Sunday, December 8, 2013
Some notes before heading back to Fenway ...
The make-up of the Boston Red Sox bullpen remains in flux. After Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves, what do you have?
Based on Matt Albers entering Tuesday with the Sox down 5-2, maybe Dan Wheeler has supplanted him as the go-to guy with a lead in the seventh.
The other right-hander is Michael Bowden, who gets bounced up and down, ala Scott Atchison. Don't know if Terry Francona really trusts either one of them.
The one left-hander, currently, is Franklin Morales. He has a 3.52 ERA and a solid 1.17 WHIP (walks/hits per inning). He faced three batters Tuesday and allowed two singles.
Morales hardly has a spot on the post-season roster nailed down. Two other lefties could be joining the pen.
Andrew Miller is currently the 5th/6th starter (along with Tim Wakefield). Miller has been pitching well lately, has earned another start, and seems a guarantee on the playoff roster.
Felix Doubront is now pitching out of the Pawtucket bullpen. He has had a difficult year because of injuries. The guess here is that he gets an early call-up to Boston, and the Red Sox can see if he has righted (lefted?) himself for a playoff run.
Other right-handed bullpen options from Pawtucket are Kyle Weiland and Junichi Tazawa.
As for Wakefield. See no spot for him on the playoff roster.
SPEAKING of knuckleball pitchers, did you see what Charlie Haeger did for the Sea Dogs Tuesday night? Carried a no-hitter into the fifth, and completed 8 frames: 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 9 K. He will certainly add starting depth in Pawtucket next year.
In that Sea Dogs games, Alex Hassan (.297) hit his 13th home run.
Hassan is one of six Sea Dogs from this season invited to the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League. Hassan and Will Middlebrooks are the big names from the Red Sox, but as Brian McPherson of the Providence journal correctly points out in this blog, don't overlook pitcher Brock Huntzinger.
J.D. DREW went 3-for-3 in his first rehab game with Pawtucket Tuesday. Kevin Youkliis also played, going 1-for-4. Both play for Arnie Beyeler's PawSox again tonight. Drew will be activated Thursday, Youkilis Friday.
All year, Terry Francona has talked about Drew going on a run. Think now would be a good time? And what will Youkilis' right-handed bat mean to the lineup (One clutch hit from him Tuesday might have made the difference ... of course, the Yankees did not have their regular third baseman, either).
WHEN JOHN LACKEY hit Francisco Cervelli with a pitch Tuesday night, it came after Cervelli hit a home run in his previous at-bat and, maybe, celebrated too much as he crossed home plate.
When Lackey said he did not mean to hit him, eyes rolled. But, in this case, Lackey has a point. With his pitch count climbing, in a two-run ballgame in the seventh inning, why would be put the lead-off batter on?
Now for the standings and magic numbers. I goofed in Monday's blog about Boston's magic number for a divisional title because I forgot to factor in that Boston already has the tiebreaker in hand because it won the season series against the Yankees.
New York 81-52 (0.5 back)
Tampa Bay 73-61 (9)
New York 81-52
Tampa Bay 73-61 (8.5 back)
LA Angels 73-62 (9)
Magic number to win the Division: 28 (combination of Boston wins and Yankees losses).
Magic number to win the Wild Card berth: 20 (combination of Boston wins and Tampa Bay losses)
I'll check in later from Fenway.Tweet
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
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