. Jane, who was wearing a Dustin Pedroia jersey, received a round of applause from the Red Sox players when she finished and walked off the field.

Dave Roberts, one of the heroes of the 2004 Red Sox, threw out the first pitch. Bill Mueller, whose single scored Roberts in Game 4 of the ALCS, also was in the park. He is an advance scout for the Dodgers and has been following the Red Sox for several weeks.

Peralta's bat trumps Iglesias's glove at short

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 06:05 PM

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The impact Jhonny Peralta’s made since returning to the Tigers lineup for the postseason following a 50-game ban for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal has been undeniable.

He’s hitting .500 in the postseason (8 for 16) with six RBIs, including the decisive RBI in the Tigers' 1-0 win over the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALCS Saturday night.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland had tried to figure out a way to keep Peralta and young shortstop Jose Iglesias on the field at the same time, playing Peralta in left field and keeping the defensively skilled Iglesias at shortstop despite his struggles at a the plate in the postseason. Leyland chose Sunday to go with Peralta’s bat over Iglesias’s glove.

“Jhonny Peralta is no donkey, he's made the Al- Star team twice for me as a shortstop in the last few years,” Leyland said. “He's a very good shortstop. We're trying to get another bat in there, and we felt it would be the best way to do it.”

Peralta had been playing at left, a position he had only played three times before the playoffs. Moving him to shortstop allowed Leyland to go with Don Kelly in left, a more natural fit in the outfield.

In a series where runs may be few and far between, Leyland was willing to sacrifice Iglesias’s defense for Peralta’s offense, but he said the drop off between the two at short isn’t as dramatic as it might seem.

“This guy is a bona fide Major League shortstop,” Leyland said. “This is not a utility guy you're playing there. This is a top-notch shortstop. He doesn't have the range Iglesias has, but this is a very, very good shortstop.

“I do stuff because I think it gives us the best chance and I mean it. I'm not being smart about it. I try to make out the lineup that I think is the best shot and get another lefthanded bat in there with Buchholz, although the numbers don't dictate that for sure. But, you know, we'll have a better left fielder defensively. So give up a little something, you get something else. And those combinations are why I made out the lineup I made out today.”

• Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque doesn’t have a “best if used by” sticker on his jersey, but Leyland has realized that one-inning is the optimal amount of work for the hard-throwing righthander.

He faced three batters in the seventh inning of the Tigers' Game 1 win, and sat them down in order. Leyland considered bringing him out again for the eighth, but decided against it.

“Alburquerque, when he comes out for one inning and gives you that good one inning, if you try to send him back out, things don't normally turn out as good, and that's why we made that move last night,” Leyland said.

While he was on the mound, though, Alburquerque was lights out, needing just 12 pitches to sit down Mike Carp, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jacoby Ellsbury.

But what Leyland noticed was that along with the slider that’s given him quite a reputation around the league, Alburquerque also leaned on his fastball, throwing six of each.

“He threw 95 [miles per hour],” Leyland said. “Everybody in the league knows he is a slider guy. He's probably a bit of a surprise last night that he used that a little bit more than a slider.”

• After wreaking havoc on the Rays in the ALDS, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Dustin Pedroia combined to go 0 for 10 with six strikeouts in Game 1, and much like Rays manager Joe Maddon before him, Leyland said keeping them off the base paths is crucial.

“Those three guys, they're very good, and they have a lot of different ways to get on base,” Leyland said. “We knew if we could keep them off base it would give us a much, much better chance to win the game. That's one of our goals. But it's also hard to do.”

ALCS Game 2 pregame chat at 7 p.m.

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 05:36 PM

Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes are in the Red Sox' lineup tonight as they take on 21-game-winner Max Scherzer and the Tigers in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. Daniel Nava, who had the lone Red Sox hit in their 1-0 Game 1 loss, and Mike Napoli are not. Chad Finn of Boston.com and the Globe will moderate our pregame chat about this and more at 7 p.m. Check in below to join in.

 

ALCS Game 2: Tigers at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 04:20 PM

2013_alcs.jpgGood afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (0-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B,
David Ortiz DH
Mike Carp 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Stephen Drew SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 regular season; 0-0, 4.50 postseason).

TIGERS (1-0)
Austin Jackson CF
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Omar Infante 2B
Don Kelly LF
Pitching: RHP Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 regular season; 2-0, 3.00 postseason).

Game time: 8:15 p.m.

TV/Radio: FOX / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Scherzer: Ortiz 7-15 (3 HR), Pedroia 4-17 (2 HR), Napoli 1-13, Drew 2-11, Ellsbury 5-9, Salty 5-12 (1 HR), Nava 1-9, Victorino 2-10, Carp 2-8, Gomes 2-6, Middlebrooks 1-6, Ross 1-4.

Tigers vs. Buchholz: Hunter 4-24, Cabrera 5-21, Jackson 5-19, Peralta 5-17, Avila 2-8, Infante 2-8, Fielder 1-6, Martinez 0-6, Dirks 2-5, Santiago 0-4, Kelly 1-3.

Stat of the Day: The team that lost Game 1 has has won the ALCS seven of the last 13 times.

Key matchup: Ortiz has hit Scherzer well over his career. The Red Sox need their cleanup hitter to come through against a pitcher who is very tough on righthanders. This will be Ortiz's 63d postseason game for the Red Sox, tying Jason Varitek for the team record.

Notes: The Red Sox were 1 for 29 on Saturday night, not getting a hit until Daniel Nava singled with one out in the ninth inning. ... Buchholz is 2-1, 3.58 in eight career starts against Detroit. He has not faced them since June 30, 2012. Buchholz is 0-0, 4.09 in two postseason starts in his career. ... Scherzer is 2-4, 7.02 in eight career starts against the Sox. He is pitching for the first time since throwing two innings of relief in the Division Series on Tuesday. Scherzer faced the Red Sox twice this season and allowed four runs over 14 innings. He gave up 11 hits, walked three and struck out 14. ... Red Sox pitchers have a 2.62 ERA in five postseason games. The bullpen has allowed two ER over 13.2 innings. ... Peralta shifts to shortstop after playing left field on Saturday. He is 8 of 16 with two extra-base hits and six RBIs in the postseason. ... Cabrera has reached base safely in 30 consecutive postseason games.

Red Sox hitters in the postseason: Ellsbury 9-22, Victorino 6-18, Ortiz 5-17, Pedroia 4-19, Middlebrooks 3-15, Salty 3-11, Drew 2-18, Gomes 2-9, Naopoli 2-16, Nava 2-8, Ross 1-6, Bogaerts 0-1.

Song of the Day: "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons.

Red Sox seek answers for Scherzer

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 01:13 PM

Max Scherzer, believe it or not, has a 7.02 earned run average in eight career starts against the Red Sox.

Over 14 innings in two starts this season, however, he allowed only four runs on 11 hits and struck out 14. So you can expect the Red Sox to make some significant lineup alternations for Game 2 of the ALCS tonight.

Mike Carp was told before he left the clubhouse on Saturday night that he would be playing first base. Mike Napoli is 1 for 13 in his career against Scherzer and 2 for 16 in the postseason.

Jonny Gomes also will start in left field in place of Daniel Nava, who is 1 for 9 against Scherzer.

Scherzer has overwhelmed righthanded batters this season. They hit .165 against him in the regular season with a comically low .494 OPS. The Red Sox desperately need lefty hitters David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Stephen Drew to step up. Switch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia, too. He's far better from the left side and is 5 for 12 against Scherzer in his career.

It's also worth noting that Shane Victorino batted righthanded against Scherzer in his first three-bats against him on Sept. 3, then hit lefthanded in his final at-bat in the eighth inning. He fouled out to the catcher.

Victorino gave up batting lefthanded for most of the final two months of the season because he was protecting a sore left hamstring. Then it just became practical because he was hitting so well righthanded.

Now, given Scherzer's wipeout stuff against righthanders, Victorino could change. He said Saturday that was under consideration.

Game 2 is not a must win. By definition that's only the case if the season ends with a loss. But being down 0-2 going to Detroit for three games is certainly not where the Red Sox want to be.

Sanchez dominates Red Sox in Game 1 win

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 02:07 AM

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The longer the night wore on, the more zeroes Anibal Sanchez saw.

But for a pitcher that led the American League in earned run average, the zeroes in the run column meant infinitely more than the one in the hit column, with the Tigers clutching a one-run lead as tightly as they could.

For six hitless innings, Sanchez turned the lights out on the Red Sox offense, hanging up 12 strikeouts and willing the Tigers to a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the American League Championship series.

He was threatening to join Don Larsen and Roy Halladay as the only pitchers with postseason no-hitters.

But the chance to make history wasn’t as important to him as the chance to set the tone in a series that Tigers manager Jim Leyland said will be won or lost on the backs of either team’s starting pitching.

“At this point, especially in this series, it’s not about throwing a no-hitter,” Sanchez said. “As soon as you get some zeroes, inning by inning and you face hitter by hitter and get him out, it’s more important. It’s more important than the no-hitter at this point.”

In all, five Tigers pitchers combined to hold the Red Sox to just one hit. The Sox had only been shut out in the postseason at home one other time in franchise history, and that was 95 years ago in Game 5 of the 1918 World Series.

“I wasn't really worried about a no-hitter,” Leyland said. “It would've been nice. But it works out fine for us.”

After a brutal start in Game 3 of the ALDS against Oakland, Sanchez came into Fenway Park looking to bounce back, and he did.

In the process of becoming just the third Tigers pitcher to notch 12 strikeouts (four in the first inning) in a postseason game, he kept the Sox guessing, checking their swings and questioning home plate umpire Joe West’s strike zone.

“I tried to be on top of the ball for more movement on the pitch,” Sanchez said. “That’s what I did early in the season and it worked today.”

Even when he ran into a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and then fell behind 1-and-0 to Stephen, he was able to settle down, regain control of the at-bat and put Drew away with a fastball.

“The stuff was terrific,” Leyland said. “His stuff was still good when he faced Drew in that inning. He just got out of whack with his control a little bit. But his stuff was good.”

Also:

• The 50-game suspension Jhonny Peralta served for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal made him an easy target for a Fenway crowd that is always looking for one (see: Wil Myers).

Going 3 for 4 with two doubles and driving in the only run of the night only made it worse. Showered with chants of “steroids” throughout the night, Peralta said he tried to tune it out.

“I don’t try to put attention about what the fans do,” he said. “I think it’s better for me to go the home plate and try to work hard every day. I don’t listen to what people say, the fans and everything. I try to concentrate every day on the game and try to do my job.”

Since returning for the postseason, Peralta has left his finger prints all over the Tigers playoff push. In the ALDS, he went 5 for 12 with five RBIS.

“Offensively, he’s done exactly what we hoped he’d do, “ Leyland said.

• The only other pitcher to strike out four hitters in an inning in a postseason game is Orval Overall in 1908 for the Cubs.

• Sanchez’s performance followed the no-hit bid Justin Verlander tool into the seventh inning in Game 5 of the ALDS against Oakland, making them the first pitchers to record back-to-back postseason starts with at least five no-hit innings.

• Carefully navigating the Sox lineup, Sanchez issued six walks, becoming just the second pitcher in postseason history to strike out 12 and walk six.

• With a single in the first inning, Miguel Cabrera has reached base in a major-league record 30 straight postseason games.

Tigers had the Red Sox figured out in Game 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 13, 2013 01:54 AM

Tigers manager Jim Leyland was asked on Saturday afternoon about the value of advanced scouting in the postseason.

"We met with our scouts yesterday about the Boston club and they gave us a lot of good information," Leyland said. "Most of it we were aware of. A few little thing, little perks that we get from them that are good. But it still boils down to execution and playing the game."

One of those little perks almost certainly included the fact that the Red Sox do not hit sliders very well.

The Tigers matched a postseason record with 17 strikeouts in a 1-0 victory against the Sox. Eight of those strikeouts came on sliders as Anibal Sanchez and four relievers pounded the Red Sox with breaking pitches. The befuddled Sox did not get their first hit until Daniel Nava singled with out in the ninth inning.

“I wasn’t thinking anything about the no-hitter at that point, it was still a 1-0 game," Nava said. "We had been battling all night and hadn’t had anything fall, obviously, and fortunately I got that one to fall."

Quintin Berry ran for Nava and stole second base with two outs. But 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts — the longest player to bat in an ALCS game since 19-year-old Alex Rodriguez in 1995 — popped to shortstop to end the game.

Bogaerts saw seven pitches before he got under a slider.

"Great at-bat," Shane Victorino said. "I don't care if he's a rookie. That was a great at-bat."

The Sox had plenty of great at-bats. Sanchez walked six and needed 116 pitches to get through six innings. But he never cracked.

"I tried to keep my ball down in the strike zone. I don't try to miss in the middle, that's why I got a couple of walks today," Sanchez said.

The best chance the Sox had came in the sixth inning when Sanchez walked three. But with two outs he struck out Stephen Drew with, yes, a slider.

The fans at Fenway Park were annoyed with what they interpreted as a liberal strike zone by umpire Joe West. John Farrell and the Red Sox players were cautious with their comments about West. But they, too, were clearly angry about some of his calls.

"There might have been a couple of pitchers' pitches that seemed to go against us," Farrell said. Dustin Pedroia shook his head and asked reporters about a called strikeout in the eighth inning.

"In my last at-bat, I thought the ball was off. I didn't even look at it. Was it?" he said.

But Pitch f/x charts showed that West only missed one or two pitches with the Red Sox up. West has a reputation for showy behavior on the field but his strike zone looked like a good one.

"I don't think the umpire is a story," Red Sox catcher David Ross said. "Not to be. Their guy was pretty good. So was their bullpen.

The performance of Jon Lester and the Red Sox bullpen was overshadowed. They held the Tigers to one run on nine hits. Detroit was 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on.

Lester had a chance to escape in the sixth inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, he got Victor Martinez to hit a groundball to shortstop. Drew came a long way and made a quick feed to Pedroia but Martinez beat the throw to first.

Jhonny Peralta then singled in Miguel Cabrera, lining a 2-and-2 curveball to center. Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara held the Tigers down from there. But the 1-0 lead stood up.

"Sometimes it stinks to be on that side," Lester said. "But you just tip your hat, show up tomorrow and do the same thing."

The Sox are now down 1-0 in the series with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander pitching the next two games. While Sanchez led the American League with a 2.57 ERA this season, Scherzer and Verlander can be more overpowering.

"We have [Clay] Buchholz and [John] Lackey. Our pitching is pretty good," Pedroia said. “The team that wins has to win four games."

The Red Sox are planning to start Mike Carp at first base in Game 2. Mike Napoli is 2 for 16 in the postseason with seven strikeouts. It's a good bet that Johnny Gomes will be in left field, even against a righthander.

Will Middlebrooks (3 for 15) also could be replaced by Bogaerts. Farrell acknowledged that five-game sample sizes don't mean much in the regular season. But the Red Sox can't afford another fruitless offensive game on Sunday.

A few other notes:

• Stephen Drew saved two runs in the ninth inning with a terrific over the shoulder catch of a pop-up with runners on second and third and two outs. The ball looked sure to land between three fielders before Drew made the play.

• Lester now has a 2.00 ERA in four Game 1 postseason series starts in his career.

• Red Sox bullpen in the postseason: 13.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 14 K.

• Berry is now 28 for 28 in stolen bases in the majors including four for four in the postseason.

Final: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff October 12, 2013 07:57 PM

Anibal Sanchez and four Detroit relievers limited the Red Sox a lone ninth-inning hit, and the Tigers claimed Game 1 of the American League Championship Series with a 1-0 victory at Fenway Park Saturday night.

Daniel Nava's single with one out in the ninth was the Red Sox's only hit of the game.

Sanchez, the American League's ERA champion during the regular season, was overpowering if occasionally erratic. He struck out 12 without allowing a hit through six innings, but he walked six and was pulled before the seventh after 116 pitches.

Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit combined on the shutout, striking out 17 Red Sox hitters, tying a postseason record for a nine-inning game. Benoit gave up Nava's hit, but earned the save, getting Xander Bogaerts to pop up to shortstop to end it with pinch-runner Quintin Berry on second base.

The Tigers scored the game's lone run in the sixth inning. Jhonny Peralta, inserted into the lineup in left field by manager Jim Leyland because of his valuable bat, had three hits, including an RBI single to score Miguel Cabrera.

Top of the ninth inning The ninth inning is usual time for a Koji Uehara save. Tonight, it was time for him to hold down the fort and keep a deficit to one.

He did the job, striking out the side, but it wasn't without some drama.

Jose Iglesias led off with a single. After Austin Jackson struck out, Torii Hunter doubled to left, putting runners on second and third. But Uehara found the form that was so effective all summer, striking out Don Kelly, then getting Prince Fielder to hit a flare to center that shortstop Stephen Drew tracked down, making a tough over-the-shoulder grab while juggling the ball for a split-second in his glove.

End of the eighth, Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: The Tigers are three outs away from the first combined no-hitter in postseason history.

Jose Veras, the third Tigers pitcher, retired the two batters he faced, striking out Shane Victorino swinging and Dustin Pedroia looking. He then departed for lefty Drew Smyly, who retired David Ortiz on a fly ball to center.

It should be noted that the Red Sox have grown increasingly frustrated with home plate umpire Joe West and his inconsistent strike zone. Victorino began talking to him animatedly before digging into the batter's box, and Pedroia didn't hide his frustration after he was called out on strikes on fastball that appeared to catch the outside corner.

In the top half, Craig Breslow pitched through some self-inflicted trouble and escapes unscathed.

After sandwiching pair of fly outs around a Prince Fielder walk, Peralta hit a ground-rule double -- his third hit of the game -- moving Fielder to third. Infante was intentionally walked, and the strategy paid off when Avila flew deep to right.

Sox down to their last six outs. Jose Veras in for the Tigers.

End of the seventh, Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: The pitcher has changed, but the zero remains in the hit column for the Red Sox.

Al Alburquerque took over for Sanchez in the seventh and picked up with the Tigers starter left off. Alburquerque retired pinch-hitters Mike Carp (grounder to short) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (strikeout looking), then struck out Jacoby Ellsbury swinging. Ellsbury thought he had worked a walk on the previous pitch, but umpire Joe West called it a strike.

As for Sanchez, his night ended with a remarkable line: 6 innings, 116 pitches, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts, no hits, no runs.

Lester's night is over, too. After retiring Alex Avila on a liner to third to start the seventh, he hit Jose Iglesias, prompting John Farrell to remove him from the game after 109 pitches. Lester's final line: 6.1 innings, 6 hits, 1 earned run, a walk and four strikeouts.

Junichi Tazawa took over for Lester and retired Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson (on a deep fly to Victorino in right).

Al Alburquerque coming in for the seventh for Detroit. The no-hitter is still intact, but the pitcher throwing it is no longer in the game.

End of the sixth, Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox still don't have a hit. What they do have is their biggest lost opportunity of the night so far.

Victorino led off by dropping a bunt down the first-base line, where he was tagged/bear-hugged from Prince Fielder. Dustin Pedroia walked, then moved up to second on a wild pitch. Sanchez struck out David Ortiz on a curveball in the dirt -- his 11th strikeout -- but Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava followed with consecutive walks.

That left it up to Stephen Drew. The Tigers had lefty Drew Smyly warming up in the bullpen, but stuck with the righty Sanchez. It proved the right move, for the Sox shortstop couldn't deliver, swinging and missing at strike three while Sanchez pumped his fist in celebration.

Will Sanchez return for the seventh? He's thrown 116 pitches.

In the top of the inning, one swing, Jhonny Peralta justified Jim Leyland's decision to play him in left field in order to get his bat in the lineup.

Peralta flipped a Lester pitch into center field, scoring Miguel Cabrera from third and giving the Tigers the first run of the ballgame with two outs in the sixth.

Cabrera had reached on a one-out walk, moved to second when Prince Fielder was hit by a pitch, and moved to third on Victor Martinez's 6-4 force play in which he was called safe on a bang-bang play at first.

Lester avoided further damage by getting Infante to ground to third.

End of the fifth, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: What an exceptional -- and exceptionally weird -- performance by Sanchez so far.

He's struck out 10. He hasn't allowed a hit. He's walked three, which isn't a terrible amount. Yet it's taken him 88 pitches to get through five innings after retiring Middlebrooks, Ross, and Ellsbury (his 10th K) in the last half-inning.

In case you're wondering, Sanchez's season-high for pitches is 130, set in a 6-0 complete-game shutout of Minnesota May 24. He allowed one hit and struck out 12 in that start. During his 17-strikeout game against Atlanta April 26, he threw 125 pitches in eight innings.

In the top half, Lester ran into the first jam either pitcher has faced tonight, and he escapes without permitting the Tigers to score the first run.

Jhonny Peralta led off with a double, but was erased on a heady fielder's choice by Mike Napoli, who fielded Alex Infante's grounder and threw to Drew to cut down the lead runner at third.

Alex Avila followed with a soft single to right field, and Infante headed for third after a rare defensive miscue by Victorino, who juggled the ball upon fielding it.

That brought up Jose Iglesias, the light-hitting shortstop who had an unexpected stretch of torrid hitting earlier this season for the Red Sox before being dealt to Detroit in July for Jake Peavy.

Iglesias hit a hard shot to third on a Lester curveball, but Will Middlebrooks fielded it on the backhand and threw to home to get Infante by a couple of steps. Jackson followed with a hard-hit drive to right, but Victorino retreated to make the catch in front of the warning track.

Still 0-0. And the Red Sox have a zero in that other category as well.

End of the fourth, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: Sanchez continues to avoid the Red Sox bats, boosting his strikeout total to nine through four innings. He got the side this time around, sandwiching a Daniel Nava whiff looking around a pair of swinging strikeouts by Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew.

Thus far, Jon Lester has matched him zero for zero, retiring the heart of the Tigers' order on a Cabrera groundout, a Fielder grounder to second, and a Martinez pop to right field.

End of the third, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: Sanchez gets the easy inning he needs, retiring Victorino, Pedroia, and Ortiz on 10 pitches.

The Red Sox continue to have issues with home plate umpire Joe West, who called out Victorino on a low inside pitch for the second out of the inning.

Victorino disagreed in a manner that might have led Fox television to mute its microphones if it had received ample warning.

Meanwhile, it was also another relatively quick inning for Lester, who needed 12 pitches to get through the frame.

No. 9 hitter Jose Iglesias popped to shallow right (how did the Red Sox know he'd hit it there?). Leadoff hitter Austin Jackson, who struck out in 14 of his previous 21 at-bats this postseason, singled to right. But Torii Hunter grounded into a tailor-made double play to shortstop Stephen Drew to end the innings.

End of the second, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: The Red Sox still are looking for their first hit. In fact, Will Middlebrook's one-out fly ball to left was the first time they put in a ball in play tonight against Sanchez.

Still, they managed to put together a threat against Sanchez. After Daniel Nava struck out, Stephen Drew walked. One out later, No. 9 hitter David Ross pushed Drew to second with another walk.

But the Red Sox couldn't take advantage. Jacoby Ellsbury, who hit .500 in the ALDS, hit a liner toward Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias. Iglesias knocked it down, then moved toward second before firing to first to get Ellsbury by a half-step.

Sanchez has now thrown 51 pitches through two innings. Have we mentioned that the Red Sox have a knack for grinding out at-bats?

In the top half, Lester breezed through the Tigers' Nos. 6-8 hitters, getting Jhonny Peralta to ground out to third before striking out Omar Infante (swinging) and Alex Avila (looking).

Lester has thrown 33 pitches -- 24 strikes -- through two innings. It took Sanchez 26 pitches to get through the first.

End of first, Tigers 0, Red Sox 0: A half-inning into his start, and Anibal Sanchez already has a place in postseason history.

The Tigers starter struck out four batters -- No. 2 hitter Shane Victorino reached base after strike three eluded catcher Alex Avila. He is just the second pitcher in playoff history to strike out four batters in an inning. The first, Orval Overall, accomplished the feat in Game 5 of the 1908 World Series while pitching for the Cubs.

The inning wasn't without controversy. With Victorino on second and Dustin Pedroia (walk) on first, David Ortiz worked the count to 3-1. Home plate umpire Joe West called a strike on a checked swing for strike two, causing Ortiz to bark in frustration. He was downright angry after the next pitch, in which third base ump Alfonso Marquez called him out on another checked swing. Both appeared to be the correct call.

Sanchez then struck out Mike Napoli to end the inning.

If anyone remained skeptical about how much an injured hamstring is affecting Miguel Cabrera, they no longer are after the top of the first.

Red Sox starter struck out the first two hitters he faced, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter. That brought up Cabrera, the front-runner for the AL MVP.

After flicking a long drive down the right field line that nearly detoured around the Pesky Pole, he lined a hard liner to the wall in left.

It looked like a sure double when Daniel Nava had trouble tracking down the carom, but Cabrera, limping, barely rounded first base before heading back to the bag. Then, on Prince Fielder's hard single to center, he pulled up at second, then hopped on one leg in obvious pain as Jacoby Ellsbury returned the ball to the infield. It's amazing he can hit at all given his obvious health issues.

Lester escaped the jam when he get Victor Martinez to ground to shortstop Stephen Drew on a 3-2 pitch.

Pregame: Welcome to misty, cool Fenway Park, where the Red Sox host the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. Nomar Garciaparra is throwing out the first pitch, while Jon Lester will throw the meaningful pitches for the Red Sox. Anibal Sanchez, Lester's former teammate in the Red Sox farm system, gets the start for the Tigers.

There are no major surprises in either lineup, but there are a couple of interesting ones. David Ross does get the start behind the plate in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the Red Sox. And Jhonny Peralta, who has played all of four games in the outfield in his big league career, gets the start in left for Detroit.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland bristled when asked whether Peralta would have trouble playing the wall, particularly when it comes to quirks such as the ladder that caused Rays outfielders problems in Game 1 of the ALDS.

"We're not making too big a deal out of that,'' Leyland said. "Everyone is making a big deal out of it. Heard somebody talking about the ladder. Carl Yastrzemski who played the ladder, he was one hell of a man. When it hits that ladder, I don't think any Red Sox, Tiger, Kansas City Royal or anyone else knows where it's going.

"It is a little tricky to play the wall. And the Red Sox do that better because they're used to it. As far as getting carried away, talking about the ladder, that's ridiculous, nobody knows what it's going to do when it hits that thing. Just do the best you can with it."

Nomar Garciaparra threw out the first pitch to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. … Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, who helped triage patients at the finish line and at Boston Medical Center after the Marathon bombings, sang the National Anthem. … The Red Sox handed out red towels with the “B Strong” logo to fans entering the park.

Lester has taken the mound. Game-time temperature: 55 degrees. Time to play ball. Stay right here for updates throughout the game.

Leyland says series will come down to starters

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 12, 2013 07:22 PM

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From a distance, while Max Scherzer was in the middle of weaving together his 13-0 start to the regular season, he kept a close and competitive eye on Clay Buchholz, who was stringing together a strong start of his own, going 9-0 in his first 12 outings.

Injuries, of course, would eat into Buchholz's season, forcing him to sit for nearly three months. Meanwhile Scherzer went on to put up the kind of breakout season (21-3, 240 strikeouts, 2.90 ERA) that has him at the front of the pack in the race for the AL Cy Young award.

They'll face each other in Game 2 on Sunday and even though their seasons took different turns there's a certain level of mutual respect.

“Obviously he was pitching absolutely lights out,” Scherzer said. “He's able to do a lot of different things with all of his pitches. That's what makes him so effective. It's unfortunate that he did suffer an injury and it just took a long time for him to get back.

"I think he's back and he's going to bring his A stuff, so I'm going to have to match him."

With every start, Scherzer became a big ball of momentum on the mound. Over Scherzer’s first 17 starts, he went 13-0 and the Tigers were 14-3 whenever he took the mound. In five of those starts, he notched at least 10 strikeouts. In seven of them, he only gave up one earned run.

“I think he's one of those guys that it happens now and then, guys get on a roll,” Leyland said. “Whether it's the guy shooting 3‑pointers or hot field goal kicker or whatever it is. In sports guys get on a roll from time to time. And he's been a positive roll.”

For all the postseason hair-splitting about bullpens and managerial decisions and chess matches, Leyland looked at the arms the two teams will send to the mound and said that's what will decided the series.

"I think this'll be a starting pitching series," he said. "If our starters aren't good, we're not going to win this series. And probably the same for them."

• Even though the Wall tortured Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Sean Rodgriguez in the ALDS and Jhonny Peralta has all of six games of outfield experience to his name, Tigers manager Jim Leyland downplayed the impact the wall could have on the series.

“We're not making too big a deal out of that,” Leyland said. “Everyone is making a big deal out of it," he said. "Heard somebody talking about the ladder. Carl Yastrzemski who played the ladder, he was one hell of a man. When it hits that ladder, I don't think any Red Sox, Tiger, Kansas City Royal or anyone else knows where it's going.

“It is a little tricky to play the wall. And the Red Sox do that better because they're used to it. As far as getting carried away, talking about the ladder, that's ridiculous, nobody knows what it's going to do when it hits that thing. Just do the best you can with it.”

• With six steals so far, the Red Sox are one stolen base shy of the team's postseason record, and Scherzer already has baserunning on the brain.

Teams tended to run wild on the Tigers in the regular season, swiping 128 bases with an 82 percent success rate (the Sox weren't better, giving up 133 steals as a staff).

But of all the Tigers pitchers, the two that made it the most difficult on runners were Doug Fister, who only allowed eight steals, and Scherzer, who allowed 14.

"That's something I always pride myself in is trying to prevent the other team from stealing bases against me," Scherzer said. "I know Boston does a very good job of that. That's part of the reason why they're able to create so many runs is because of their ability to their steal bases.

A team-high eight runners were caught trying to steal on Scherzer.

"For me it comes down to the simple fact, I've got to be able to change my timing," he said. "I like to hold the ball. I feel like that really disrupts the base runners. You've got to be quick to the plate and you've got to change all different aspects of it. You can't be repetitive, because they can just time you and figure you out. So that's something I'm always cognizant of, especially when you play a team like this."

• Scherzer turned his sweatshirt into a scoreboard, decorating it with the final score from Missouri’s 41-26. Scherzer, who was born in Missouri and drafted by the Cardinals in 2003 but passed on signing in order to go to the University of Missouri, said, “I’m definitely going to be talking loud today.”

Ross gets a start in Game 1 for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 12, 2013 04:55 PM

Red Sox manager John Farrell threw a bit of a changeup today, starting David Ross at catcher instead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Lester threw seven strong innings against the Tigers at Fenway Park on Sept. 3 with Ross behind the plate. Lester held the Tigers to two runs on eight hits with no walks and nine strikeouts.

Ross also is 1 for 4 against Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez.

"That was definitely factored in," Farrell said. "There's some familiarity with Sanchez even though Sanchez is tougher on righties. The depth of our roster and the depth of our players has been a main contributor to our success this year and we look to take advantage of that as best we can.

"The game in early September with Jon and David pairing up, that was one of the primary reasons."

Also:

• Game 4 starter Jake Peavy is available in relief tonight. Farrell said Peavy would only be used in certain circumstances and would not be used instead of Junichi Tazawa or even Brandon Workman.

"It would have to be a specific situation," Farrell said.

• The Sox will face Cy Young Award favorite Max Scherzer in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some lineup changes could be made as a result.

Mike Napoli is 1 for 13 with five strikeouts against Scherzer and hasn’t faced him since 2012. Daniel Nava is 1 for 9 against Scherzer, 0 for 6 this season.

If the Sox make a chance, Mike Carp would play first base and Jonny Gomes left field. Carp is 2 for 8 with a walk against Scherzer and Gomes 2 for 6.

Carp and Gomes started against Scherzer on Sept. 3. Gomes was 2 for 4 and scored a run in a 2-1 victory. Carp was 0 for 3 and struck out twice.

• Xander Bogaerts is taking groundballs at third base this afternoon. That could be a sign he will start there on Sunday

• When the Red Sox scouted Jose Iglesias, they saw pretty much the same hitter they had. He'll attack early in the count if he gets a chance and will look to pull the ball. He's also inclined to bunt to for a hit.

• It's 57 degrees and foggy at Fenway Park as 5 p.m. approaches. It's going to be a chilly night at the ballpark.

ALCS Game 1: Tigers at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 12, 2013 03:30 PM

Thumbnail image for 2013_alcs.jpgGood afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (97-65, 0-0 ALCS)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Daniel Nava LF
Stephen Drew SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B
David Ross C
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75; 1-0, 2.35 postseason).

TIGERS (93-69, 0-0 ALCS)
Austin Jackson CF
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Jhonny Peralta LF
Omar Infante 2B
Alex Avila C
Jose Iglesias SS
Pitching: RHP Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57; 0-1, 10.38 postseason).

Game time: 8:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: Fox / WEEI, ESPN Radio.

Red Sox vs. Sanchez: Victorino 10-43, Drew 5-20, Ross 2-11, Gomes 1-4, Ortiz 3-3 (2 HRs).

Tigers vs. Lester: Hunter 13-30, Peralta 8-27, Cabrera 10-19, Pena 7-17, Fielder 4-15, Martinez 6-14, Jackson 4-14, Avila 3-6, Infante 2-6, Dirks 1-2, Iglesias 1-3, Santiago 0-3.

Stat of the Day: Sanchez will be pitching at Fenway Park for the first time in his career. He has pitched in every other active stadium in the majors.

Key matchup: Cabrera has owned Lester over the years but was 0 for 3 against him on Sept. 3. The Detroit star struggled with injuries for much of September but homered in Game 5 against Oakland in the Division Series and said Friday that he was feeling much better. The Sox have had a few days to prepare for Cabrera. He is a solid .273/.369/.517 hitter in 46 postseason games, but that is well off his fearsome regular-season line of .321/.399/.568. Cabrera has hit a modest (for him) .247/.358/.444 in 22 career games at Fenway Park.

Notes: The Sox were 3-4 against the Tigers in the regular season but took two of three at Fenway from Sept. 2-4 ... The teams are meeting in the postseason for the first time ... Sox pitchers had a 3.03 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in the Division Series. The Tigers hit .235/.299/.321 against Oakland in their Division Series ... The Sox are 37-42 in postseason games, 18-15 since 2003 ... Detroit is in the ALCS for the third consecutive season ... Lester is 2-2, 4.63 in seven career starts against the Tigers, 2-0, 4.26 in two starts this season ... Sanchez started his career with the Red Sox, signing in 2001 out of Venezuela. He was traded to the Marlins in 2005, part of a package to get Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Sanchez has not faced the Red Sox since 2006, when he was with the Marlins and allowed seven runs over 4.1 innings. He was hit hard in Game 3 of the Division Series, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits (three home runs) in 4.1 innings ... Iglesias hit .327 in 34 games at Fenway Park this season (36 of 110) and .291 (70 of 240) elsewhere ... Ortiz was 10 for 28 with four home runs against the Tigers this season.

Song of the Day: "October" by U2.

Red Sox, Tigers set rosters for ALCS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 12, 2013 11:39 AM

The Red Sox officially announced their ALCS roster this morning. As John Farrell said a few days ago, there are no changes:

PITCHERS (11)
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Ryan Dempster
LHP Felix Doubront
RHP John Lackey
LHP Jon Lester
LHP Franklin Morales
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Brandon Workman

CATCHERS (2)
David Ross
Jarrod Saltalamacchia

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

OUTFIELDERS (6)
CF Quintin Berry
LF-1B Mike Carp
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Jonny Gomes
LF-RF-1B Daniel Nava
RF-CF Shane Victorino

DH (1)
David Ortiz

Detroit did make a change. They activated lefthanded reliever Phil Coke. David Ortiz is 2 for 18 in his career against Coke.

Coke has not pitched particularly well this season (5.40 ERA,1.67 WHIP) and has not pitched since Sept. 18. Ortiz was 1 for 3 against Coke this season with an RBI single. He also grounded out and hit a fly ball to deep right field.

Here is the Detroit roster.

PITCHERS (11)
RHP Al Alburquerque
LHP Jose Alvarez
RHP Joaquin Benoit
LHP Phil Coke
RHP Doug Fister
RHP Rick Porcello
RHP Anibal Sanchez
RHP Max Scherzer
LHP Drew Smyly, Drew
RHP Jose Veras
RHP Justin Verlander

CATCHERS (2)
Alex Avila
Brayan Pena

INFIELDERS (7)
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
SS Jose Iglesias
2B Omar Infante
SS-LF Jhonny Peralta
2B Hernan Perez
INF Ramon Santiago

OUTFIELDERS (4)
LF Andy Dirks
RF Torii Hunter
CF Austin Jackson
OF Don Kelly

DH (1)
Victor Martinez

Red Sox in a good mood before Game 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 11, 2013 10:08 PM

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The Red Sox, as you might expect, are pretty loose.

Jake Peavy's famed lucky cigar store indian was on third base before this afternoon's workout.

A shirtless Mike Napoli reclined on the mound for a bit, taking in the sun. Then once the workout started, John Farrell played a little first base, scooping throws from Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks.

Ryan Dempster has been taking grounders at shortstop. On Wednesday, when the team was off, Ryan came over to Fenway to play catch with his father, Wally.

"What's more fun that playing catch with your dad?" Dempster said.

Koji Uehara has had his young son, Kazuma, in uniform for about a week now. Stephen Drew's oldest son, Hank, was around the batting cage on Thursday.

There are also some new t-shirts popping up in the clubhouse that say, "Can I Buy You A Beard." The Red Sox definitely lead the league in t-shirts.

Andrew Miller, out for the season with a broken foot, had surgery to remove a screw from his foot on Tuesday. He was hobbling around on Wednesday showing it off. It was nearly two inches long.

Miller is supposed to take it easy for a few days. But he'll be there Saturday.

Iglesias saw Sox-Tigers matchup coming

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 11, 2013 08:56 PM

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When the Red Sox dealt him to the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline, Jose Iglesias figured their paths would cross down the line.

That it's the ALCS only makes sense.

“Absolutely,” Iglesias said. “Boston’s been playing really well this year and they’ve got an amazing team. I saw this coming.”

Pegged at one point as the Red Sox's shortstop of the future, Iglesias is now in that role for the Tigers. In 46 regular season with Detroit, Iglesias hit .259, but he made his biggest impact with his glove.

“As far as his defense, he’s really helped us out there, his hitting as well, his speed, he’s just overall a really great player,” said slugger Prince Fielder. “He’s really been a good asset.”

In his first full season in the majors, Iglesias went from starting the season with the Sox to being sent to the minors to being promoted midseason. The postseason is just another twist in a year that's seen plenty of them.

After going 0 for 12 in the first three games of the ALDS against the Oakland As, he admitted there was a learning curve.

“The playoff game is hard,” Iglesias said. “A lot of good pitchers. You’ve got to do little things, like move the guy over, try to be on base no matter what, and it’s going to be a good series for the fans and for baseball.”

Wanting to add pop to the lineup, Leyland went with veteran Jhonny Peralta in the decisive Game 5, but said he Iglesias would start Game 1 on Saturday.

"He's a terrific young player, there's no question about that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I think people have a tendency to forget how young he is, it's a pretty big stage. He's a very energetic player, sometimes too energetic with a terrific, terrific future. He runs good. We all know about his defensive ability. I think he's going to be a good hitter at some point. Probably swings too much like a big man right now. But just all kind of talent. And he's been a great addition to us."

• After Anibal Snachez, the Tigers rotation will be Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.

• Torii Hunter said he considered signing with the Red Sox in the offseason before ultimately cutting a two-year $26 million deal with the Tigers. Close relationships with David Ortiz and John Lackey made the Sox tempting, he said.

“I definitely expected those guys to bounce back,” Hunter said. “I looked at their pitching rotation, pitching and defense win games. With David Ortiz you can never count him out. Dustin Pedroia’s a gamer and I love him. looked at it, I considered it, trust me.”

• More than a few Tigers were still groggy after getting in at 9 a.m. following their Game 5 win in Oakland. “We’re used to getting in at nine,” Leyland said. “Usually it’s not after a game. It was a little rough, to be honest with you. But probably the best long flight we’ve ever had, obviously, for the right reasons.”

Red Sox, Tigers set their rotations

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 11, 2013 07:26 PM

A few notes from ALCS workout day at Fenway Park:

• The Red Sox will follow Jon Lester with Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Jake Peavy.

"We felt like with Clay falling in behind Jon it gives us a contrast of style. And that would be the case with John Lackey as well," John Farrell said. "I thought Clay threw the ball well in his start down in Tampa. That's not to say John Lackey's outing here was less than. He pitched us to a win against Tampa in Game 2. But with the rotation going forward the first two days we feel good about where we are."

• Lackey threw 30 pitches over two innings in a brief simulated game. He faced several teammates. In a strange twist, the Tigers were stretching for their workout and watched the whole thing.

• The Tigers will go with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister after Anibal Sanchez.

• Jim Leyland plans to start Jose Iglesias at shortstop in Game 1 with Jhonny Peralta in left field.

• Quintin Berry was a popular interview subject today. He was a regular player in the playoffs for the Tigers last season and now is a pinch runner for the Red Sox.

"He never got thrown out. I saw him the other night steal a big base. It's a weapon, it really is. It's a nice weapon to have, and he's really good at it," Leyland said.

"The reason he's good is because he's one of those guys that can steal the base when everybody in the ballpark knows he's going to go, and he can still steal the base. That's what I call a legitimate base stealer."

• The odds of there being some sort of brawl in this series are small. David Ortiz must have hugged 15 of the Tigers today. Jose Iglesias and Victor Martinez exchanged pleasantries with a number of the Red Sox players and coaches, too. There's a lot of mutual respect.

• Farrell said he will be looking to get David Ross, Johnny Gomes and perhaps even Xander Bogaerts some starts in this series. He used the entire roster all season and that won't change.

Pitching matchups for the ALCS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 11, 2013 03:50 PM
RED SOX vs. TIGERS

Game 1 on Saturday at Boston: LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57), 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 2 on Sunday at Boston: RHP Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90), 8:15 p.m., FOX.

Game 3 on Tuesday at Detroit: RHP John Lackey (10-13, 3.52) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46), 4:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 4 on Wednesday at Detroit: RHP Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17) vs. RHP Doug Fister (14-9. 3.67), 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Game 5 (if necessary) on Thursday at Detroit: TBA vs. TBA, 8:07 p.m., FOX

Game 6 (if necessary) on Oct. 19 at Boston: TBA vs. TBA, 4:37 p.m., FOX

Game 7 (if necessary) on Oct. 20 at Boston: TBA vs. TBA, 8:07 p.m., FOX.

Note: Records are for regular season.

Red Sox in six? An ALCS breakdown

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 11, 2013 01:25 PM

The Oakland Athletics had the second-best record in the American League behind the Red Sox. But based on run differential, the Red Sox (+197) and Tigers (+174) were the two best teams in the league and very much belong in the ALCS.

The likely starting lineups on Saturday will feature 11 players who have been All-Stars with six other All-Stars (all starting pitchers) watching from the dugout.

Jim Leyland has been managing for 22 seasons and has 1,769 victories. John Farrell has only been managing for three seasons but helped engineer one of the all-time turnarounds this year.

Here's a breakdown of the series based more on groupings than the antiquated idea of comparing players by position:

Red Sox offense against Detroit pitching: The Sox are going to strike out a lot. A whole lot. Sox batters have not handled high-end fastballs well all season and that plays into the hands of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez. The question is how adept the Sox will be working pitch counts and getting into a less-imposing Detroit bullpen.

Verander lasted five innings and 112 pitches against the Sox on June 23. Scherzer took a loss against the Sox on Sept. 3 despite allowing two runs over seven innings. Doug Fister has been hit hard by the Sox in the last two years. The Sox would be wise not to let the series go seven games because Verlander could be waiting. Edge: Tigers, but not by as much as you may think.

Detroit offense against Red Sox pitching: This largely depends whether Miguel Cabrera is Miguel Cabrera or the guy who hit a modest (for him) .291/.398/.342 over the final 24 games he played in the regular season. Cabrera was 5 for 20 against Oakland with one extra-base hit, a home run in Game 5.

Red Sox scouts got a good look at Cabrera to find whatever weakness his injuries have exposed. Prince Fielder was 7 for 28 against the Red Sox this season with one home run. Torii Hunter was quiet against Oakland, but Victor Martinez is somebody to watch.

The Red Sox have a deep bullpen that performed well against Tampa Bay. But Cabrera is 2 for 4 with two home runs against Koji Uehera, one coming this year. Edge: Red Sox. They won't let Cabrera beat them.

Defense: The Tigers are wretched in the infield, especially if Jose Iglesias is out of the lineup. Their outfield defense is fine in center and right and shaky in left if Jhonny Peralta is out there. The Red Sox are a much better defensive team in almost every position. They also employ shifts to a much greater advantage. Edge: Red Sox by a ton.

Benches: Outside of using Don Kelly in left, the Tigers didn't employ their bench much against Oakland. Farrell actively looks for spots to use Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp and would use David Ross against a lefty. Edge: Red Sox.

Managing/intangibles: Leyland's vast experience gives him an edge on Farrell. There's no way around that. But in pitching coach Juan Nieves, the Sox have somebody very familiar with the Tigers from the years he spent with the White Sox. The Sox also have done an excellent job of preparing for teams this season. Their edge comes from the group perhaps.

The Tigers are in the ALCS for the third straight season. If you believe experience counts, that matters. The last-to-first Red Sox are playing with house money, so perhaps they will be loose. You can make an argument either way as to which is better. Detroit needs to make the World Series or their season is a bust. The Sox have home field advantage and that could be huge. Edge: Red Sox.

Things to watch for: Peralta has little experience in left field. How he deals with the Green Monster will be interesting. ... Dustin Pedroia twice got in Stephen Drew's way on the infield against Tampa Bay. Was that just random miscommunication or trying too hard? ... The Tigers don't run (35 steals) and the Red Sox do (123). That will come into play. ... If Shane Victorino keeps getting hit by righthanders, getting hit by Verlander or Scherzer could break something. The Sox can't afford to lose him.

Prediction: The Red Sox are a better team top to bottom and have several advantages, starting with extra time off to set their pitching. The Tigers have been slogging it out with a 16-15 record since the start of September (counting the playoffs). The Red Sox show no signs of letting up. Red Sox in six games.


Soxcaster: The ultimate in-game contest for the Red Sox postseason

Posted by Chris Rattey October 11, 2013 01:00 PM

Play Soxcaster prediction game powered by MLB PrePlaySo you think you know your Red Sox baseball? Well look into that crystal ball and prove it. Welcome to Soxcaster, the pre- and-in-game showdown where you predict various outcomes of the hometown team's postseason performance alongside other Red Sox fans. Just by entering into the competition, you will be put into a sweepstakes to win a $500 gift card to Boston.com's own fan shop.

We teamed up with MLB PrePlay and NESN to create our own mobile web version of the mobile app. Sign up now through Facebook or register with PrePlay, and throw your hat in the ring to win this great prize and compete with others throughout the Red Sox postseason. Each game will be its own competition and we'll tally up the scores to see who is the best overall predictor.

Register now and make your ALCS Game 1 pregame selections.

We will be pulling data throughout the rest of the Red Sox postseason to see how good Boston fans are at predicting the outcome of the games. There will also be questions posed at every half-inning during the contest, so keep your phone, tablet or computer at the ready to make your selections.

Have fun and good luck.

MLB names umpires for ALCS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 11, 2013 12:17 PM

Joe West, a 36-year Major League umpire Joe West will lead the crew assigned to the ALCS between the Tigers and the Red Sox.

West will be joined by regular season crew chief Dale Scott, Rob Drake, Dan Iassogna, Ron Kulpa and Alfonso Marquez.

Scott, Drake and Iassogna worked the NL Wild Card Game with West, while Kulpa was assigned to the AL tiebreaker game between Tampa Bay and Texas. This is West’s 21st career postseason assignment, including his eighth LCS.

Tigers head to Boston for ALCS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 10, 2013 11:13 PM




The Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics, 3-0, tonight to advance to the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. It will be the first time the franchises will meet in the postseason.

Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Yoenis Cespedes broke it up with a single. Verlander settled for eight shutout innings. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out 10.

Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer for Detroit.

The Red Sox were 3-4 against Detroit this season. But they outscored the Tigers 43-35 and took two of three when the teams met at Fenway Park Sept. 2-4. The Sox beat the Tigers 20-4 in the final game of the season series.

Red Sox Game 1 starter Jon Lester is 2-2 with a 4.63 earned run average in seven career starts against Detroit. Lester was 2-0, 4.26 in two starts against the Tigers this season.

The Tigers have 44 hours and 37 minutes before first pitch on Saturday. They will start Anibal Sanchez, the former Red Sox prospect. He has faced the Sox once in his career, back in 2006 when he allowed seven runs in a start for the Marlins.

"This Oakland team is a very tough team," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told reporters in Oakland. "Now we're going to go play a more tough veteran team."

World Series tickets on sale Friday

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 10, 2013 06:04 PM

This from the Red Sox regarding World Series tickets:

Tickets for Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 of possible World Series games at Fenway Park will be available via automated phone only (888-REDSOX6) beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Fans who registered and were selected in the random online drawing for the opportunity to purchase World Series tickets were notified on Thursday. Those fans will have the chance to purchase tickets starting at noon tomorrow on redsox.com.

No tickets will be available at the Fenway Park ticket office.

There will be a four ticket limit per fan for World Series games. Ticket prices for those games range from $125 to $375.

Game times set for ALCS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 10, 2013 01:49 PM

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Game 1 of the ALCS will be at 8:07 p.m. Game 2 will be at 8:15 p m.

Red Sox manager John Farrell announced this afternoon that Jon Lester would start Game 1. The remainder of the rotation is to be determined.

The Red Sox, Farrell said, will stick with the same 25-man roster they used in the Division Series. The only player who didn’t see any action against Tampa Bay was lefthander Felix Doubront, a starter turned long reliever.

“There was a review,” Farrell said. “Even when you get into a seven-game series versus a five-game [series], you’ve got one additional day off. There was a review but nothing glaring, no injury issues that would have prompted an adjustment.”

Below are the full schedules for both the ALDS and NLDS.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Red Sox vs. Athletics or Tigers

Game 1: Sat., Oct. 12 at Boston, 8:07 p.m. (FOX)

Game 2: Sun., Oct. 13 at Boston, 8:15 p.m. (FOX)

Game 3: Tue., Oct. 15 at Oakland/Detroit, 4:07 p.m. (FOX)

Game 4: Wed., Oct. 16 at Oakland/Detroit, 8:07 p.m. (FOX)

Game 5: Thu., Oct. 17 at Oakland/Detroit, 8:07 p.m. (FOX)

Game 6: Sat., Oct. 19 at Boston, 4:37 (will be 8:07 p.m. if NLCS is over) (FOX)

Game 7: Sun., Oct. 20 at Boston, 8:07 p.m. (FOX)

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Cardinals vs. Dodgers

Game 1: Fri., Oct. 11 at St. Louis, 8:37 p.m. (TBS)

Game 2: Sat., Oct. 12 at St. Louis, 4:07 p.m. (TBS)

Game 3: Mon., Oct. 14 at Los Angeles, 8:07 p.m. (TBS)

Game 4: Tue., Oct. 15 at Los Angeles, 8:07 p.m. (TBS)

Game 5: Wed., Oct. 16 at Los Angeles, 4:07 p.m. (TBS)

Game 6: Fri., Oct. 18 at St. Louis, 8:37 p.m. (TBS)

Game 7: Sat., Oct. 19 at St. Louis, 8:37 p.m. (TBS)

For Nava, a busy two games in the ALDS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 10, 2013 09:15 AM

A few interesting little statistics left over from the Division Series:

• Daniel Nava saw 43 pitches in seven plate appearances. He was 1 for 5 with two walks and didn't score a run. But his impact on the two games at Tropicana Field was significant.

• At 21 years and 7 days, Xander Bogaerts is the youngest player to draw two walks in a postseason game since Mickey Mantle (19 years, 349 days) in Game 1 of the 1951 World Series.

• Shane Victorino has been hit by a pitch 19 times in his last 48 games, including the postseason. His on-base percentage is .394 in those games as a result. Take away the HBPs and it falls to .335.

• Righthanded hitters were 1 for 9 against Craig Breslow in the series. He pitched 3.2 scoreless innings.

• Junichi Tazawa appeared in all four games. He faced seven batters and retired six of them.

• Koji Uehara threw 36 pitches in three appearances, 27 for strikes.

• Quintin Berry is 27 of 27 in stolen bases in his career, 3 for 3 in the postseason.

• The Red Sox bullpen in the Division Series: 11 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 12 K.

• Jacoby Ellsbury had at least one hit, one run and one stolen base in each of the four games.

• John Lackey has a 5.57 ERA in his last five starts going back to the regular season. But the Sox are 4-1 in those games.

• The Sox are 55-28 (.663) at home this season and 45-38 (.542) on the road. Home field advantage in the ALCS and beyond could prove significant.

• The Sox are 6-10 in four postseason series against Oakland, the last coming in 2003. They have never faced the Tigers in the postseason.

Lester for Game 1 . . . then choices for Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 9, 2013 07:21 PM

The Red Sox have not announced their starting rotation for the ALCS. But it's certain that Jon Lester will start Game 1 Saturday at Fenway Park against either the Athletics or Tigers.

John Farrell said on WEEI today that he would "probably lead off with Lester." Translated that means, "Yes, Jon Lester starts Game 1."

From there, the Red Sox have a lot of options that will hinge on the opponent.

Jake Peavy was terrific Tuesday night, albeit it for only 74 pitches and 5.2 innings. He could come back for Game 2 on regular rest. Peavy has not faced Oakland since April 23, 2012, and that could be a big advantage for him.

Peavy faced the Tigers once this season, in July in his final start for the White Sox, and allowed four runs over seven innings.

Then there is this: John Lackey is 9-5, 2.83 in 18 career starts at Oakland. That includes allowing two runs over seven innings on July 12. A bigger ballpark he is familiar with could suit Lackey well.

Clay Buchholz was shaky against Tampa Bay in Game 3 but he could slot into Game 2 if Farrell chooses.

However it shakes out, the Red Sox have major advantages in terms of rest and travel. Their pitchers will have three days off before Game 1. Meanwhile, the Athletics or Tigers face a long flight to Boston after their Game 5 Thursday.

The Red Sox also get extra time to prepare advance scouting reports, something that served them well for the Division Series. The Sox scored 26 runs in four games against the Rays and hit .286 with an .804 OPS. Their pitchers had a 3.03 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

• MLB has not announced start times. But here is what Fox just sent in an email:

Game 1: FOX Sports, Saturday, Oct. 12 (7:30 p.m. ET)
Game 2: FOX Sports, Sunday, Oct. 13 (8:00 p.m. ET)
Game Talent: Play-by-Play announcer Joe Buck is joined by analyst Tim McCarver with reporters Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews.

Scenes from another Red Sox celebration

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 9, 2013 02:45 AM

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AP Photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A few champagne-streaked notes (literally, thanks to Ryan Lavarnway) from the Red Sox clubhouse:

• As the players were moshing together in the clubhouse, Farrell escaped the deluge and returned to his office to share the moment with GM Ben Cherington, assistant GM Mike Hazen, assistant GM Brian O'Halloran and vice president of player personnel Allard Baird.

Cherington and Farrell have one of the best manager/GM relationships in the game. Farrell also goes back to his Cleveland days with Hazen, whose influence helped bring Farrell back from Toronto.

The working relationship between the baseball operations staff and the field staff is one of the key components that has led the Red Sox to the ALCS.

• Mike Napoli wore swim trunks and was shirtless for the postgame celebration. But Jonny Gomes geared up as he did after the AL East clincher with a combat helmet.

• Xander Bogaerts, who walked twice and scored two runs, was 20 when the Sox clinched the East and has since turned 21. But he did not partake in any alcohol. "I can drink, but I don't drink," he said. "I'm legal, but I won't."

Bogaerts is a very talented player. But the way he conducts himself and handles everything that comes is way is part of what will make him a star player in time. He has that personality.

• Lefthander Andrew Miller, who is out for the season but traveling with the team, also didn’t partake in any bubbly or beer. He is having surgery on Thursday to get a screw removed from his broken foot and was told not to have any alcohol.

• Cherington needed a shower before getting on the team bus. A group of players soaked him in champagne.

• Jake Peavy spoke to reporters several times and was often interrupted by teammates dousing him. Each team, he leaned back and reveled in it. Peavy later took a photo with his three sons in the clubhouse. Imagine his season, going from the last-place White Sox to the ALCS.

This game was why the Red Sox traded for him. It will be very interesting to see if Peavy moves up in the rotation for the ALCS. He might make a very good choice for Game 2.

• When it comes to parties, Koji Uehera doesn't get cheated. He was in the middle of everything and drained a few beers along the way.

Koji was very helpful to the media, though. He was speaking to a few of the regular beat writers at one point when a mirthful Junichi Tazawa approached with a bottle of champagne. I don't have the exact translation but Uehara must have said, "Do that and you're a dead man," because Tazawa held off until the scribes gathered their quotes.

• Outside of Felix Doubront, the Red Sox used all 25 players on their roster in the series. But Felix was enjoying himself immensely. "Unbelievable feeling," he said.

• Watched Jarrod Saltalamacchia wring champagne out of his beard before he spoke to Joe Castiglione for the postgame show. Nice guy, that Salty.

Thanks for reading along. A 6 a.m. flight home awaits.

Rays exhausted all options in defeat

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 9, 2013 02:17 AM

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With his team’s season slipping away, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon was trying to figure out what desperate measures were still left.

He had already exhausted every ounce of his baseball intelligence, every shred of luck and nearly every pitcher in his bullpen.

If it came down to it, he figured, he would use David Price if he had to, even though he was planning on saving him for game five.

“I don't even have any idea who would have started that,” Maddon said. “It didn't really matter because without winning a Game 4, there is no Game 5.”

After teetering on the brink of elimination for nearly two weeks, the Rays finally fell. They took their final gasps in a 3-1 Game 4 American League Championship series loss to the Red Sox.

When starter Jeremy Hellickson unraveled after facing just six batters, the Rays were left scrambling.

Maddon admitted that with Hellickson’s struggles, he never intended for him to go very deep into the game.

“Originally, I thought or had hoped for Helly getting through the lineup maybe one time, maybe through Pedroia and then turning it over at that point,” Maddon said. “But the way it was going in the beginning there, you could see it was not going to work. We had to do something a little bit differently. Then we became a little bit more extemporaneous at that point.”

He didn’t tell Hellickson, though.

“I didn't want to put anything in his head,” Maddon said. “I just wanted him to go out there and play.”

It didn’t matter.

By the end of the night, the Rays would burn through nine pitchers, a postseason record for a nine-inning game.

The crazy part is that, when they took a slim one-run lead in the sixth on David DeJesus’s RBI single, it seemed like all the on-the-fly, survival-mode decisions would work.

“It was there,” Maddon said. “It was all there. I really thought we could do 1-0. I really thought it was in our abilities.”

But they had been here with the Sox time and again this season. Eleven of their 19 regular season meetings were decided by two runs or less. The Sox won seven of them.

Tonight was the same record on repeat.

“They were really good, they didn't make any mistakes,” Maddon said. “You could see their grit. From spring training on, I think they've really promoted the character of their ground and they're just gamers. They've got a bunch of gamers over there.”

• The Rays scored just 12 runs in the series, and went 5 for 28 with runners in scoring position. Scoring runs against the Sox seemed like an impossibility all season for the Rays, who hit .152 with runners in scoring position against the Sox during the regular season.

“You can look at it all season long,” Maddon said. “They’ev beat us and primarily because we’ve lost a lot of close games where they’ve won, we can’t match up with their pitching.

“They’ve done a great job. They’ve got some really good veterans. Peavy That’s been the downfall all year, the fact that we can’t hit that group.”

• Hellickson’s start, just one inning and six batters, was the shortest in Rays postseason history.

In playoff history, teams are 15-55 when their starter goes an inning or less.

• The only bats that seemed to work consistently for the Rays were Yunel Escobar and James Loney’s.

Escobar hit .467 (7 for 15) with two doubles three runs scored and an RBI. Loney, who went 0 for 4 on Tuesday, went five for 12 with a pair for doubles and a pair of ribbies.

For the Red Sox, four pitchers are better than nine

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 9, 2013 02:08 AM

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Jim Davis/Globe Staff

ST. PETERSBURGH, Fla. — Rays manager Joe Maddon used nine pitchers in Game 4 of the Division Series, none for more than two innings. As the Rays batted in the ninth inning early this morning, he had David Price warming up just in case.

But all of Maddon's moves could not trump the Red Sox, who advanced to the American League Championship Series with a 3-1 victory.

Jake Peavy, Craig Breslow, Junchi Tazawa and Koji Uehara allowed one run on six hits. They struck out 10 without a walk. Once the Sox took a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning, the Rays put one runner on base. Seven of the final 11 Tampa Bay batters struck out.

After the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning, Breslow handed it off to Tazawa and Uehara to secure. A day after allowing a walk-off homer. Uehera struck out Evan Longoria to end the series.

“I wasn’t down on myself at all,” Uehara said. “Whatever the results were, I had the confidence for this game.”

It was only the second time this season that Breslow pitched over parts of three innings in a game. He came in to face James Loney in the sixth and left the game in the eighth.

“Not something I’ve done. In these situations, you’re feeding off adrenalin and off momentum. Once I got in there and got ahead of Loney, things slowed down a little bit," Breslow said.

Breslow pitched in three of the four games in the series, going 3.2 scoreless innings. Righthanded hitters were 1 for 9 against him.

“He's been, I don't want to say an unsung hero, but he's flown under the radar most of the year. Next to Koji, he's a very dependable reliever,” Sox manager John Farrell said.

“When he comes out and gets the strikeout of Loney and he goes through the next inning with the three strikeouts, a huge performance on his part to bridge to both Junichi and Koji as we finish that out.”

As Breslow spoke to the media in a joyous clubhouse, starters Jon Lester and John Lackey poured champagne and beer on him.

“This guy, what a stud,” Lackey said. “Unbelievable.”

Also:

• Farrell spoke at length before the game about why he didn't pinch hit Xander Bogaerts for Stephen Drew against lefty Jake McGee in the eighth inning on Monday. Then in the seventh inning on Tuesday, he did exactly that.

It showed that Farrell is flexible.

“I reserve the right to change my mind. I felt like at that moment, as tough as lefthanders have been on Stephen, we had to try something different," he said.

Bogaerts drew a walk and scored the tying run on a wild pitch. The Sox later took the lead in the inning.

“I tried to stay calm and say with my approach. Walks are fine,” Bogaerts said. “I thought there was a possibility that I would hit. It worked out well.”

• Jake Peavy allowed one run over 5.2 innings but was pulled after only 74 pitches. He was angry, but knew it made sense to have Breslow come in to face Loney in the sixth inning.

“I understood the situation, as much as I wanted to stay in that game,” Peavy said. “This isn’t about me. I’m glad I pitched the way I did, but the biggest thing was for this team to win the game.”

• Jacoby Ellsbury was 9 for 18 in the series with seven runs scored, two RBIs and four stolen bases. In 26 career postseason games, Ellsbury has 27 hits, 19 runs and nine steals.

• Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch four times in the series, twice in the final game. It was a Division Series record.

Final: Red Sox 3, Rays 1

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 8, 2013 08:35 PM

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Coming from behind in a tight and tense game with a Tampa Bay Rays team that had been gasping for air for the past two weeks, the Red Sox were able to clinch a 3-1 win in the American League Championship Series with a 3-1 win at Tropicana Field.

Trailing by a run in the seventh inning, the Sox benefited from a bad bounce and some small ball to take a late lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Pitching to Shane Victorino with Xander Bogaerts on third and Jacoby Ellsbury on first, the first pitch Joel Peralta threw went wild on him, bouncing to the backstop and allowing Bogaerts to score the tying run, while Ellsbury, who was already on the move, raced to third.

A Victorino bouncer to short Ellsbury him to cross the plate, putting the Sox ahead and the Rays on the ropes.

The Rays were scrambling all night once Joe Maddon pulled his starter Jeremy Hellickson just six batters into the game after Hellickson loaded the bases in the second inning.

The Rays were able to get out of the jam, but used nine pitchers over the course of the night, including Game 1 starter Matt Moore.

Meanwhile, the Sox’s arms were steady. Jake Peavy threw 5.2 innings of one-run ball in his first postseason start since 2006. With two scoreless innings of work, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa built the bridge for Koji Uehara to come in for the four-out save.

Playing in their fifth elimination game in nine days, the Rays were already dangling over the edge.

The Sox will advance to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2008.

FULL ENTRY

Rays hope to feed off home crowd in must-win

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 8, 2013 07:42 PM

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For all the chess moves, the small ball, and the walkoff dramatics in the Rays' Game 3 win, it was impossible to ignore the atmosphere at Tropicana Field.

The Rays hadn’t played a home game in two weeks. They hadn’t played a postseason home game since 2011 and they hadn’t won one since 2008.

Even though tickets were still available for Game 4 -- which was still no guarantee at that point -- Game 3 was a sellout, and even though there were occasional uprisings from Red Sox fans (even on the other end of the East Coast, Wil Myers cannot escape the jeers), the Rays were able to feed off a loud home crowd.

“Every time it has filled up, it seems to bring out the best in us,” said manager Joe Maddon.

Maddon acknowledged that there are times when the ballpark doesn’t necessarily feel like home to the Rays.

“Just being honest, over the years you've seen a lot of other teams' fans in the ballpark under those circumstances,” he said.

“It definitely had that pro-Rays vibe to it last night. We felt it in the dugout through the entire game. It was spectacular. We'd like to see it look like that more consistently, obviously, because it does matter.”

The Rays drew a crowd of more than 30,000 for the 13th time in the franchise’s postseason history. In those games, the Rays are 6-7. But when they’ve drawn that many fans in the regular season, they’re 49-17.

“It makes a difference,” Maddon said. “But the group was great last night. We're hoping to see a lot of the same tonight.”

A few more notes:

• If the Rays manage to send the series back to Boston, David Price will take the mound in Game 5.

Considering the tizzy he managed to work up on Twitter after his last start, he'll obviously have some things to prove.

Even with Price coming off the worst postseason start of his career, Maddon said, "We just think it's the best thing for us."

• After going with Matt Joyce as the DH in Game 3 over Delmon Young, who seemed to settle into the role at the end of the regular season, Maddon gave the nod to Kelly Johnson in Game 4, batting him seventh in the lineup.

Even though the difference between Young's and Johnson’s career splits against Red Sox starter Jake Peavy was negligible (Young 3 for 13, Johnson 2 for 12), Maddon felt more comfortable going with the lefty.

“We're not afraid to do things,” Maddon said. “It was just back and forth. It's not easy. Our lineups are not easy to assemble. We don't have the cookie-cutter/nine guys/let's go lineup. We set it up to be platooned and that's how we work it in the offseason. When it comes to this time of the season, it's no different. We still continue working the process right down to the last drop.

“Matt has struggled a bit. We tried it yesterday, and listen, I love this guy and he works so hard, and he's not at the top of his game right at this moment.

"Obviously, the other alternative would have been to put Delmon in there. But really, truthfully, Delmon against Peavy is not necessarily what you're looking for. Kelly actually reads better, we think, against Peavy for the beginning of the game."

• A day after starting Game 3 as the cleanup hitter and then leaving with cramping in both legs, Myers was back in the lineup, hitting in the 2-hole. Batting him cleanup was a sign that Maddon still had confidence in the rookie outfielder, whose misplay on a fly ball was the swing moment in Game 1. But Myers is hitless in 12 at-bats, with four strikeouts

ALDS Game 4: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 8, 2013 05:05 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (2-1)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17 regular season).

RAYS (1-2)
DeJesus LF
Myers RF
Loney 1B
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Jennings CF
Johnson DH
Escobar SS
Lobaton C
Pitching: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 5.17 regular season).

Game time: 8:37 p.m.

TV/radio: TBS / WEEI, ESPN.

Red Sox vs. Hellickson: Pedroia 6-31, Ortiz 9-24, Salty 8-25, Ellsbury 6-23, Napoli 2-14, Nava 2-13, Middlebrooks 1-12, Drew 3-8, Gomes 3-9, Carp 2-7, Victorino 0-3, Berry 1-2, Bogaerts 0-2.

Rays vs. Peavy: Loney 10-31, DeJesus 3-22, Johnson 2-12, Longoria 3-15, Young 3-13, Zobrist 4-13, Escobar 1-10, Joyce 1-8, Molina 0-6, Lobaton 0-5, Rodriguez 2-4, Fuld 0-3, Myers 1-2.

Stat of the Day: The Rays are 4 for 4 in elimination games this season. They won on the final day of the regular season to stay alive, the tiebreaker game, the wild-card playoff game, and Game 3.

Notes: The Red Sox lead the best-of-five series, 2-1. A fifth game, if needed, would be Thursday at Fenway Park ... If the Red Sox win, Game 1 of the ALCS is Saturday at Fenway ... The Sox have not advanced to the ALCS since 2008 ... Peavy is pitching for the first time since Sept. 25. He faced the Rays Sept. 12 and allowed three runs on four hits over six innings. Peavy is 3-1, 4.91 in six career starts against the Rays, 2-0, 3.93 in three starts at the Trop ... Hellickson is pitching for the first time since Sept. 27. He is 2-6, 7.02 in 10 games since Aug. 6. Hellickson is 4-2, 4.21 in 12 career appearances against the Red Sox, 1-0, 3.44 in three games this season ... The Sox have been successful on 44 consecutive stolen base attempts since Aug. 9 ... The Sox have outscored the Rays, 23-11, in the series.

Song of the Day: "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown" by Joe Ely.

An opportunity Peavy has been waiting for

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 8, 2013 11:25 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jake Peavy won the Cy Young Award in 2007. He has been an All-Star three times and has a Gold Glove. Before he's done playing baseball, Peavy will have earned well north of $100 million.

He has a reputation for being a good teammate and for being somebody charities in San Diego, Chicago, and Boston could count on.

It's a resume to be proud of. But there's something missing that can be fixed tonight in Game 4 of the American League Division Series.

Peavy has never had success in the postseason. The Padres got there in 2005 and 2006, but Peavy pitched poorly in two starts against the Cardinals. Over 9.2 innings, Peavy allowed 13 earned runs on 19 hits, three of them home runs. He walked four and struck out five.

"I tell you what I've learned, experience means way more than I ever thought it did," Peavy said on Monday. "You say you need experience. You say you want experience. Until you have experience and understand what experience is, I don't think you can talk about it and appreciate it until you are able to see it firsthand for yourself."

"I wish I could go back and know what I know now, be a little bit more under control in between the ears and on the mental side of things than I was back then. I'm healthier than I was in either one of those starts, that's a crazy thing. I haven't said a whole lot at this time in my career, but some unfortunate situations led to me being out there a little bit less than what I would have preferred."

If Peavy can pitch well tonight and move the Red Sox into the ALCS, those two starts against the Cardinals won't be such a jagged edge for him.

This game is the reason the Red Sox traded for Peavy on July 30, giving up a player they really liked in Jose Iglesias. Ben Cherington and John Farrell wanted a strong rotation for the postseason and having a pitcher like Peavy as the fourth starter is ideal.

Peavy has not pitched since Sept. 25 in Colorado, outside of a few innings in last week's intrasquad game. A long layoff cost John Lackey some command in Game 2 but he survived it. Now Peavy will have to adjust.

"Just done everything I could possibly do to keep that feel. If you watched Lackey the other day, I think you saw the layoff can affect your feel and command a little bit," Peavy said. "But at the end of the day it will be no excuse. I'll get out there and figure out a way to get it done just as John did."

Peavy pitches with an outward intensity, shouting at himself on the mound and putting his all into every pitch. Managing that emotion will be important, too.

In two starts against the Rays this season, Peavy allowed five earned runs over 12.2 innings.

Jeremy Hellickson starts for Tampa Bay. It will be his second postseason start, the last coming in 2011. Hellickson is 2-6 with a 7.02 ERA since Aug. 6 and hasn't pitched since Sept. 27. But he had a 3.44 ERA in three games against the Red Sox this season.

For the Red Sox, a shocking loss

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 8, 2013 12:56 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There are countless ways the Red Sox could have lost on Monday night. The Rays are a talented, well-prepared team with plenty of weapons.

Low on the list, somewhere near the bottom, was the idea that backup catcher Jose Lobaton would come off the bench cold and hit a hit walk-off home run off Koji Uehara.

As Lobaton stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Uehara had allowed one earned run over a stretch of 42 innings dating back to July 2.

Uehara had not given up a home run since June 30. He also had thrown 11.2 shutout innings against the Rays this season, giving up two hits.

Uehara started Lobaton with a split-finger fastball that was swung at and missed. He came back with the same pitch, a touch lower, and Lobaton nailed it.

"As long as the hitter has a bat in his hand, that happens,” Uehara said.

Said David Ortiz: “That was a good pitch. … It happens. He’s a pitcher. He’s human. He’s not from another planet.”

Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted to the improbability of it.

“If you bet some bucks on that, you’re going to lose,” he said. “It’s not normally going to happen.”

Lobaton is a career .228 hitter who was playing in his second postseason game. He has nine home runs in 495 at-bats over four seasons. Get this: The ball landed in the rays tank beyond the fence in center field. Lobaton was the first Tampa Bay player to do that.

Small sample size, but still: In six career postseason games, Uehara has pitched four innings and allowed six runs on six hits, four of them home runs.

After he left the clubhouse, Uehara posted a message on Twitter in Japanese.

"I've thrown,” he wrote. “I got a walk-off loss. (Tears).”

Game 4 will be Tuesday at 8:37 p.m. back at Tropicana Field. The Red Sox lead the best-of-five series 2-1. Jake Peavy will face Jeremy Hellickson.

“I wish we had won the game. But I’ll be ready to pitch,” Peavy said. “This team will be ready. We’ll bounce back.”

A few notes:

• Via Twitter and email, folks expressed surprise that Farrell didn't pinch hit for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew in the eight inning with a runner on second and one outs against lefty Jake McGee.

Both have poor statistics against lefties. But righthanded hitters have hit .217 against McGee this season, lefties .235. Pinch hiting David Ross or Xander Bogaerts was not remotely cut and dry.

"McGee has been dominant against right‑handed hitters. He's almost a right‑handed reliever in some ways because of the strong reverse splits he has," Farrell said. "Stephen is a good fastball hitter. We know McGee is going to come at us with 95 percent fastballs, if not more. There was no hesitation to leave Stephen at the plate."

Beyond that, Farrell has not hit for Drew and Saltalamacchia this season. So to suddenly change that, to show a lack of trust in two players who have helped carry the team all season, would have been wildly out character for Farrell.

It's easy to manage from the couch or the press box. It's a lot harder when you have to look a good player in the eye and tell him to sit down.

• Ortiz said it was a "good move" to run Quintin Berry for him in the eighth inning. The Sox ended up with Berry on second with Mike Napoli up. He got ahead 2-and-0 in the count and grounded out on a 3-and-2 pitch after taking two strikes.

• Farrell showed a lot of faith in Franklin Morales, sending him out to start the eighth inning. But Morales walked James Loney and pinch runner Sam Fuld eventually scored the go-ahead run. Have to wonder how Morales gets used next.

• Clay Buchholz (3 earned runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings) had one of his poorest starts of the season. Farrell ran him back out there for the sixth inning after a shaky fifth inning and he got three pop-ups.

• Jacoby Ellsbury is 8 for 14 in the series with seven runs scored, two RBIs and three stolen bases. That's a nice page in the free-agent portfolio. Ellsbury has been so good this season and now in the postseason. Can the Red Sox afford to let him get away?

Thanks to everybody for reading.

Jose Lobaton keeps Rays alive with walkoff

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 8, 2013 12:51 AM

ST. PETERSBURG -- As he rounded the bases, Jose Lobaton had no idea what to do.

“It's weird,” Lobaton said. “You want to do a lot of things. You want to yell. I was running, I just said, 'Thank God.' That's what I was saying.

“I don't know how to explain it. It's just different than when you get a base hit. You know you get one more game. You know you've got the next day to try to win again."

His two-out walkoff homer guaranteed that the Rays would live to play another day. It was the first postseason hit of his career and for a team that's played with its back to the wall for two weeks, it couldn't have been more timely.

Playing high-stakes speed chess late in the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon was busy plotting his next move when he realized he didn't need to.

"I swear I was looking down on my [lineup] card and you're preparing for what's going to happen," he said. "Then I hear that thing you hear on the radio back in the day when you're listening to the Cardinals on KMOX, laying on the floor in Hazleton, Pa, that knock. And look up and the ball is going towards the tank, which nobody hits home runs there. Nobody does. How about that? It's incredible."

It was Lobaton's third walkoff hit this season.

"Jose does have a flare for the dramatic," Maddon said. "He's done that a couple of times now. A walkoff triple, two walkoff homers. It's incredible what he's done. What an interesting, wonderful game to stay solvent with."

• Maddon expects Wil Myers to be able to play tomorrow after leaving in the seventh innings with cramping in both legs.

"He should probably be fine by tomorrow,” Maddon said. “It's kind of a dehydration thing.”

• Rocco Baldelli, who has split allegiances having spent time with both the Rays and the Sox, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tomorrow.

• Evan Longoria celebrated his 28th birthday by going 1 for 5 with a game-tying home run in the fifth inning.

In postseason history, only one other player has homered on his birthday. That was the Royals' Willie Mays Aikens in Game 1 of the 1980 World Series against Philadelphia.

“Anytime you're playing in October and your birthday is in October it's a pretty good birthday in itself,” Longoria said. “Coming into the game I just ... I wanted to play good, solid team game overall and be able to come out on top. And just to be able to get ... to come through in that moment makes it all the more special.”

• Although he didn't pick up the win, Alex Cobb remained unbeaten at home this season. He was 7-0 in 13 regular-season starts.

• Fernando Rodney joined Dan Wheeler as the only Rays to blow a save in the postseason. He also recorded his first postseason win.

• This was the Rays first postseason win at the Trop since Game 2 of the 2008 World Series.

Final: Rays 5, Red Sox 4

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 7, 2013 05:29 PM

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Backs to the wall, as its been for nearly two weeks, the Tampa Bay Rays were able to stave off elimination for yet another day.

Jose Lobaton's walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth sealed the Rays 5-4 win.

After falling behind early, a game-tying three-run blast from Evan Longoria in the fifth inning gave the Rays signs of life for the first time since early in Game 1 of their American League Division Series with the Red Sox.

They were able to cut the Sox’s lead in the series to two games to one with Game 5 set for 8:37 on Tuesday.

Longoria celebrated his 28th birthday by going 3 for 4 with three RBIs and a runs scored.

They were able to squeeze out the a go-ahead run in the eighth inning when Delmon Young’s bases loaded ground ball to first allowed Sam Fuld to race home, but gave the lead right back in the bottom of the ninth.

They were saved by Lobaton, who delivered his first postseason walkoff home run, after delivering two in the regular season.

After pitching five innings in the Rays wild card win over the Indians, starting pitcher Alex Cobb was relentless over five more against the Sox, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits, with five strikeouts and two walks.

FULL ENTRY

Jake Peavy tells the (mostly true) story of the lucky cigar store Indian

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 7, 2013 05:23 PM

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The Red Sox are 25-12 since Jake Peavy purchased a cigar store Indian in San Francisco and placed it on a table in the clubhouse.

The statue has been with the Red Sox every day since, home and away. He has worn t-shirts, hats and been drenched in champagne.

Here's the tale from Peavy:

"We went through a rough stretch there where we lost two of three in Toronto. We had to go home for just a weekend series. Things got ugly there Sunday night and we ended up losing the series to the Yankees.

"We went out to San Francisco, and things were just kind of, it wasn't that same attitude and the travel had kind of worn us down. I was walking to the field on the day of my start and walked past a smoke shop, a tobacco/liquor store. And I'm Indian, my heritage is American Indian. And I walked by and saw just in the glass window this fellow looking at me. And I looked at him and he looked at me. And I just kept walking.

"I took a few more steps, and I kind of looked back and he was still looking at me. And he said, 'Am I not one of the boys? Look at me, I'm your people. I said, 'You know what, you are one of the boys.' I did a U‑turn and I went in and asked how much he cost. There was no price tag on him. I told the guy there was a price tag on everything in life.

"We did some negotiating, and I carried him on to the ballpark and brought him in. We had some guys banged up at the time. Came up with some elaborate story about how he had some healing spirit, so he started in the training room getting some guys right. And he made his first appearance that night in San Francisco and we ended up losing that game that I pitched.

"We had a serious team talk with him and told him if he didn't show up tomorrow with a little bit better attitude and show us his powers, then we were going to have to lose him on the plane ride to LA. But he showed up in a big way, Douby [Felix Doubront] pitched well that day, and we took him to L.A. He showed up for us there in L.A., we won that big series, he got on the flight back with us.

"Now he's got a couple of jerseys on. He helped Jacoby get back from his injury, because Jacoby has got some Indian in him. They had a good talk. He got Jacoby back for us. He's got a beard now, he grew out a beard to get on the same page as the rest of the guys. There he is, Chief. He's going to ride on my Duck Boat if we win the World Series."

(Photo via the Red Sox Instagram account).

Rays in familiar spot with backs to the wall

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 7, 2013 04:16 PM

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If it feels as though the Rays are perpetually stuck in life-or-death situations, it’s because they pretty much are.

It’s not just the past two weeks, when they needed to win 10 of 12, including a one-game tie-breaker and a one-game wild-card matchup, just to get to the American League Division Series.

It was 2011, when they were 10 games back in the AL East and 2.5 games back in the wild card, and managed to sneak into the postseason at the Red Sox’ expense.

It was also 2010, when they won the division but dropped the first two games of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers in their own ballpark and faced an elimination game on the road.

Rays manager Joe Maddon remembers just how tight the space was between the rock and the hard place back then, especially with the Rays dangling from a two-games-to-none cliff as prepare they face the Sox in Game 3 of the ALDS tonight.

Even though they went on to lose the series, the Rays managed to take both games in Texas and force a Game 5.

“I do remember going to Texas and I do remember standing on the top step of that dugout and really trying to demonstrate to the rest of the group that let's go, we're ready to play, we can do this, that kind of stuff,” said Maddon, who already said he’s looking forward to coming back to Boston for a decisive Game 5. “We played well and we got it back home.”

Since 1995, 22 teams have fallen behind, two games to none, in the ALDS. Only four have come back to win, and even though the Rays have very recent history to draw from when it comes to having to win three straight, that experience doesn’t make the challenge any easier.

“Listen, you're down two, you've won three games in a row in the past, we've done that before,” Maddon said. “We just came off of an incredibly difficult stretch. The difference is the team we're playing. This team we're playing is really good.

"I'm not saying the other ones aren't. But this team has played really well all season, and they've played well against us. We have to turn this boulder around pretty quickly.”

A few more notes ahead of Game 3:

• Maddon made a conscious decision to bat Wil Myers in the cleanup spot in an elimination game at home even though Myers went 0 for 9 in the first two games and became a punching bag for fans at Fenway after botching a fly ball in Game 1.

“I really think he’s a special kid and I think this is a perfect opportunity for him to really kind of turn things around for himself right now,” Maddon said. “He’s going to, over a period of time, there’s no question. Turning it around is the tough moment he just went through. This guy is going to be a high-end, very successful, sought-after major league baseball player for many years.”

• Matt Joyce got the nod at designated hitter over Delmon Young, who had been Maddon’s choice over the final six games of the regular season as well as the first three playoff games. Maddon preferred Joyce (2 for 22 against Clay Buchholz) to Young (1 for 9).

“I was looking at all that stuff,” Maddon said. “It’s a close call. I felt better with him versus [John] Lackey than I do Buchholz right now. The other part of that is to have Delmon on the bench if necessary in the latter part of the game.”

ALDS Game 3: Red Sox at Rays

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 7, 2013 03:10 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (2-0)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Nava LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: RHP Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 regular season).

RAYS (0-2)
DeJesus LF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Myers RF
Loney 1B
Jennings CF
Joyce DH
Escobar SS
Molina C
Pitching: RHP Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76 regular season).

Game time: 6:07 p.m.

TV/radio: TBS / WEEI, ESPN.

Red Sox vs. Cobb: Pedroia 5-18, Nava 4-14, Drew 3-12, Salty 2-10, Ellsbury 3-13, Victorino 4-11, Napoli 3-9, Ortiz 1-6, Middlebrooks 2-9, Carp 2-5, Berry 0-2, Ross 0-2.

Rays vs. Buchholz: Zobrist 4-36, Longoria 7-34, Joyce 6-22, Molina 7-22, Escobar 3-16, Jennings 4-17, DeJesus 4-11, Johnson 1-10, Rodriguez 3-10, Young 1-9, Loney 1-6, Fuld 1-4.

Stat of the Day: Ortiz has 49 RBIs in postseason play. The only lefthanded hitter with more is David Justice with 63.

Notes: The Sox have outscored the Rays, 19-6, in the first two games of the series and outhit them, 25-12 ... The Sox are 14-7 against the Rays this season, counting the postseason ... Buchholz is 7-5, 2.41 in 16 career starts against the Rays. He has a 2.26 ERA in nine career starts at Tropicana Field. Buchholz faced the Rays twice this season (including Sept. 10 at the Trop) and threw 13 scoreless innings, allowing only five hits while striking out 17. Buchholz is making his second career postseason start. He faced the Angels on Oct. 11, 2009, at Fenway and allowed two runs over five-plus innings. Buchholz left with a 5-2 lead in a game the Sox lost, 7-6 ... Cobb is 2-2, 4.19 in seven career starts against the Red Sox. In four starts this season, he has a 5.16 ERA. Cobb faced the Red Sox Sept. 11 at the Trop and allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks in 5.2 innings. Cobb started (and won) the AL wild-card game last Wednesday. He threw 6.2 scoreless innings. Cobb, a Boston native, turned 26 today ... The Sox are trying to reach the ALCS for the first time since 2008 ... Counting spring training, the teams will be meeting for the 28th time this season ... The Rays are 12 of 62 (.194) in the series ... In 21 games against the Sox this season, the Rays are 26 of 172 (.151) with runners in scoring position.

Song of the Day: "Good Times Roll" by the Cars.

Price and Ortiz smooth things over

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 6, 2013 08:50 PM

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After calling out Red Sox slugger David Ortiz for admiring one of his two home runs last night and then taking to Twitter to beef with a pair of TBS analysts, David Price had some fences to mend.

Upset with Oritz staring long and hard at the eighth-inning home run he hit in the Red Sox' 7-4 Game 2 win over the Rays, Price said, “He steps in the bucket and hits a homer, and he stares at it to see if it's fair or foul, I'm sure that's what he would say. But as soon as he hit it and I saw it I knew it was fair. Run.”

But after the Sox off-day workout at Tropicana Field on Sunday, Ortiz said the two had a chance to clear the air.

"It's over," Ortiz said. "We straightened things out. I have a lot of respect for David and he has the same for me. I'm not going to make a big deal out of this. I understand his frustration.

“He's a good pitcher. He's a guy that wants to see results every time we go out there. Sometimes things get out of hand. When you don't see those results, you feel sometimes frustrated about them. But everything's fine."

There was still the matter of the comments Price aimed via Twitter at TBS analysts Dirk Hayhurst, who pitched for two seasons with the Padres and Blue Jays, and Tom Verducci, a long-time baseball scribe for Sports Illustrated.

“Dirk Hayhurst...COULDNT hack it,” Price wrote. “Tom Verducci wasn't even a water boy in high school...but yet they can still bash a player...SAVE IT NERDS.”

Although he didn’t speak to media Sunday, in the end, Price tweeted an apology.

Rays manager Joe Maddon weighed in on both Ortiz’s home-run trot and Price’s social media purge.

“There's been times that teams have accused us of doing the same thing after a home run,” Maddon said. “I know pitchers can definitely be put off by that particular moment, and I've never been a Major League pitcher, so I don't know how that feels.

“From my perspective, I don't even look at that stuff. So I think it's more of a personal thing from the pitcher's perspective.”

Maddon said he tries not to police what his players do on social media.

“Whether it's a physical mistake, a mental mistake we make in the game or away from the game, hopefully we learn from these things,” Maddon said.

“So I think that one of my first thoughts was, next Spring Training when we have our media training, you're going to see this as a perfect example of what not to do.

“That was my first thought when I heard about all this. Again, in the real world, in the bigger picture, it really doesn't mean a whole lot. But I think that on a personal level the fact that he did something wrong, even more importantly that he corrected it, I think is even more important.”

Buchholz ready for return to postseason

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 6, 2013 08:24 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Clay Buchholz professed not to remember much about the last time he pitched in a playoff game for the Red Sox.

“It was against the Angels and we didn't end up winning,” he said. “That's about all I got.”

To fill in some of the gaps, it was Game 3 of a Division Series on Oct. 11, 2009 at Fenway Park. Buchholz went five innings and left with a 5-2 lead only to watch Billy Wagner and Jonathan Papelbon give up five runs.

The Sox were eliminated and did not return to the playoffs until this season. Buchholz, who was 25 at the time, has since gotten married, had two children and signed a long-term contract with the Sox.

Now, finally, he gets another chance at the postseason and this time it’s the Red Sox who are in a position to sweep. Buchholz starts against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night with the Red Sox up 2-0 in the best-of-five series.

The Red Sox waited until this morning to fly here. The team went directly to Tropicana Field and worked out for about 90 minutes.

Buchholz threw briefly in the bullpen and met with reporters to discuss what will be one of the biggest starts of his career and one he wasn’t sure he would be able to make a few months ago because of his lingering shoulder injury.

Buchholz is no ordinary Game 3 starter. He was 11-1 with a 1.71 ERA before the injury and made the All-Star team. Buchholz also is 7-5 with a 2.42 ERA in 16 career starts against the Rays. His ERA at Tropicana Field is 2.26 in nine starts.

The Red Sox lost the one playoff game Buchholz appeared in and their season ended. If they win Monday, they would advance to Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on Saturday against either the Tigers or Athletics. That series is 1-1 headed to Detroit for two games.

“This is what baseball is all about. Everybody wants to be in this position. If you don't you're in the wrong sport,” Buchholz said. “I'm excited, a little anxious to get it started.

“I'm going to just try to do the same thing as I've done all year when I've been out there: pitch in the zone, throw strikes, try to get your hitters in the dugout as quick as possible.”

Joe Maddon: See you for Game 5, Boston

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 5, 2013 11:50 PM

Say this for Rays manager Joe Maddon: He does not lack for confidence.

The Rays are down, 2-0, in the best-of-five Division Series against the Red Sox. But Maddon expects to win the next two games at Tropicana Field.

“I'm really looking forward to Game 5 here,” he said. “Boston this time of the year is kind of lovely, and I'm looking forward to coming back in a few days.”

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia smiled when that comment was relayed to him.

“That's what Joe should say. He's a great manager. He has those guys believing,” Pedroia said. “I'm not going to say anything bad about Joe. I respect the heck out of him and so does our whole team.”

Said David Ortiz: “He’s got a right to say it. He’s a good manager.”

Maddon also talked about the Rays getting "out-Fenwayed" by some of the quirky hits in the game by the Red Sox.

Before you doubt Maddon, he predicted on Sept. 12 that the Rays would face the Sox in the playoffs.

"It's going to be tough to put them away. They've been through that before this year," Pedroia said. "We know that. So we're looking forward to playing Game 3."

Also:

• Rays rookie Wil Myers is 0 for 9 in the series and made a defensive mistake that turned Game 1 Boston's way. The crowd at Fenway was razzing him all night, chanting his name. In the fifth inning, when Myers caught a routine fly ball, he got a standing ovation.

Myers didn't react beyond smiling.

"I think he handled [Friday] extremely well. Couldn't have been handle any better than he did," Maddon said. "And I'm really proud of him for the way he did handle that moment. I was just hoping that he had bowed and tipped his hat when he caught that fly ball. I was really hoping that he would have. But he did not.

"So he's a young man. He's a future All-Star. He's going to put up huge numbers in the future. When you go through a tough moment like this, you don't abandon people; you try to support them."

For Big Papi, a new postseason experience

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 5, 2013 11:39 PM

David Ortiz has hit 14 home runs in the postseason. Odds are pretty high that you have a DVD sitting in a cabinet somewhere with a few of them.

But until Saturday night he had never hit two in the same postseason game. Big Papi's two solo homers helped the Red Sox to a 7-4 victory against the Rays in Game of the Division Series.

Ortiz had a solo home run into the Red Sox bullpen in the first inning, reliever Franklin Morales deftly catching the ball and flipping into the crowd. Ortiz ended the scoring with a blast just inside the right field foul pole in the eighth inning that had the sellout crowd of 38,705 shaking Fenway Park.

Both came off Tampa Bay starter David Price, a tough lefthander who had faced Ortiz 42 times previously without giving up a home run.

"As long as we win, it means a lot. It’s not happening every day, but when it happens, especially on these occasions, it’s good,” Ortiz said.

See the Globe on Sunday for lots more on Ortiz.

Also:

• Red Sox starter John Lackey came off the mound in the sixth inning to a big ovation from the crowd at Fenway Park despite having allowed four runs on seven hits.

“It definitely wasn't the best stuff or the best I felt this year. It was probably pretty far down there, actually,” Lackey said. “But we got through it.”

Lackey improved to 4-4 in 15 career postseason games. This was his first for the Red Sox.

“It was awesome. The atmosphere out there was unbelievable. The people were going crazy,” he said.

• Through two games in the series, Jacoby Ellsbury is 5 for 9 with three runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases. He has sparked a Red Sox offense that had scored 19 runs in 16 innings. The three runs Ellsbury scored Saturday were his most in 24 career postseason games.

“When he gets on, whether it's a bloop single, line‑drive single, he's always a threat to steal a base,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Obviously that was the case in the first inning. We're a much more diverse offense, not only when he's in the lineup, but certainly when he gets on base.”

• Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara combined on a scoreless 3 2/3 innings. Breslow left two runners stranded in the sixth inning. Tampa Bay, down by two runs, grounded into double plays started by Dustin Pedroia and turned by Stephen Drew, to end the seventh and eighth innings.

When Uehara got the final out for his first career postseason save, Ortiz came out of the dugout and lifted him up.

David Price says Ortiz was slow out of the box

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 5, 2013 10:57 PM

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As soon the ball hopped off of David Ortiz's bat, David Price figured it wasn't coming back.

There was no question to Price whether it was going to going to drift foul either.

It was a homer, the second one he would allow to Ortiz Saturday night.

He just wanted Ortiz to hurry up and take his victory lap.

"He knows how I've pitched him for the last probably year-and-a-half, two years," Price said. "So he steps in the bucket and hits a homer. And he stares at it to see if it's fair or foul, I'm sure that's what he would say, but as soon as he hit it and I saw it I knew it was fair. Run."

Price suffered through the worst postseason start of his career, giving up nine hits (six for extra bases), two homers and every run in the Rays 7-4 loss to the Red Sox in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

Knowing how confident the Rays were with having Price on the mound after an ugly Game 1 loss, Price said he was disappointed to let his team slip into a two-games-to-none hole.

"I don't know what my stat line is, but I know I gave up quite a few earned runs," he said. "It stings especially in a time in the postseason whenever you want to go out there and pitch your best. You're as good as your last game and tonight I wasn't very good."

Final: Red Sox 7, Rays 4

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 5, 2013 05:23 PM

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The Rays came into Game 2 of the ALDS with absolute confidence that David Price could restore order following an ugly Game 1 loss. Watching him suffer through the worst postseason start of his career, it's hard to tell how much of that confidence is still left.

The Red Sox rocked Price for nine hits, two home runs and every last run in their 7-4 win to take a two-games-to-none lead over the Rays as the series swings to Tampa.

Both of the homers came off the bat of David Ortiz, who went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. John Lackey went 5.1 strong innings for the Sox, giving up four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. Koji Uehara came on in the ninth to shut the door.

FULL ENTRY

Uehara could get an extended outing today

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 5, 2013 02:46 PM

Outside of an inning in Wednesday's scrimmage, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara hasn't pitched in a game since last Sunday in Baltimore. So if the Red Sox get an opportunity to use Uehara in the eighth inning today, they'll almost certainly take it according to manager John Farrell.

Also:

• Farrell indicated the Red Sox could play some small ball early in the game. Given how hard it is to score runs against David Price, a runner on base will be something they'll try to exploit. Of course, it'll depend on who is up, too.

• Brandon Workman may be a rookie with no playoff experience. But Farrell made it clear that he'll go to him if he needs a strikeout,

• It was an easy decision for Farrell to start David Ross today. He is 2 for 5 with two home runs against Price (one coming in April) and worked well with John Lackey in two starts this season, including the AL East clincher.

"We want to keep him in the mix. He's important to us," Farrell said of Ross. "And these are the situations why we signed him — against a left-handed starter, a good one, and taking advantage of David's abilities."

Ross's strong arm also could keep the Rays running on Lackey, who is slow to the plate and has been easy to steal bases on this season.

• Farrell said he noticed more "crispness" to Ryan Dempster's stuff in his relief outing on Friday. The Sox believe that his fastball is playing up a little bit in shorter stints. That's not uncommon for starters who move to the bullpen.

ALDS Game 2: Rays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 5, 2013 02:05 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (1-0)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Middlebrooks 3B
Drew SS
Ross C
Pitching: RHP John Lackey (10-13, 3.52).

RAYS (0-1)
DeJesus LF
Myers RF
Loney 1B
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Jennings CF
Young DH
Escobar SS
Molina C
Pitching: LHP David Price (10-8, 3.33).

Game time: 5:37 p.m.

TV/Radio: TBS / WEEI, ESPN.

Red Sox vs. Price: Pedroia 12-45, Ortiz 8-37, Ellsbury 7-34, Napoli 9-30, Nava 2-20, Victorino 4-20, Gomes 4-20, Gomes 4-20, Salty 1-14, Middlebrooks 5-13, Drew 0-10, Ross 2-5, Berry 0-2.

Rays vs. Lackey: Longoria 10-31, Zobrist 11-27, DeJesus 6-24. Joyce 6-18, Escobar 8-15, Young 6-17, Loney 4-16, Johnson 3-15, Molina 2-13, Jennings 1-11, Rodriguez 2-5, Fuld 0-3, Lobaton 1-3.

Stat of the Day: In 20 games against the Red Sox this season, the Rays are 24 of 164 (.146) with runners in scoring position. Tampa Bay has averaged 2.95 runs against the Sox.

Notes: The Sox have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Game 3 is at Tampa Bay on Monday. ... Lackey is 12-7, 4.39 in 21 career starts against the Rays, 3-5, 6.70 (with a 1.92 WHIP) in nine starts against the Rays while a member of the Red Sox. In two starts this season, Lackey allowed nine runs on 19 hits over 10 innings. Lackey is 3-4, 3.12 in 14 career playoff appearances. ... Price is 10-6, 2.93 in 20 career starts against the Sox, 6-1, 1.88 in 10 starts at Fenway. Price faced the Sox three times in relief in the 2008 ALCS and didn't allow a run. Price went nine innings to beat Texas in the wild card tiebreaker game on Monday. ... The Sox are 54-28 at Fenway this season. ... Zobrist has a nine-game postseason hit streak for the Rays. ... Victorino is 9 for 9 in postseason stolen bases.

Song of the Day: "Whatever It Takes" by Tom Morello.

For Jonny Gomes, playoff win a long time coming

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 09:43 PM

Jonny Gomes has helped several teams get into the playoffs. But he was 0 for 7 in three career postseason games. Gomes has accomplished plenty in his career, but he very badly wants to contribute to a team in the playoffs.

That made Friday a special one for him. He had a two-run double and scored two runs in a 12-2 victory against the Rays. Gomes scored from second on an infield single by Stephen Drew in the fourth inning, and from first on a double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fifth. On both occasions, his hustle made a difference.

“That hustle is definitely erased if Stephen Drew doesn’t hustle to first,” Gomes said. “So it’s double hustle.”

Third base coach Brian Butterfield wasn't surprised that Gomes went 180 feet on an infield hit. Gomes looks for those opportunities.

"Base running is a tough sell sometimes," Butterfield said. "I think that when you have veteran guys who carry the torch correctly, it's a lot easier for everybody. All year long, it's a means to an end. You look at when guys get thrown out. It may make that outfielder lift his head up a little earlier because he knows we're going to be aggressive."

A few other notes or observations from Game 1:

• All nine Red Sox starters had at least one hit and scored at least one run. It was only the third time in postseason history that happened. The Yankees did it in 1936 and the Cardinals in 1934.

• Jon Lester has a 2.35 ERA in seven career postseason starts. He showed his maturity in the second inning. After umpire Chris Guccione missed a 2-2 pitch that sure looked like a strike, Lester allowed a home run by Sean Rodriguez. After the inning, he spoke to Guccione and didn't get too emotional.

Lester went on to allow one more run.

"I think being involved in playoff games at a young age you learn through experience how to handle these situations," Lester said. "A perfect example is today. I knew two runs wasn't going to beat us."

• David Ortiz has played in 58 postseason games, five shy of matching the team record set by Jason Varitek.

• Shane Victorino on the mistake by Tampa Bay right fielder Wil Myers: "I don't feel bad for him, brother. One hundred percent, I've been in that situation before as a young player. This kid he is going to be a good player. Actually, he's going to be a great player.

"For me, if you're really looking and you're pulling away because you see the center fielder out of the corner of your eye, you're not in a good position, I mean as a fellow outfielder. If I pull away because I hear him, that's a different story."

• The Sox snapped a four-game losing streak in the postseason dating to 2008.

• Saltalamacchia, Will Middlebrooks and Junichi Tazawa all got in their first postseason game.

How about Middlebrooks? Banished to Pawtucket for two months, he started a playoff game and was 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. He also made a nice defensive play in the second inning.

• David Price, Tampa Bay's Game 2 starter, has a career 2.93 ERA in 20 starts against the Sox, 1.88 in 10 starts at Fenway. In three relief appearances against the Sox in the 2008 ALCS, he threw 2 1/3 shutout innings.

Price threw nine innings and 118 pitches against Texas on Monday. That probably won't be an issue, however. He has gone nine innings five times this season, including against the Sox at Fenway on July 24 in a game the Rays won, 5-1.

• Saw a fan with a sign that said, "Red Sox magic number is now 10."

Myers tries to put fly ball behind him

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 09:42 PM

Out of the corner of his eye, Wil Myers said, he could see Desmond Jennings parachuting in from center field.

But Myers was already tracking the ball, shades down, glove in the air, hand out to call Jennings off.

“I ran back for the ball and waved Desmond off,” Myers said. “I should have taken control of the situation.”

How he lost track of David Ortiz’s deep fly ball and let it drop in for a ground-rule double was hard for the 22 year-old rookie outfielder to explain, but it was the breaking point the Rays 12-2 Game 1 ALDS loss to the Red Sox and the low-point in an ugly five-run fourth innings that sent the game spiraling out of their control.

“I feel it changed the demeanor of the game,” said Myers.

The immediate question was whether he heard someone — Jennings, a fan, someone in the Red Sox bullpen — call him off. But he didn’t.

“I didn't hear anything from their bullpen,” he said. “I didn't hear anything but the crowd yelling. It was my fault. I was calling for the ball. I messed it up. I should have made the play.”

Neither did Jennings.

“The whole crowd thought David Ortiz hit a home run,” Jennings said. “Everybody's yelling. It's not really much you can hear anyway. I didn't hear anything.”

From that point on though, he heard the crowd stretch his name out into a sing-songy taunt, “Myyyyers, Myyyers.”

“My teammates were behind me,” Myers said. “They told me to shake it off.”

But along with the botched fly ball, Myers was left to sulk in an 0 for 4 day.

“I couldn't tell if that was getting to him,” said Rays starter Matt Moore. “He didn't let any of us know.”

The play was a microcosm of a wholly uncharacteristic day for a Rays team that finished the regular season with the second-fewest errors in the American League.

“We didn't play our best game tonight,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We've been playing very well. We've not been making any mistakes. We made a bunch tonight. mistakes will kill you. We're normally not the team that makes those kind of mistakes. We did tonight.”

Myers said he would try to put it behind him.

“I’ve just got to brush it off,” Myers said. “You can't let that effect you.”

Final: Red Sox 12, Rays 2

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 03:02 PM

Game over: Red Sox 12, Rays 2: The Red Sox rallied from an early deficit to beat the Rays, 12-2, before a sellout crowd of 38,177 at Fenway Park.

Jon Lester pitched into the eighth inning and every Red Sox starter had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in three runs and Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino two each.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series will be Saturday at 5:37 p.m. at Fenway. The Red Sox will pitch John Lackey against David Price.

It was the first playoff victory for the Red Sox since Oct. 11, 2008. Ryan Dempster pitched the final inning.

Top of the 9th: Red Sox 12, Rays 2: Jamey Wright, in his playoff debut, allowed four runs on four hits. Victorino (single), Napoli (walk) and Salty (single) drove in runs. What a beating.

Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2: Lester walked two and left the game with two outs in the eighth. He threw 114 pitches, 71 for strikes. Tazawa got Myers to fly out to end the inning.

Lester got a pat on the chest from Farrell and walked off to a standing ovation. He tipped his cap to the crowd. His line: 7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 2 HR.

Top of the 8th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2: Alex Torres, Tampa Bay's third reliever, retired the Sox in order.

Top of the 7th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2: The Red Sox, worn out from running the bases, went down in order. Lester back to the mound.

Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2: Lester has retired eight in a row and has thrown only 80 pitches through six innings.

Top of the 6th: Red Sox 8, Rays 2: It's a butt-kicking at Fenway.

Napoli doubled with one out after belting a ball to left. He should have been out but the throw from Rodriguez was off line. Gomes was then intentionally walked. Salty got up in the count and doubled off the wall. The Rays were slow to react again and Gomes scored from first.

That was it for Moore (4.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Wesley Wright came in and struck out Drew. Middlebrooks was intentionally walked. Ellsbury singled off the glove of Wright and Salty scored.

Chris Archer was next out of the bullpen and he allowed by a single by Victorino before Pedroia struck out.

The Sox have sent 19 men to the plate in the last two innings and have scored eight runs on 10 hits.

Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 5, Rays 2: Quick, 11-pitch inning for Lester. Just what he wanted after that big inning. Keeps the momentum with the Sox and helps tire out Moore.

Top of the 5th: Red Sox 5, Rays 2: What a strange inning. But a great one for the Red Sox.

Pedroia singled up the middle. Ortiz then hit a routine fly ball to right that fell between Myers and Jennings and popped into the bullpen for a ground-rule double. It appeared Myers just stopped.

Napoli popped to second but Gomes doubled off the wall to tie the game. It was his first postseason hit.

Saltry struck out for the second out. Then the inning got really weird.

Drew grounded to first base and beat the feed from Loney to Moore. Gomes, one of the smartest base-runners in the game, came all the way around from second and the Sox led, 3-2.

Middlebrooks was next and he knocked a ball off the wall then caromed past Rodriguez. Drew scored and Middlebrooks went to second.

Ellsbury struck out but was safe on a passed ball and Middlebrooks went to third. Victorino then singled and drove in a run. Pedroia grounded out to end a 34-pitch inning for Moore.

Until the inning, Moore was working on a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings against the Sox dating back to May 14.

Middle of the 4th: Rays 2, Red Sox 0: Zobrist drilled 3-and-1 two-seam fastball into the seats in left, just inside the pole. The pitch was up and out over the plate.

Longoria walked with one out before Young singled to left. But Lester worked out of trouble from there. Red Sox in an early hole.

Top of the 4th: Rays 1, Red Sox 0: The Sox go in order for the first time. Middlebrooks flew to right, Ellsbury grounded out first with Loney making a nice play and Victorino struck out. Moore has thrown 52 pitches.

Middle of the 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Lester retired the side in order. He is at 44 pitches through three innings. Just one mistake and it was costly.

Top of the 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Moore has thrown 41 pitches and not allowed a hit. Napoli struck out before Gomes lined to left and Rodriguez made a diving catch. Salty walked and took second on a wild pitch. But Drew grounded sharply to short, the ball skipping off the mound.

Middle of the 2nd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0: Lester struck out Longoria and got Young on a soft liner to second. His 2-2 pitch to Rodriguez was a changeup that caught the bottom of the strike zone according to Pitch f/x. But umpire Chris Guccione called it a ball.

Lester then threw a middle-middle 95-mph fastball that Rodriguez drilled into the Monster Seats.

Escobar grounded out to third with Middlebrooks making a nice diving stop.

Lester paused on the first base line to have a conversation with Guccione. That missed pitch cost him. But Lester also had to make a better 3-2 pitch.

Top of the 2nd: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Victorino was hit by a pitch. But Moore got Pedroia to fly to center and Ortiz to ground to third. He did throw 21 pitches, however, and never showed a fastball better than 92.

Middle of the 1st: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Lester struck out the side, all swinging, on 14 pitches. Ten of them were strikes. He had his fastball 95-97 and his cutter was a hacksaw. Devastating stuff aided a little by the afternoon shadows.

Late-arriving crowd, no doubt because of the traffic and parking woes.

Pre-game: Good afternoon everybody from now sunny Fenway Park and Game 1 of the Division Series. We'll have updates here all game, so hang out while you're at work or school and feel free to leave your comments.

It'll be Jon Lester against Matt Moore.

Red Sox honor Marathon victims and heroes before Game 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 03:00 PM

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The Red Sox paid tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings before the game today in a touching ceremony.

After the teams were introduced and lined up on the baselines, there was a moment of silence. The families of the late Krystle Campbell and Sean Collier were then introduced and walked to the outfield beyond second base.

A group of Marathon runners and volunteers were next, clad in their yellow BAA jackets. Then came a group of people who had been injured and some of those who bravely helped them amid the chaos that day. That group was led by Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat, and former Patriots player Joe Andruzzi.

A group of medical professionals, many in scrubs, were next out of the center-field gate as the crowd cheered.

Then came the biggest cheers as Boston Police Department commissioner Ed Davis led a long blue line of officers out onto the field.

Michelle Brooks Thompson performed the national anthem. Mayor Thomas M. Menino threw out the first pitch from the box seats near the Red Sox dugout.

Arredondo and Andruzzi announced "Play ball" and the game got under way, with Jon Lester throwing a fastball for a strike.

David Price takes a ride on the Hubway

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 01:39 PM

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Considering that he has seen his pitcher throw a bullpen session in a Vanderbilt football uniform -- helmet included -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wasn’t shocked at all that star lefty David Price decided to hop on one of Boston’s Hubway bikes Thursday and go for a ride from the Rays' workout at Fenway back to the team hotel.

“It doesn't surprise me, anything that he does,” said Maddon, who has been known to ride his bike to home games. “Riding the bike's normally my thing, but that doesn't surprise me, anything that David does. I love his ways. He's a young man that's -- he's Peter Pan. He's going to be that way forever and I love that about him.

“I wish more of our guys could be that way. Anything David does, understand, should not surprise you, and if you're around him more, it would not surprise you.”

Price had been thinking about it since the Rays came to Boston in July, when he saw the Hubway bicycles in front of the Boston Public Library on the way back from dinner with teammate Chris Archer.

“I said, ‘I can't believe I just now saw this for the first time,' ” Price said. “I would've been riding bikes throughout the city, or at least to the field, if I knew that.”

Since that was the Rays' last regular-season run through Fenway, he figured he’d have to put off his pedaling until next season.

But with the Rays back in town for the American League Division Series, he jumped at the second chance.

BVrf6OeIAAIMxxM.jpg

Price picked out a bike from the rack on Yawkey and tweeted, “I’m doin it!!!! these can drivers better stay in their own lane!!! #sharetheroad”

For the most part, the ride went off without a hitch.

“Only one curb,” Price said. “No cars.”

Facing the Sox, he said, won’t be so smooth.

“You know what they're capable of doing,” said Price, who will start Game 2 Saturday. “Every single year, year in, year out, they are, they're going to be a postseason team, and you know you're going to have to come with your best.

“If you come with your B game, B-plus game, you have a pretty good chance to lose. So it heightens your awareness. You start feeling butterflies probably a day earlier than what you normally would. Pitching in this ballpark, pitching against that team, it makes you want it just a little bit more.”

FULL ENTRY

Farrell explains why Doubront made roster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 12:40 PM

Felix Doubront was ultimately selected to the playoff roster to give the Red Sox the most flexibility, manager John Farrell explained.

"We looked at the Felix as [having] the ability to give us multiple innings," said Farrell. "If we were to get into a situation where it's a lengthy rain delay and we need multiple innings to start back up. It was more the ability to go multiple innings and a guy who has had a very good year for us."

Doubront had expressed reservations about pitching in relief. But a series of meetings, the last one coming Tuesday, cured him of that.

"That sit-down with him was critical in terms of the accepting of the role and understanding there was going to be a need for a change in routine," Farrell said. "What needed to be further clarified is that he can pitch anywhere from one hitter to four innings and to remain open-ended and open-minded and just go pitch to the best of your abilities until we take the ball out of your hand."

Having Doubront around also enables the Red Sox to use Ryan Dempster in any role and not just long relief.

"When we made the move with [Dempster] to the bullpen, we didn't see him as just a long guy," Farrell said. "The ability to come in and get a righthander, he's also been very good against lefties. His veteran presence. It creates more flexibility with his usage."

Doubront hasn't started a game since Sept. 22. But Farrell said he is capable of going 75 pitches.

Matt Thornton, a July trade acquisition, did not have the impact that was expected. He pitched in only 20 games, seven in high-leverage situations.

Also:

• Thornton, Ryan Lavarnway, and John McDonald are not on the roster but are staying with the team and can be in uniform. The same is true for injured pitchers Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller.

• The Red Sox see Franklin Morales as their situational lefty. They'd be willing to use him against a lefty hitter with men on base.

• Farrell said the four-day break for the Red Sox has helped Shane Victorino's sore hand and thumb "calm down a little bit." The pain has gone. Jacoby Ellsbury has benefitted, too.

"Two very critical guys in our lineup and for sure defensively," said Farrell. "To have them out there and available at 100 percent, that's two critical guys."

• Farrell arrived at 7:45 a.m. for the 3:07 p.m. game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was already in the clubhouse. First playoff game as a manager for Farrell and first as a player for Salty.

• RHP Jeremy Hellickson, not Chris Archer, is lined up as Game 4 starter for Rays.

• Bruins coach Claude Julien sent Farrell a text message wishing him well.

• Some passing rain canceled batting practice on the field. But the game is not expected to be affected. Farrell joked that all the preparation the Sox did for the shadows went for naught.

• There's a wall in the manager's office at Fenway Park that has framed photographs of all the managers in team history. It was something Bobby Valentine started, and Farrell kept the photos up there.

A prankster swapped out the photo of Terry Francona and replaced it with clubhouse attendant Pookie Jackson.

"I walked in one day and there it was," Farrell said. "I almost jumped out of my seat."

ALDS Game 1: Rays at Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 11:25 AM

Good morning. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (0-0)
Ellsbury CF
Victorino RF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Napoli 1B
Gomes LF
Saltalamacchia C
Drew SS
Middlebrooks 3B
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75).

RAYS (0-0)
Jennings CF
Zobrist 2B
Myers RF
Longoria 3B
Young DH
Rodriguez LF
Escobar SS
Loney 1B
Lobaton C
Pitching: LHP Matt Moore (17-4, 3.29).

Game time: 3:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: TBS / WEEI, ESPN.

Red Sox vs. Moore: Pedroia 2-14, Ortiz 6-13, Gomes 2-12, Napoli 1-9, Ellsbury 0-6, Victorino 0-7, Drew 2-5, Middlebrooks 0-5, Nava 0-3, Salty 0-1.

Rays vs. Lester: Longoria 13-55, Zobrist 9-48, Escobar 9-35, Young 6-31, Rodriguez 5-24, Molina 9-22, Jennings 9-23,

Stat of the Day: This is the first playoff game for the Red Sox since Oct. 11, 2009. Since the Sox last qualified, 15 other teams have been in the postseason.

Notes: The Sox were 12-7 against the Rays, 6-4 at home. ... The Sox have lost have lost four straight playoff games going back to Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS against Tampa Bay. ... Lester is 2-3, 2.57 in eight playoff games, six of them starts. He was 2-1, 4.32 in four starts against the Rays this season. ... Moore is 2-2, 3.86 in five career appearances against the Sox. That included a shutout on July 22 at Fenway when he allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four. Moore is making his second postseason start. He pitched in two games for the Rays in 2011 as a rookie. ... The Sox were 53-28 at home this season. ... Tampa Bay is making its fifth trip to Boston this season. The Rays had to return for a one-game makeup along with their three usual trips in the regular season. ... The Rays are 12-14 in the postseason all-time. ... Tampa Bay was 24 of 158 (.152) with runners in scoring position against the Sox this season. ... Ortiz has the most runs (39), hits (61), doubles (15), home runs (12), RBIs (43) and walks (41) in Red Sox postseason history. ... The Sox averaged 6.5 runs in a 16-9 September. ... Counting the wild card game, the Rays have won 10 of 12.

Song of the Day: "Land of Hope and Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Rays set playoff roster for ALDS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 11:05 AM

Here is Tampa Bay's Division Series roster:

PITCHERS (11)
22 Chris Archer RHP
53 Alex Cobb RHP
58 Jeremy Hellickson RHP
57 Jake McGee LHP
55 Matt Moore LHP
62 Joel Peralta RHP
14 David Price LHP
56 Fernando Rodney RHP
54 Alex Torres LHP
35 Jamey Wright RHP
49 Wesley Wright LHP

CATCHERS (2)
59 Jose Lobaton
28 Jose Molina

INFIELDERS (4)
11 Yunel Escobar
21 James Loney
3 Evan Longoria
18 Ben Zobrist

OUTFIELDERS (7)
7 David DeJesus,
5 Sam Fuld
8 Desmond Jennings
2 Kelly Johnson
20 Matt Joyce
9 Wil Myers
1 Sean Rodriguez, Sean

DESIGNATED HITTER (1)
15 Delmon Young

Red Sox set roster for ALDS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 10:50 AM

Here is the Red Sox playoff roster:

PITCHERS (11)
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Ryan Dempster
LHP Felix Doubront
RHP John Lackey
LHP Jon Lester
LHP Franklin Morales
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Junichi Tazawa
RHP Koji Uehara
RHP Brandon Workman

CATCHERS (2)
David Ross
Jarrod Saltalamacchia

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

OUTFIELDERS (6)
CF Quintin Berry
LF-1B Mike Carp
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Jonny Gomes
LF-RF-1B Daniel Nava
RF-CF Shane Victorino

DH (1)
David Ortiz

What a difference a year makes

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 10:38 AM

It was one year ago today — at 12:46 p.m. — that the Red Sox announced Bobby Valentine had been fired. It came 14 hours after the final game of the season.

On this day a year ago, reporters and television trucks were lined up on Van Ness Street and Yawkey Way waiting for the news.

The television trucks are back, but this time reporters are allowed into the park and are setting up to cover Game 1 of the American League Division Series. The Red Sox went from last place and 69-93 to first place at 97-65.

It's easy to blame Valentine and he deserves plenty of the blame, too. But only 13 players who saw significant time last season are on the 2013 roster. The Red Sox also fired their coaching staff and replaced them with a group that was significantly harder working.

The Red Sox last season had 1,495 games lost due to injuries. This season? 944 games.

The 2012 season is best consigned to the dustbin of Red Sox history. But there's no escaping how different everything is exactly one year later.

Plenty of playoff experience for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 08:45 AM

Here's a look at the playoff experience of the Red Sox:

66 games: David Ortiz. He's a .283 hitter in the postseason with 12 homers and 47 RBIs. His 57 postseason games for the Red Sox are second only to Jason Varitek's team-record 63.

46 games: Shane Victorino. The Flyin' Hawaiian played plenty of October games for the Phillies. He's a .269 hitter in the postseason with six homers and 30 RBIs.

32 games: Mike Napoli. He has been to the postseason six times in eight seasons and hit .272.

28 games: Dustin Pedroia. He has hit a modest .252 in the postseason and is 5 of his last 27.

22 games: Jacoby Ellsbury: Since bursting onto the scene in 2007, he has hit .261 in the postseason. Seeking his first home run.

14 games: John Lackey. The righthander was a regular visitor to the postseason with the Angels, going 3-4 with a 3.12 ERA,

12 games: Stephen Drew. He has hit .320 in the postseason with an .898 OPS.

11 games: Quintin Berry: He played a lot for Detroit last season, but was 5 for 26.

8 games: Jon Lester and Franklin Morales. Lester is 2-3, 2.57 in six starts and two relief spots. Who knew Morales had so much experience? The lefty actually had two starts and six relief appearances for the Rockies.

6 games: David Ross. The reliable catcher is 3 for 7 with a homer in the playoffs.

4 games: Koji Uehara. He went 2.1 innings and allowed five earned runs for Texas.

3 games: Jonny Gomes. He has helped teams get to the postseason but has played only three games and is 0 for 7.

2 games: Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy. Dempster had one start and one relief appearance back when the Cubs made the playoffs in 2007 and '08. Peavy was 0-2, 12.10 in two starts for the Padres.

1 game: Clay Buchholz. He had a five-inning start in 2009 against the Angels.

0 games: Xander Bogaerts, Craig Breslow, Mike Carp, Felix Doubront, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Junichi Tazawa, Brandon Workman

Pitching matchups for the Division Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 4, 2013 12:17 AM
RAYS VS. RED SOX

Game 1 at Fenway Park on Friday: LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75) vs. LHP Matt Moore (17-4, 3.29), 3:07 p.m., TBS.

Game 2 at Fenway Park Saturday: RHP John Lackey (10-13, 3.52) vs. LHP David Price (10-8, 3.33), 5:37 p.m., TBS

Game 3 at Tropicana Field Monday: RHP Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) vs. TBA, time TBA, TBS.

Game 4 at Tropicana Field Tuesday (if necessary): RHP Jake Peavy (4-1, 4.04) vs. TBA, time TBA, TBS.

Game 5: at Fenway Park on Thursday (if necessary) TBA vs. TBA, time TBA, TBS.

Maddon's prediction proved correct

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 3, 2013 06:26 PM

The Red Sox took two of three games from the Tampa Bay Rays in mid-September, a series that essentially ended the American League East race.

The Rays would have to make the postseason through a crowd of teams seeking a wild-card berth. But manager Joe Maddon predicted his team would face the Red Sox again.

“We’re really looking forward to playing them in the playoffs,” he said at the time.

Maddon arrived at Fenway Park on Thursday, the latest stop on a wild journey that landed the Rays in the American Division Series against the Sox. The Rays survived, just as he said they would.

“I felt pretty confident and strongly about that because I thought we could right ourselves, and we did,” Maddon said. “Had to do it against some pretty difficult moments.”

The Rays ended the regular season with a six-game road trip to New York and Toronto. They won four of those games then flew to Texas to play a wild-card tiebreaker game on Monday.

After beating the Rangers, 5-2, the Rays continued on to Cleveland and won the wild-card playoff game, 4-0, on Wednesday. Now they’re in Boston. In all, Tampa Bay has won 10 of its last 12 games.

A few notes:

• Third baseman Evan Longoria has played every inning of all 26 postseason games in Tampa Bay history.

• NESN broadcaster Jerry Remy, who has been away from the Red Sox since August following the arrest of his son for murder, posted a message on Twitter. “I hope [Friday] begins a great postseason for the Red Sox,” Remy wrote. “They’re a bunch of real good guys. I’ll be pulling for them the whole way.”

Kantor taking it to the streets tomorrow

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 3, 2013 04:31 PM

If you're going to Game 1 on Friday, here's something fun to do before the game.

Red Sox organist Josh Kantor will perform some of his Fenway favorites at the street piano located at the Boston Arts Academy on 174 Ipswich Street from 12:25 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.

The piano is one of 75 pianos installed in public places by the Celebrity Series of Boston to commemorate their 75th anniversary season. Each piano bears the simple instruction, “Play Me, I’m Yours” and is available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. It's a project going on across the world.

Josh is great, too. He has played at Fenway Park since 2003 and played organ, piano, and accordion in indie-rock bands the such as the Baseball Project.

Go listen to Josh, grab some lunch in the area and go to the game. Now that's a good day.

Doubront will be on ALDS roster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 3, 2013 02:51 PM

The teams do not have to submit their rosters until tomorrow and the Red Sox won't officially reveal their 25 men until then.

But lefty Felix Doubront nodded when asked if he would be on the roster. The Sox, sources said, will send OF Jackie Bradley Jr., LHP Drake Britton, RHP Rubby De La Rosa and INF Brandon Snyder to the team complex in Florida to keep working out.

Also:

• The Rays arrived in Boston around 5 a.m. today and will not have a formal workout at Fenway Park. Joe Maddon and Matt Moore will meet with the media in a few minutes.

• Red Sox owner John Henry told WEEI his preference would have been to play Cleveland. Given the talent on the respective rosters, there's not much surprise about that.

• The Red Sox are now favored to win the World Series according to Bovada. They're 15/4 and the Dodgers are 9/2.

• The Red Sox have been taking a lot of batting practice in recent days, so David Ortiz decided to have some fun. He grabbed an aluminum bat and tried to launch a ball at the red seat in right field, the spot once reached by Ted Williams. Big Papi put on a show but fell short. “I didn’t work out,” he said. “I almost broke my back.”

Lester 'surprised' at joy around Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 3, 2013 02:21 PM

lesterfoto.jpg

Jon Lester, the Game 1 starter for the Red Sox, had some interesting comments when asked about the atmosphere around the team this season.

"This team it's a complete opposite of anything I've been around. From the moment you walk in, guys were laughing, cutting up. Nobody is safe in the clubhouse as far as getting yelled at. It doesn't matter if you're 16 years in or if you've got one day," he said.

"Everybody is having fun. And then when the time comes for 7 o'clock to roll around guys go out there and they do what they need to do and they're prepared and they play hard. And the guys that are on the bench are keeping those guys loose and having fun doing it.

It's been a joy to be around.

"I never thought, just being around this market for a couple of years, you could actually do that here and it's a pleasant surprise. And hopefully we can continue to carry it over for the remaining time that I'm here. The other guys are here and really just have fun playing the game."

Lester has always been a serious, no-nonsense personality. But the idea that he wasn't enjoying the clubhouse in Boston is something new. Last season, obviously, was a grind for all the players. But the Red Sox certainly seemed to be pleasant enough from 2007-11.

Looking at the Rays and the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 3, 2013 02:15 PM

A breakdown of the Red Sox against the Rays:

STARTING PITCHERS
Red Sox: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy.

Rays: David Price, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Chris Archer.

Edge: Rays. The Red Sox have experience, the Rays youth. Price had a 2.48 ERA in five starts against the Red Sox, better than Lester's 4.32 in four starts against the Rays. That was skewed by one bad start, however. Moore had a shutout against the Sox on July 22. Lackey was better in the first half than the second but is strong at Fenway. Buchholz's start in Game 3 could be the difference. If the teams split the first two games, the Sox will need Buchholz to pitch like the All-Star he was in April, May and June at Tropicana Field in Game 3. He has thrown 13 shutout innings against the Rays this season.

PRIMARY RELIEVERS
Red Sox: Koji Uehjara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Ryan Dempster.

Rays: Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, James Wright.

Edge: Red Sox by a lot. Joe Maddon doesn't trust his bullpen, he showed that in the tiebreaker game against Texas when he let Price go to the distance. In Uehara and Tazawa, the Red Sox have two pitchers who did some of their best work this season against the Rays. This is a decided edge for the Red Sox based on the closers.

INFIELDERS
Red Sox: Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks

Rays: Jame Loney, Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar, Evan Longoria.

Edge: Red Sox by a little: This is not as much of an edge as you might think. Loney has had a strong season (OPS+ of 118) and Zobrist is one of the game's most underrated players. Drew and Escobar are pretty comparable with Escobar a touch better defensively and Drew with a stronger bat, but Longoria is significantly better than Middlebrooks.

OUTFIELDERS
Red Sox: Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino.

Rays: David DeJesus/Sean Rodriguez Desmond Jennings, Wil Myers.

Edge: Red Sox by a lot. The Red Sox have more power, more speed, more experience and better defense. DeJesus was an upgrade on Kelly Johnson but not enough to offset a decided edge for the Red Sox.

CATCHER
Red Sox: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (with David Ross)

Rays: Jose Molina (with Jose Lobaton).

Edge: Red Sox. Salty has the better bat and has improved defensively. But watch Molina catch. His ability to pull a pitch into the strike zone and fool the umpire is amazing. He can steal outs for his team. Ross will start one of the first two games.

DH
Red Sox: David Ortiz.

Rays: Delmon Young.

Edge: Red Sox, but not by as much as you think. Big Papi is having one of the better seasons of his career and Young was released by the Phillies in August. But Young is hitting .326/.367/.565 in his last 12 postseason games with three homers and nine RBIs. He homered on Wednesday. Ortiz has hit .164/.281/.291 in 14 postseason games since 2008. You have to think the Red Sox scouts have gone to school on Young and can expose him, though.

MANAGER
Red Sox: John Farrell.

Rays: Joe Maddon.

Edge: Rays. Farrell will manage his first playoff game on Monday. Maddon has managed 26 of them and led a team to the World Series. You will see a lot of defensive shifting in this series and probably more small ball than you would expect from two American League teams. The Red Sox occasionally get happy feet in the bases and running into outs could cost them. Farrell has been waiting for this chance. He and Maddon are different personalities but both use data very efficiently.

PREDICTION
Red Sox in four games. The Rays have to be beat up from their schedule and the Red Sox have been able to dial in on Tampa Bay from a scouting standpoint for a few days now. That's an edge. Home field is a big edge, too. It'll be harder for the Rays to play at Fenway Park then for the Red Sox to play at Tropicana Field.

The teams split the first two games, Buchholz throws a gem in Game 3 and Jake Peavy goes a strong seven innings in Game 4. Big series for Mike Napoli.

Red Sox will face Rays in Division Series

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 3, 2013 12:44 AM

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Indians, 4-0, on Wednesday to advance to the American League Division Series against the Red Sox.

Game 1 is Friday at 3:07 p.m. at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox were 12-7 against the Rays this season, so it is tempting to think that the Red Sox have the advantage in the series. Given home field advantage and the fact that the Rays have been playing for their lives the last few weeks, that is probably true.

Tampa Bay played Sunday in Toronto, Monday in Texas and Wednesday in Cleveland. They now play Friday in Boston. They have not played at home since Sept. 23. All that travel has to start catching up to them at some point.

Red Sox pitchers dominated against the Rays, posting a 2.93 ERA. Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uejara combined to allow eight hits and one run over 20 innings. They walked three and struck out 24. Clay Buchholz had 13 shutout innings against Tampa. Jon Lester pitched very well against them in three of his four starts.

But a few things to consider:

• The Rays have won 10 of their last 12 games.

• The Sox, while indeed 12-7 against the Rays, won six of those games in the ninth inning or later. That includes three walk-offs at Fenway Park.

• The run differential between the teams was only 14 runs over 19 games.

• The Rays were 24 of 158 (.152) with runners in scoring position against the Sox. Some of that was skill by Red Sox pitchers. But a decent chunk was bad luck, too.

• The Red Sox hit .209 with a .612 OPS against the Rays and averaged 3.7 runs. Outside of David Ortiz and Mike Carp (in 14 at-bats), none of the Sox hit better than .242 against the Rays. That OPS was their lowest against any opponent this season.

Expect a very competitive series with some close, low-scoring games. It'll be Lester against Matt Moore on Friday.

We'll have plenty on the blog Thursday and a full preview section in the paper on Friday.

Red Sox set rotation for ALDS

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 2, 2013 05:30 PM

The Red Sox announced their rotation for the American League Division Series. There were no surprises.

Game 1 on Friday: LHP Jon Lester
Game 2 on Saturday: RHP John Lackey
Game 3 on Monday: RHP Clay Buchholz
Game 4 on Tuesday (if necessary): RHP Jake Peavy

“We’re deep. We’re talented,” Farrell said. “Guys have been, I think, very consistent for the better part of the entire season. Each guy that takes the mound we’re very confident will put together a solid game.”

Lester (15-8, 3.75 earned run average) earned the Game 1 start by going 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 13 starts following the All-Star break. The lefthander, who will speak to the media on Thursday, is 2-3 with a 2.57 ERA in eight postseason appearances.

“He’s been outstanding in the second half, and the last eight starts that he’s put together for us he’s been very strong, and he’ll lead the way for us from a starting standpoint,” Farrell said.

“When you look at the year overall, there was probably about a six- or seven-start period where he was a little bit less than [his career standard]. Other than that, he had a very strong and productive year for us, and we’re hoping that continues through October.”

Lackey (10-13, 3.52) was selected for Game 2 based on its location. He is 6-3, 2.47 at Fenway Park and 4-10, 4.48 on the road.

“His home-road splits are pretty clear, and he feels comfortable and confident pitching here at Fenway,” said Farrell.

Buchholz (12-1, 1.74) had to earn a spot in the rotation after spending three months on the disabled list recovering from a shoulder injury. He was 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA over four starts (and 24 innings) in September. Farrell said Buchholz would enter Game 3 without any restrictions.

Peavy was 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 starts after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox. He has not appeared in a postseason game since 2006.

Also:

• The team announced that 3,900 fan attended the intersquad game.

• The Sox have until Thursday to submit their roster to MLB. Farrell said the team would carry 11 pitchers, an indication that Felix Doubront or Matt Thornton would make the team at the expense of a backup outfielder, likely Jackie Bradley Jr.

“We’re heavy in outfielders. I will tell you that’s where a lot of the decision-making centered around, that extra player,” Farrell said.

Farrell also likes the idea of an extra lefthander giving him the opportunity to match up against hitters in the sixth or seventh inning instead of waiting until later in the game. An extra pitcher also guards against long extra-inning games or weather delays.

“To me, protecting the downside of something unforeseen happening on the mound, pitching-wise, I wanted to shore up that,” Farrell said.

That Doubront pitched an inning in the intrasquad game could indicate he is the choice over Thornton.

Game over: Blue 1, Red 0

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 2, 2013 02:58 PM

Game over: Blue 1, Red Sox 0: Not much offense in this one. Workman retired the side in order. Interesting that Doubront pitched and Thornton did not. Perhaps Felix will sneak onto the postseason roster after all.

Middle of the 6th: Blue 1, Red 0: Doubront with two strikeouts and a perfect inning. Perhaps he has a chance to make the roster after all.

Workman now in for the final half inning.

Top of the 6th: Blue 1, Red 0: Franklin Morales retired the three batters he faced in order, striking out Lavarnway and Pedroia. Doubront now pitching.

Middle of the 5th: Blue 1, Red 0: Uehara allowed a one-out single by Bradley then got Ellsbury to bounce into a double play smartly turned by Pedroia and Drew,

Top of the 5th: Blue 1, Red 0: Craig Breslow reached his pitch count and the inning ended after two outs and two walks. David Ross, a future manager, came out of the dugout to visit the mound at one point.

Koji Uehara pitching now.

Middle if the 4th: Blue 1, Red 0: 1-2-3 inning for Ryan Dempster, who relieved Peavy.

Top of the 4th: Blue 1, Red 0: Lackey replaced Buchholz and retired the side in order. Berry made a diving catch in right to steal a double from Pedroia.

Peavy's line: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K.

Middle of the 3rd: Blue 1, Red 0: Buchholz went a third inning and allowed a double by Ellsbury before getting Gomes to pop to right and Salty on a grounder to second. His line: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.

Top of the 3rd: Blue 1, Red 0: Peavy allowed one-out singles by Nava and Drew before striking out Middlebrooks and getting Berry to ground to second.

Middle of the 2nd: Blue 1, Red 0: Buchholz retired the side in order. Ross grounded to third, Bogaerts struck out and Snyder grounded to third.

Top of the 2nd: Blue 1, Red 0: Peavy struck out Victorino, Pedroia and Ortiz. They actually shifted on Ortiz.

Middle of the 1st: Blue 1, Red 0: The lineups are a bit jumbled, so bear with us.

Anyway, Bradley singled off Buchholz before Ellsbury bunted him to second. Gomes struck out but Salty ripped a double to right. That Salty, he even doubles in intrasquad games. Carp then lined to left.

Dick Flavin is on the PA at Fenway. There are two umpires, the scoreboard is working and there's music. Fun to be here for something like this. If you're in the Back Bay, walk on over.

intraphoto.jpgPregame: Greetings from Fenway Park and the Red Sox intrasquad game. We'll update you on what's going on throughout the six innings they're playing this afternoon.

It's a beautiful day in Boston and it looks like a few thousand fans are here.

Joe Castiglione finalist for Frick Award

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 2, 2013 02:03 PM

Joe Castiglione, the radio voice of the Red Sox for the last 30 years, is one of 10 finalists for the Hall of Fame's Ford Frick award for broadcasting excellence.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 11 at the Winter Meetings and will be honored in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 26, 2014 as part of Hall of Fame induction weekend. Voting will be conducted by a 20-member electorate, comprised of the 16 living Frick Award recipients and five broadcast historians/columnists.

The other finalists are Jacques Doucet, Ken Harrelson, Bill King, Duane Kuiper, Eric Nadel, Eduardo Ortega, Mike Shannon, Dewayne Staats and Pete van Wieren.

All broadcasters on the ballot, with the exception of King and van Wieren, are active. All the finalists except for King are living.

A little clarity on the Red Sox roster

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 2, 2013 01:36 PM

Red Sox manager John Farrell just met with reporters for about 20 minutes at Fenway Park. He will not name his Game 1 starter (shhh, it's Jon Lester) until later today.

But Farrell did offer up a few hints about the roster. The Red Sox will carry 11 pitchers, he said. He also said the roster was heavy with outfielders and spoke of the versatility of players like Daniel Nava and Mile Carp.

That would indicate that lefty reliever Matt Thornton will make roster at the expense of Jackie Bradley Jr.

Doubront has more upside than Thornton. But his reluctance to pitch in relief and poor performance on Sunday gives Thornton an edge. Thornton also has three games of postseason experience.

Also:

• The Red Sox will play six inning today. David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will only DH to avoid injury. Ryan Lavarnway and bullpen catcher Mani Martinez will catch.

• The Red Sox will send a small group of players to Florida tomorrow to get some work in down there in case they're needed later in the postseason.

Intrasquad game is this afternoon at Fenway

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 2, 2013 10:58 AM

The Red Sox are playing an intrasquad game at Fenway Park this afternoon. Gate D opens at 2 p.m. and the game is expected to start around 3 p.m. Admission is free and no tickets are required.

Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy and plenty of relievers will be pitching. The weather certainly is perfect for watching baseball.

It's not official, but Lester lined up for Game 1

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 1, 2013 08:36 PM

Red Sox manager John Farrell declined to name his rotation for the American League Division Series. But he did reveal that Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy would pitch in the instrasquad game at Fenway Park Wednesday afternoon.

“You can deduct from that what you wish,” he said.

In that case, feel free to assume that Jon Lester will start Game 1 on Friday with John Lackey following in Game 2 on Saturday. Then Buchholz and Peavy will follow.

The Red Sox will not know their opponent until Wednesday night when Cleveland hosts Tampa Bay in the wild-card playoff game. But how their rotation lines up is not contingent on the opposition.

Lester was 15-8 with a 3.75 earned run average. The lefthander earned the Game 1 start by going 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 13 starts after the All-Star break.

Lackey (10-13, 3.53) was 6-3 with 2.47 ERA in 13 starts at home, so starting Game 2 makes sense for him.

“I think the rotation couldn't be any better than what it sets up,” Peavy said. “Jonny Lester's been the horse here all year. He's made every one of his starts. He led his team in innings; he pitched as well as anybody the second half in baseball. He deserves to be the guy going out there,”

Buchholz said he would pitch one or two innings Wednesday as preparation for his start on Monday in Game 3. Peavy could go a little longer given that his last start came on Sept. 25 in Colorado. If Game 4 were necessary, it would be Tuesday.

Also:

• Mike Napoli sat out four games after the Red Sox clinched the AL East, played three games, and now will have four days off before playing again.The first baseman said the troublesome plantar fasciitis in his left foot has largely abated.

“It’s going to help it a lot," he said. "It was kind of bothering me a little bit at the end of the season. Just trying to get to where we clinched so I could get some time off.

“I was able to get back in Baltimore and felt pretty good, felt better. These four days here just taking it easy will help out tremendously.”

• As a former Indians player and executive, Farrell is happy to see Cleveland back in the postseason after a five-year drought. He sent a congratulatory text message to manager Terry Francona.

“I think because you have past experiences with many people, you want the best for them,” Farrell said. “There’d 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 [between the Red Sox and Indians]. 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.”

• The Red Sox arrived Tuesday to find new red sweatshirts with the 2013 postseason logo hanging in their lockers. They also have a new cap with the logo on the side.

• Rookie infielder Xander Bogaerts turned 21 on Wednesday.

A few notes from Fenway Park

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 1, 2013 02:31 PM

workoutday.jpg

Greetings from Fenway Park, where it's a beautiful day and the Red Sox are going through a spring training-type workout in preparation for Game 1 of the Division Series on Friday.

A few notes:

• John Farrell declined to name his rotation but did say that Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy will be pitching in the intrasquad game on Wednesday. So it's pretty obvious that Jon Lester and John Lackey will pitch the first two games.

• No clarity on the roster yet. But INF Brock Holt and RHPs Allen Webster, Brayan Villarreal and Steven Wright were sent home. The other players not on the roster will either hang around the team or head to Fort Myers to stay fresh just in case.

• The intrasquad game will have an umpire and will be played like a regular game, although probably not nine innings.

• Farrell said he texted congratulations to Terry Francona for getting into the playoffs. They have not spoken yet, however.

Red Sox open workout to the public

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 1, 2013 11:52 AM

This from the Red Sox:

The Red Sox will open their scheduled workout tomorrow afternoon, October 2, which starts at 2 p.m. and is expected to run until 5 or 6 p.m. Season ticket holders, children, students, and neighbors are particularly invited to watch from seats between the bases at no charge. Concession stands will be open, and no tickets are required.

Entertainment for children, who are welcome after school, includes face painters (specializing in beards), balloon artists, and popular stilt-walker Big League Brian.

Fans can enter Fenway Park at Gate D starting at 2 p.m.

The Red Sox play Game 1 of the Division Series on Friday at 3:07 p.m. Gates will open two hours before game time for all ALDS games.

For the Red Sox, it's been a long time

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff October 1, 2013 11:50 AM

Most of the key members of the Red Sox have playoff experience, so handling what is to come this month won't be unfamiliar to them.

But the Red Sox franchise has not won a playoff game since Oct. 18, 2008 when they took Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Rays.

In the five years since, almost everything has changed. New general manager, new manager (twice), new coaches and almost an entirely new cast of players.

Only Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are back from the roster that faced the Rays in 2008. Clay Buchholz was not in the postseason that year.

Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, Alex Cora, Kevin Cash, and Mike Timlin are retired.

Guys like Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Delcarmen, and Manny Ramirez might as well be, given the state of their fading careers.

Justin Masterson, Coco Crisp, and Jed Lowrie were traded. Jonathan Papelbon left as a free agent.

After two World Series titles in a span of four years, playoff victories were part of October in Boston. Now the drought is close to five years.

That's not much for some teams. But around here it seems like forever.

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