A few pregame notes from Red Sox manager John Farrell:
– As discussed here , the selection of David Ross over Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate in Game 2 was a fairly straightforward one.
– Farrell and the Sox had an interesting choice in the ninth inning of the 12-2 blowout win over the Rays in Game 1. The team could have used the lopsided score as an opportunity to introduce rookie Brandon Workman to postseason contests. Instead, the Sox elected to have Ryan Dempster continue his reacclimation to relief work. Dempster rewarded the approach with a scoreless ninth that included a pair of punchouts.
Why Dempster over Workman?
“Thinking that today they’re might be more situations looking to bring a guy in for a strikeout … and wanted to get another relief appearance, at least another outing for Dempster as he continues to build in that way,” said Farrell.
The fact that Dempster was the bullpen priority over Workman says a lot about the regard in which the Sox hold the 25-year-old in his first exposure to the big leagues. The Sox are prepared to throw Workman into the deep end and trust his ability to swim in postseason waters.
“I think what he’s shown us is the ability to control his emotions and there’s no hesitancy on my part to bring him in in maybe a less than situation where maybe there might be a little bit of a higher leverage situation,” said Farrell. “I don’t doubt his ability to meet the moment.”
Meanwhile, Farrell noted that Dempster’s stuff appeared to play up out of the bullpen on Friday, the first time that he’d shown more power to his fastball and split as a reliever than had been evident in his season in the rotation.
– After not pitching on Friday and with an off-day on Sunday, Koji Uehara is available for more than three outs. Farrell suggested that the schedule offered “a unique opportunity” to extend Uehara beyond three outs.
– While Farrell acknowledged that the Sox are not averse to wielding a diverse array of offensive weapons, including some that are characteristically associated with “small ball” (hit-and-runs, sacrifice bunts), he suggested the strategic approach had limits.
“The one thing that we won’t look to do – don’t expect David Ortiz to sacrifice,” said Farrell. “So we’ve shown the ability to be a little bit more diverse rather than just one approach, which is by design, whether it’s running the bases as efficiently as we have or in some cases using the sac bunt earlier than we might have otherwise.”