Red Sox manager John Farrell, in an interview on WEEI’s Road to October show on Monday night, said that the Red Sox currently have John Lackey, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz lined up to pitch against the Orioles in the final weekend of the regular season, with one of those three starters thus positioned to pitch in a potential Game 1 of the American League Division Series on October 4. The fact that there are four off days between the final day of the regular season and the first game of the ALDS represents a dramatic departure in terms of a team’s ability to line up its rotation if it does not participate in one of the wild card play-in games.
“This year is so different,” Farrell said of the prospect of arranging the rotation relative to the task of doing so in past postseason runs. “If there’s not the play-in game, there’s the ability to arrange things. In the past, we didn’t have that option. You went from the end of the season, one day off and your next series started. Your rotation was kind of pared down to maybe one or two options. This time around, we have the possibility of more options. Just looking at the way our rotation plays out the remaining 11 games, it’s going to be Lackey, Lester and Buchholz. That’s the way it’s falling right now. Those are the three guys who are going to start that series. That’s kind of where we are, and I think one of those three will end up pitching Game 1 provided that we get there.”
Farrell also touched on a few additional topics. Among them:
– Jacoby Ellsbury has yet to progress to baseball activities, meaning that he’s neither running nor swinging a bat in his return from a small, non-displaced fracture of the navicular bone in his right foot. While there are just 11 games left in the regular season, the Sox manager suggested that he remains hopeful that the team will see Ellsbury again in a game before October. Still, he suggested that the impact of the downtime at this time of the year might be less extreme than if his absence came before the outfielder had an opportunity to get into the rhythm of a season.
“It’s really time right now that is the main element to heal that slight fracture as best as possible. We know we’re up against the clock here a little bit, but we’re still hopeful that he’s going to return to us in the regular season,” said Farrell. “You get to this point of the year where guys are missing some time late in the season, but they’ve had six full months of regular play. I think it’s easier for both pitchers and position players to get your timing at this point in the year than it is coming out of spring training. They’ve got a lot of base to draw from at this point in time.”
– Farrell said that the Sox would add a couple of call-ups from Pawtucket on Tuesday, and that “it wouldn’t be a shock if it was guys who had already been here.” Four players who concluded Pawtucket’s season spent some time in the big leagues with the Sox this year: pitchers Pedro Beato, Brayan Villarreal and Steven Wright and infielder Brock Holt.
To listen to the complete interview, click here.