Matt Clement’s status for the bullpen tomorrow night is still up in the air, as the Red Sox pitcher’s side session yesterday in Chicago was not without discomfort. Clement suffered a bruised leg, the result of a Carl Everett line drive in Game 1 of their division series against the White Sox.
“Right now, I wouldn’t say it’s perfect,” manager Terry Francona said today at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox held an informal workout. “He threw, I don’t want to say extensively, but harder than he normally would. That leg doesn’t feel real good, and you know he’s pitched a lot.”
Francona declined to say in what situation Clement might be used out of the bullpen.
Clement was torched for eight runs in Boston’s 14-2 loss against the White Sox Tuesday. The banged up pitcher, who also suffered a contusion on his wrist, not only opens a question mark for tomorrow night, but for a possible Game 5. If Clement comes out of the bullpen tomorrow, Francona has not yet announced a starter for Sunday.
“We’ll see. We’ll try to keep every option we have available open to us, but we’ll never be unfair to a player. We’ll just see how he does,” Francona said.
— Despite today’s workout being optional for the players, a majority were on the Fenway field taking batting practice and fielding drills, with the Fenway sound system blaring the normal Boston clubhouse mix CD. Among those taking hacks in the cage were Manny Ramirez, Tony Graffanino, Kevin Millar and John Olerud.
— Saturday’s game (if necessary) has been announced as a 1 p.m. start time (ESPN). Game 5 is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. for the time being, unless the Yankees-Angels series is over. In that instance, the Red Sox and White Sox will then move to the 7:30 p.m. slot. ESPN will carry Sunday’s game if it is a 4 p.m. start, Fox if it shifts to 7:30.
If you’re looking for hope that there will be a Game 4 Saturday, keep in mind that the Red Sox have not dropped three games in a row since July 16-18.
— Coming off a dreadful start against the Yankees last weekend, the Red Sox pin their hopes on Tim Wakefield to help stave off elimination. It is the second straight start in which Wakefield will play a role in a possible clinching game. The White Sox can advance to the ALCS with a win tomorrow. Last week, with Wakefield working on short rest, the Yankees were awarded the American League East.
“It didn’t work out real well. We expect that to change,” Francona said. “Even though he doesn’t throw the ball 90 miles per hour, I still think he’s been dominant.”
Wakefield faces the burden of avoiding the team’s first 0-3 loss in the ALDS since 1995.
“This team’s been in this situation before, not only last year but 2003 against Oakland,” Wakefield said. “We still have a majority of those guys still left in the clubhouse from 2003. We’re playing at home where we’ve played the best all year. I think everybody’s rearing to go for tomorrow.”
— With Boston’s history this season of having fits against pitchers they haven’t faced before, one reporter asked if not facing tomorrow’s Chicago starter, Freddy Garcia, this season will be a burden. Boston has, of course, faced Garcia a number of times over the years during his time with the Mariners.
“I hope it helps, I don‘t think it matters. There’s a lot of history there. We’ll be prepared,” he said. “Again, it comes down to we need to win the game, regardless if we faced him or not.”