Red Sox pregame notes: Jake Peavy still potential Game 7 starter 'as of now'; Jon Lester would be available in Game 7

October 30, 2013 - 1:20 pm
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that, "as of now," Jake Peavy remains the starter to whom he plans to turn should the World Series reach a winner-take-all seventh game. Each time Farrell has made this claim, he's offered some sort of qualifier ("as of now," "right now," etc.). And so, the manager was asked, is there something that might transpire that would result in someone other than Peavy making the start, or is Farrell simply using a default phrase to preface his remarks? "It's probably more the way it's prefaced," said Farrell. Still, the Sox will have the rest of their pitching staff available in a potential Game 7, should the series extend to that point. The available arms, said Farrell, would include left-hander Jon Lester as well as right-hander Clay Buchholz. "They'll be available before this is over," Farrell said of the team's Game 4 and Game 5 starters. Farrell clarified that, while Buchholz wouldn't leapfrog other members of the bullpen in terms of their defined late-innings roles, he could be available to pitch as soon as Game 6 tonight. As for Lester, Farrell said that the lower back discomfort that he was dealing with at the end of Game 5 did not represent a significant concern. "If there is such a thing, it was normal wear and tear," said Farrell. "That's what he's dealing with." Farrell also had more praise for left-hander Felix Doubront, and said that the team would not hesitate to use him out of the bullpen in Game 6. He will not be avoided over concerns about his Game 7 role. "Doubront's available tonight. We wouldn't hold him back for tomorrow," said Farrell. OTHER RED SOX NOTES -- Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, staples of the Red Sox lineup during the regular season, have found themselves relegated to reserve roles as the postseason has evolved, with Jonny Gomes and David Ross taking over primary responsibilities in left field and behind the plate. Farrell acknowledged that a drastic change of responsibilities can be hard for the players to accept, yet he can't be beholden to player preferences in making his lineup decisions at this time of year. "That's the tough thing, where you see what a guy has done through the course of the year and has earned the right to be on the field. And yet for specific reasons, you'll see a matchup, we're better able to attack a matchup in a certain way," said Farrell. "As I mentioned to Salty, we've had a few guys in our lineup that we're trying to get started, get jumpstarted offensively. With Rossy back there, he's given us a spark offensively. [Saltalamacchia] might not like it, which I respect. I wouldn't want him to like it. But it's also a different time of the year. That sense of urgency that we talked about leading into the postseason is here now. "I respect their dislike and disagreement with [the decisions]. I respect that," said Farrell. "And yet we find ourselves in a position to make decisions that sometimes aren't the most popular. But you do what you think is the best and right thing in the moment." -- Given the workload concerns about Koji Uehara entering the season, which included a plan by the Sox to minimize his usage on consecutive days and to avoid multi-inning outings, the fact that he's remained healthy for an entire regular season and postseason run in which he's regularly made appearances on two and even three straight days (as was the case in Games 3-5 in St. Louis) while recording more than three outs represented a season-reshaping development for the Sox. "There was reluctance on back-to-back days, but four days in a row, there was none," Farrell joked, taking stock of the transformation of expectations to usage. "I think the one thing, clearly, the one thing that'€™s evolved over the course of the year is the way he'€™s expressed usage to us and by staying more regularly used, he felt he was in better shape. That'€™s proven to be the case." -- Farrell said that he did not anticipate that the three games during which Mike Napoli was out of the lineup in St. Louis would hinder him in his return. While Farrell had said earlier this postseason that Napoli's swing is one that requires the rhythm and timing of regular play, he suggested for now, "My thought is that rhythm will be overridden by adrenaline." -- Farrell expressed optimism that, whereas there was some concern about the appeal of Boston as a destination for free agents after a rough 2012 season, the opportunity would sell itself to free agents going forward. "I would think that externally, if there are roster needs that emerge ... I think maybe what's gone on around the game or what's happened here probably is taken note [of] around the league," said Farrell. "And I think in the eyes of some Boston might present some specific challenges that might be intimidating for certain players. But I would hope what they're witnessing would certainly become a place of destination for a number of guys that might have a choice." As for the four prominent free agents-to-be on his roster -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew -- Farrell praised the quartet, suggesting that their focus has always been on winning everyday, rather than on any thoughts of what lies beyond this year. "That conversation about what's pending for them this offseason has never come before their work and what our goal is on a given night," said Farrell. "And that's to their credit. They've been great team players. The system will take care of itself, and they're all well aware of that. Some guys for the first time, they're going to approach free agency. But the overriding priority and the ultimate goal is where we stand today. And that's been living here all season." -- As for the future, Farrell noted that homegrown contributors such as Xander Bogaerts and Brandon Workman, who have been key postseason contributors for the Sox, as well as others such as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Drake Britton who made in-season contributions, have given the Sox a promising long-term outlook. "I think we're in a very healthy place when you consider players that you just mentioned there's been a number of guys that have come up, Drake Britton, a left'€‘handed pitcher that came up, we have some power arms that are closing in on their debut, as well. But I think that's where [GM Ben Cherington] has put this organization in such a healthy place. And it was fortified by the trade last year when you acquire [Allen Webster] and [Rubby] De la Rosa, together with other young pitchers that are on their way. We're in a good place."