Ask Nick: Who makes playoff roster?

It’s about the time of the season to start playing the playoff roster game.

This roster shouldn’t be too hard to figure, but there are a couple of areas where the Red Sox brass will have to do some thinking.

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Obviously, we have the nine starters: 1B Mike Napoli, 2B, Dustin Pedroia, SS Stephen Drew and 3B Will Middlebrooks. The outfield is Jonny Gomes, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino. The DH is David Ortiz.

We can assume John McDonald will be the backup infielder. Mike Carp and Daniel Nava are the backup outfielders/1B and David Ross is the backup catcher.

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Now it gets tricky. In a five-game divisional series with two off-days, all you need is four starting pitchers. I presume they will be Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, and Clay Buchholz. It would also be logical to go with 11 pitchers total, which leaves seven bullpen slots. Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster, who could be the odd men out of the rotation, would assume two bullpen roles. Then you have Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Brandon Workman, and Matt Thornton.

That leaves us one player short of 25. That one player could be an additional positional player like Xander Bogaerts. Or you could add Quintin Berry for his speed. You could also go with a 12th pitcher, which could be Franklin Morales or Drake Britton.

The decisions then are an 11th or 12th pitcher or an extra positional player?

Another potential decision could be do you keep both Doubront and Dempster on the roster? Your thoughts?

Here’s our mailbag:

I am really going to miss watching Jose Iglesias play defense on a daily basis. Have you ever seen anyone faster from the time the ball touches the glove to the time it leaves his hand? It really is amazing.
Mike, Hinesburg, Vt.
Yes, he’s so fun to watch. He’s amazing, really. I’ve had baseball people call him a “once-in-generation” shortstop, or a rarity. He’s helped the Tigers a great deal and the pitchers are very happy. He was their missing piece.

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The Red Sox’ participation in the postseason has me wondering about a playoff rotation. Peavy has performed well enough to earn himself a spot. Lester is getting back in form, although I still see him as inconsistent even given his last four outings. I do not know what Buchholz will bring to the table. Both Lackey and Doubront have been pitching well. So, who will be our starting three?
Evan, Longmeadow
My guess is Lester, Lackey, Peavy, Buchholz unless Buchholz shows he’s lights out, and then he’s probably inserted in the No. 2 spot. Doubront and Dempster are either in the bullpen or one of them doesn’t make the postseason roster.

Why are the Red Sox not playing Daniel Nava?
Linda, Murrells Inlet, SC
He’s getting more playing time lately. Farrell likes Gomes’ energy and ability to produce a big hit at the right time. Gomes is also hitting righthanders better (.256) this season than normal and hits well in late situations.

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Regardless of the level he is playing at, what happened to Ryan Lavarnway’s power?
David, East Bridgewater
The Red Sox ask the same question, with no real answer except that maybe he lost too much weight.
Why are people clamoring for Dempster or Lackey to be traded?
Tim, Westfield, NY
I wouldn’t say they’re clamoring, but I think they have to make room for some of their young starters. Allen Webster is probably ready for the bigs by next season. Henry Owens isn’t far off. Brandon Workman could also be a rotation guy next season. I think one of the vets goes. Not sure which guy, but Doubront, Dempster, Lackey and maybe even Lester (because his contract is up after the Sox pick up the option for 2014) are candidates.
Do you have any idea why baseball players regularly refer to themselves as “you” instead of “I” during interviews? For example, John MacDonald commented on the trade like this: “When you’re out of a race I guess in the back of your mind you hope that you’ll get the opportunity to go somewhere to play in a pennant race, especially as you put more years in the game and you know you don’t have as many years left…”
Mick, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Probably to steer attention off themselves is my guess. He’s also speaking generally about players in the same boat, I think.
I am really curious about the Daniel Bard situation. I still believe he has the talent and could be a valuable member of the bullpen in the future. What is your take on the situation?
Jake, Sheridan, Wyo.
I think we all know by now that the problem is mental. He needs help through a psychologist to help solve this issue of not being able to throw a strike. I think the mechanical stuff has been worked on with him over and over. There’s a mental hurdle he can’t seem to cross and therein lies the problem. There must be some mechanism that triggers a positive response when he throws and I think that’s where we are. He’s a Cub now and we wish him the best.
Why haven’t I heard Greg Colbrunn’s name mentioned at all year? He is still the hitting coach right?
Stephen, Pensacola, Fla.
Very quiet guy. Does a good job. Doesn’t do many interviews. Quietly works behind the scenes.
I am tired of games that run on forever. I recently saw I have some good company in that Cal Ripken commented that he likes to watch condensed games on his iPad. I would like to know if you think there is any feasible way to speed up games?
Michael, Arlington, Va.
I think it’s impossible because a whole new culture has developed of seeing a lot of pitches and “grinding out” at-bats. How often have you heard that phrase? That’s the culture that’s taken over, so you can try some things but it won’t make a difference. This is baseball in 2013.
While reading your story about Stephen Drew this week (“Red Sox just might stick with Stephen Drew“), I was impressed how upbeat and candid Drew was about wanting to stay with the team next year. Which got me wondering: Why isn’t Drew’s teammate and fellow Scott Boras client Jacoby Ellsbury being equally candid about wanting to stay in Boston – that is if he does want to stay?
Tom, Latham, NY
Both of them want to stay in Boston and Boras wants both in Boston. Whether the asking price will be met is another story. I think Boston would go 5/75 on Ellsbury. If that’s not good enough, that’s a good offer and he can make the decision to walk away. Drew would stay, but I don’t see Boston offering more than two years with Deven Marerro not far from the big leagues and the team still uncertain about which position Xander Bogaerts will play.
It seems to me that the Red Sox should not have brought up Bogaerts and should have let him finish at Pawtucket. He has done OK so far in the majors but Farrell continues to sit him too much. I guess there is no easy answer but if he is to be used the way he has so far I think it would be better to play Middlebrooks and Drew until one or both of them sink.
Ron, Cuenca, Ecuador
There wasn’t much left of the minor league season so there are no development issues. He’s gaining valuable major league experience after a full minor league season. Leaving a couple of weeks early isn’t going to kill his development. He’s hitting against major leaguers and that’s significant for a kid that age.

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